I blog regularly about my struggles but feel like I very rarely mention the positives that arise from my difficult situation. I get so caught up in hospital admissions, surgeries, constantly taking medications and not being able to do things that would usually be taken for granted that I don’t often get the chance to appreciate the silver linings to my very medicalised life. It’s all so easy to think about the university life I’m missing out on and the fact I should be graduating this month, the fact that I spend extended periods of time in hospital so miss out on ‘normal life’ and the fact I have to use a wheelchair, but the truth is my illness has brought some positives into my life which I wouldn’t otherwise have which I really should focus on, but it can be difficult to do that.
Without suffering with my ill-health, there are many friendships that I wouldn’t otherwise have. I met my best friend through us both having the same condition, and whilst I wish I could take Thea’s suffering away from her, us both being in similar situations mean we understand each other like no one else and have such an amazing bond because of that.
Thea’s strength truly is admirable, and if I could be half as strong as her I would be happy. Despite what Thea goes through, she is always there for me and I wouldn’t cope without her, particularly throughout my most recent hospital admission.
I’ve also met some other amazing people due to hospital admissions etc because of being unwell. One such friend is Doris whom I recently blogged about, as well as my friend Emma from a POTS support group, and meeting people such as them in similar situations to myself gives me strength seeing how they cope with all life has thrown at them.
Whilst I wish I could be stronger than I am, particularly when I compare myself to other people, my illnesses have meant I’ve found greater strength than I would otherwise have. Unfortunately, being poorly means that a lot of things end up being out of my control; periods of time spent in hospital, side effects of medications, having to use a wheelchair etc, but there is no choice but to cope with these difficult times and I have come out the other side stronger for it.
Having my independence taken away from me and my health problems dictating what I can and can’t do makes me appreciate everything so much more. Just recently I spent eight weeks in hospital, most of which I was bed-bound for, and so since I was discharged I have an increased appreciation for things that I otherwise may have not even thought about. Fresh air, getting to the woods with Jeffrey and having a bath are just a few of the things that, since my discharge, I have been so very grateful for whereas, for healthy people, they are just things experienced in every day life without a second thought.
I also have a greater appreciation for the people around me. I’ve always been extremely grateful for my family, but since I’ve been poorly they’ve gone above and beyond their roles to support me and make me feel like I’m not facing my health issues alone. I’m also appreciative for my friends who keep me going, and for the NHS staff who constantly support me, and who’s treatment and efforts mean I can live the best life possible given the circumstances.
It’s very true that being constantly positive whilst living with chronic illness is so unrealistic, but keeping a positive outlook wherever possible is vital to being able to cope long term. Chronic illness truly has opened my eyes to the blessings in my life which, in itself, I am so very appreciative for.