So, in this blog series, I am talking about how you can learn to live your best life even after you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness. I am going to talk to you about how showing up every day with curiosity to learn is hugely important. I will speak about your beliefs and fears and how mastering the art of unlearning is just as important as any learning you will do. And finally, I want to talk about patience and allowing yourself to achieve a sense of calm.
You can watch the video here or read on below:
Being diagnosed with a chronic illness
Chronic Illness comes in many forms, but one thing they all bring on is that feeling of fear and confusion. It’s that feeling that you get the day you’re told you’ve got IBS, you’ve got a form of psoriasis, you’ve got a long-term health condition that may never go away. You’re just going to have to learn to live with it.
And then you’re just given a list of things, as if to say “here, have a go at these”. Go and mind your mind, go and sleep more. And when you leave that room, after being told maybe you need to lose weight because if you don’t these are all the repercussions that you’re going to see. When you leave that room, it’s quite a daunting place to be.
When you’re afraid you can’t see. We all know this. We’ve all seen this in other people. When we’re afraid we can’t see. So, when you’ve been diagnosed with the chronic illness and you read the symptoms and how your life might play out. You’re afraid, and you can’t see.
How can you learn to live with a chronic illness?
So, what do I want to tell you about that? The first thing I want to say from my whole experience of these multiple chronic illnesses that I have which are IBS, hypothyroidism and then a form of psoriasis known as guttate psoriasis. The first thing I have learned is to show up every day with curiosity to learn. And in that I mean, don’t show up with the expectation that everything you try is going to work for you. Because it’s not that easy.
If you could imagine, instead, that you already have what you want and then just try on things to add to it. Ok, let’s explore this a bit more.
So, it is absolutely okay when you have a chronic illness to not want to be in the body that you have. And to not want to have the limitations that this body gives you. It’s okay to not want that. I suppose the part for me was that I denied myself that very sentence. The “it’s okay” sentence. So, it’s okay if you want to change your world but how we go about it and why we go about it is really important.
You know I have to say when I saw people looking at the blotchy patches on my skin, it made me not like my body. It made me feel like I wanted to change it because I wanted to fit in. I didn’t want to be different. Now I look at it as my reminder that I am very grateful for the body that I have. I’m very grateful for all that it can do.
I’m not denying that I have done a heap of work in the middle. This didn’t just dawn on me one day. I have had to work on those pillars of investigating myself and who I am. I have continually been working on my confidence, working on my diet, working on an exercise regime, working on my sleep routine and my boundaries. All of that stuff doesn’t just happen overnight. But, what I want to share with you, is that the day I stopped expecting that everything would work and that suddenly I’d be the person I was before, was the day everything changed.
It was that day that I started showing up with curiosity not expectation. By taking pieces of information and just trying them out and learning if they work for you and if they fit into your world, not by forcing yourself to do things that make you miserable and disappointed when you don’t see massive change. That is what can make a world of difference.
What if you already have what you are looking for?
I know, if you’ve got a diagnosis, you are most likely doctor Googling and you see things like drink lemon water tea in the morning and go off gluten and get outside every day and all the things you “should” do. Even that in itself can evoke more pressure because chances are you’re doing them you’re not noticing any change. How would it feel if you instead imagined that you already have what you’re looking for?
Let’s try that on for size for a minute. So for me, I think well, I have a body that works, I have a body that can get up and do a day’s work. I have a body that I’m grateful for. I already have all the things I thought I was yearning for down the line. How would it be if we could keep this in our hearts instead and then slowly, just try things out to see what makes those feelings greater? At the end of the day, what you are really looking for in six month’s time or six week’s time when you do anything, is that you are really looking for a feeling. You’re not really looking for what happens on the exterior. We think that the exterior will change how we feel about ourselves but it’s like everything, it comes from the inside out.
So, if you already believe that you have it, then you start living in the way that you believe you have it. And then you become so much more open to so many opportunities that you will see would be right for you, for your life for where you’re at. And the best thing is that you can start to feel this today. You don’t have to wait until it’s all “fixed”.
Take back control
Usually, when I work with people and they hear this message, they really find, that there’s immediate relief. You don’t have to wait six months to feel happy about yourself. You don’t have to wait six months to feel calm. You can feel calm today. Even though you know there’s a lot out of your control. And, even though you know there’s a lot you might want to change, you don’t have to wait that long. You can have it today if you want it.
If you would like support on your journey, feel free to message me or join my free Facebook group here.