Accepting your Chronic Illness
“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.”—Michael J. Fox
When I read about my illness the majority of things I get shown are ways to cure my diseases.
Follow this diet. Do this exercise. Take these supplements.
But very little is about the work we have to do with the mind.
Especially learning acceptance, a huge part of being diagnosed with a disease.
Acceptance doesn’t happen overnight
It’s taken me years to accept. To just accept and stop chasing to be perfect. To stop chasing the cure.
I’m not saying you’ll never feel better. I’ll rephrase that, I’m not saying you’ll never experience relief from your symptoms. Yes, you will have periods of relief, but acceptance will help those times when relapse strikes.
There have been many times over my illness journey when I’ve had periods of wellness. And as I write I feel blessed that although I still experience discomfort from my illnesses my discomfort isn’t debilitating as it once was. This is a blessing. This is not a cure, just a period of wellness. And I accept that!!
There have been many times when I viewed comfort as being a cure. I’d bounce around gleaming that I’m cured, and then months or a few years later I’d be knocked back down to earth with a relapse punch. Then the depression would kick in as I felt I’d never be normal, I’d never find the cure. I’ve failed.
Acceptance, not perfection
I’d question every which reason for my failure. I’ve followed the diet. Exercised daily. Taken the gazillion recommended supplements.
So why the hell has these happened. Why meeeeeee. A little melodramatic!! But you get my point.
What has helped, is ‘acceptance’. Accepting my PCOS physique, possibly not the physique deemed as beautiful by society but good enough for me, society. I’ve accepted the remnants of Graves Disease, my big eyes and the blotches of white patches on my skin.
I’ve come to terms that these diseases have and will continue to compromise the way I enjoy life. There are days when I’m totally wiped out. But there are many days where I enjoy life. I enjoy what life has given me so far I’m not letting these diseases rule my life.
I’ve accepted the pain that comes along with my diseases. The joint pain that stops me from sleeping at night. Bulging eyes and eye pain around my menstrual cycle. And the stomach issues I have due to my highly sensitive immune system.
The thought of new diseases rearing up was difficult to come to terms with when first diagnosed with PCOS. The thought that I may develop diabetes, heart disease, a thyroid condition or arthritis scared the life out of me when diagnosed, aged 21. At 42, these diseases no longer scare me, I have two of them. And that’s ok, I’ve accepted them.
Seek acceptance and not cure
So my message, seek acceptance and not a cure. As trying to find all the exercises and pills to cure your diseases may set you up for disappointment.
Instead, use these means as a way to manage your disease. I exercise daily, I do my breathing practices daily. And I take nutritional supplements daily. I’m a huge fan of these things. I wouldn’t have trained as a nutritional therapist and a yoga teacher if I wasn’t.
But I don’t believe you should rely on these methods only. Mindset is a healer. It won’t heal or cure your disease. But it will heal how you view your disease and that will help deal with the emotional mind crap that accompanies disease. Acceptance helps the mind crap which helps the symptoms crap.
Do you see what I’m saying?
So by all means, work on things to manage the physical. But don’t forget to work on you, what’s inside. Accept that we have these illnesses for the rest of our lives. We have no control over this.
But we can control the way we manage our disease. Keep learning about your disease and ways to manage it, maybe that’s exercise, diet, mindfulness. Whatever!
Learn to accept your disease. Learn ways of managing your disease. And stop seeking cures.
Related Website. Check out this blog post.
I’m Cheryl. I’m on a quest to help and share what I’ve learnt about nutrition, yoga, autoimmune disease, hormones and joint disease.
I’m a sufferer of the above diseases and have used yoga and nutrition to manage my illnesses. Success with my health led me to become a qualified Nutritional Therapist and Yoga Teacher.