When one becomes chronically ill there are many emotional and behavioral changes that have to be made in order to properly cope with dealing with the symptoms, limitations, and loss associated with becoming ill. Today we are going to talk about the loss of the former self and how to continue to live life fully despite your numerous daily challenges when chronically ill.
Did you know that you can get to the point in your chronic illness journey that you are grateful for your chronic illness? Yes! I know it sounds ridiculous but once we let go of the anger and resentment of being struck down with the madness of being chronically ill there are many life lessons that can be taught through the diagnoses and challenges of chronic illness. We can have a grateful heart for these lessons! This does not mean that you like your chronic illness or that you do not have moments of frustration and sadness from the loss of your former self.
It is more of a acceptance and renewal process and it takes time. Everyone deals with loss differently and it is a very personal journey so it is important not to judge others mourning and acceptance process. Some people mourn and are angry for YEARS after becoming chronically ill and others let go of the anger and loss in months. I want to stress it is a very unique journey for each person and to tell someone “Just get over it, Jane has _____________ and she works, exercises, etc etc is not helpful at all and can cause someone to shut down even further and resent you even if your intentions are good. It is important that we choose compassion and understand for all of our chronic illness brothers and sisters as this will be WAY more powerful than your own personal need to be right. Their journey is theirs and theirs alone and you can not change their path by pointing out what they are doing wrong but you can by being a good example to them and laying a path if they choose to take it.
Mourning the loss of your old former self before becoming ill is a very natural part of the acceptance processes. Everyone goes through it and it is a very important part of your journey. When you do come out of the other side of this sadness and loss you will feel a new sense of self empowerment and can go out into the world and create a new modified version of you! Some even become more themselves than they have ever been because chronic illness slows you down and lets you develop some of your natural gifts and talents. Many people that become chronically ill become more artistic, compassionate, spiritual, develop healing gifts, and find their passions!
We live in a very fast pace world that keeps us so busy we often let our talents, passions, and divine gifts slip through the cracks. We have been programed to believe if we get an education, buy a house, acquire processions, get married and have kids we will be happy! While this is true for some people we are not all the same and the templet that has been set before us and sold to us as happiness is very superficial and we crave a deeper connection. The proof societies idea of happiness is not true for everyone is evident in the mass amounts of unhappiness, illness, and divorce in this world. So, I have great news for you! You can release that old way of thinking! It no longer serves your highest good and purpose in this world with your new challenges!
When chronic illness slows us down we begin to remember the passions and natural gifts that can bring us true and authentic happiness. These gifts are what can bring you inner peace, acceptance, and empowerment. Stepping into who you were meant to be before society told you that the material world was your ticket to happiness can be life changing and a reason to be grateful for chronic illness slowing you down. When Societies idea of happiness is ripped from under you because of becoming ill you must find true happiness which comes from within and this gives you the opportunity to use your chronic illness as a catalyst to find your life purpose and true authentic happiness!
Although everyones grieving, mourning, and acceptance process is going to be unique it is important not to get stuck in this part of your journey for too long. This will throw you into victim mode and once you get in victim mode you give up any power to make positive changes in your life. To some degree, every one of us has been a victim.We were either neglected by our parents, picked on at school or ripped off in a business deal later in life. When we are healthy, we can learn from those experiences, forgive and move on. But when we’re not, we tend to re-victimize ourselves over and over.
What I mean when I say re-victimize ourselves is we play the “recording” of the event again and again in our minds because it actually gives us some unhealthy form of comfort during our struggles.
You might think that it is okay to play the role of the victim as long as you are not hurting yourself or others but the truth is it is one of the most damaging things you can do to yourself and all those you love around you. When you give in and give up your power to adapt/change to your new circumstances you begin to exist and stop living. Humans have an amazing ability to adapt to uncontrollable and unpleasant circumstances once they give up the need to control every aspect of their life. Chronic illness will force you to give up some control and this can actually be a life lesson that can catapult you and your purpose to a level you might have never experienced without the challenges of chronic illness.