Understanding Chronic Illness

Being diagnosed with Chronic diseases is a truly challenging journey and one that has a number of elements that make it a real balance both mentally and physically. For me the hardest thing about coming to terms with the physical side of these diseases is coming to terms with the mental state of mind that comes with them.

Chronic pain is a thing that is truly difficult to explain to people who do not live with it and it is not something that anyone can understand until they live with it. The most challenging part of the process is people’s perceptions and often ignorance of what these diseases are and what it means to be in pain ALL the time.

As some of you know I was diagnosed 9 years ago with a combination of auto immune diseases. I am committed to being the best version of myself and work daily on doing what will best serve my body and soul at that time. I sometimes get it right an sometimes I just don’t. And that is what being human is about. It’s about acceptance that on some days you will be able to cope and can look at the bright side and some days you are going to be frustrated and pissed off.

I work hard at not allowing the pain and challenges to consume me. The most difficult thing for me often is that on the outside I look absolutely fine. A lot of the times these diseases are referred to as invisible illnesses as on the outside you look great but inside its a whole different thing. It’s a bit like the swan gliding gently on top of the water but under the surface it’s legs are moving at a rapid rate.

There are currently between 80 and 100 identified Auto Immune diseases in the world and 293 Million people have been diagnosed with these diseases. And these are just the stats on the people who have been diagnosed. It’s a very real crisis in our world at the moment.

Most if not all these diseases are genetically based diseases that require a trigger to switch them on in the body. These triggers normally incorporate trauma or stress in the body to switch them on. Once they are switched on in the body they can create absolute havoc as you can’t mentally figure out why you feel so shit all the time. Logically illnesses normally have a timeline to them and a simple pill or rest or combination of things can “heal” the disease and life goes on as normal.

Chronic illness don’t generally work like that. Chronic illnesses are a complex thing as everyone’s DNA is different and therefore some treatments that work for some folk don’t work for other folk. A lot of what impacts on theses diseases is based on nutrition, stress environment and mental attitude. However while eating clean and reducing stress and getting rest helps it doesn’t always fix or cure the disease. In some cases it has shown amazing results and other cases people have seen little or no change.

Most people who live with chronic pain will agree that you just don’t even bother telling people you are in pain anymore as they just don’t understand it or get irritated with the fact that you are “sick again”.

I must say that for me personally that is my greatest frustration. If someone calls me and they hear that I have a chest infection or I am not upbeat and they ask me “Are you sick again” I literally want to slap them in the face. It is probably the WORST most annoying thing you can say to someone with chronic diseases. They are not sick again they have an auto immune disease which mean they often have some form of infection or pain as a result of the disease they have.

I know that there is NOTHING I want more than to be well and back to my old self. I have tried every “special” supplement, diet and even mentally have done and continue to do a lot of work to get my body to respond. The reality is that it is just what it is and surrendering to the process and resting when I need to and doing my best to just show up every day is all I can do. I eat clean, I exercise as much as I can and I do the work needed to stay on track.

Since the 17th of December last year I have been in a complete nightmare of infections, pneumonia and have had a few surgeries and a whole bunch of body trauma. It’s been the most challenging experience I have had since living with these diseases and believe me I have survived some crazy shit over the last 9 years.

The greatest challenge this time round is that I feel like my body is on load shedding. I have a few hours a day where I can function and focus and concentrate and then out of nowhere it literally feels like someone switched the power off and I want to collapse onto my bed and sleep for hours. When this happens I feel like I have done the iron man or something and that pisses me off to no end.

This time round my body has suffered such intense trauma that I have full blown PTSD which has been a complete mind fuck. I am annoyed, impatient and OVER being tired and feeling like hell. Being a type A personality I don’t have a lot of patience as I just want to get up and go 300kms an hour.

The greatest blessing however, and there are ALWAYS blessings and teachings in every situation, is that this time round I have finally learnt my boundaries and limitations and am working with them instead of fighting them. I am choosing who and what I give my valuable energy to and am putting my needs first. We all tend to think that if we put our needs first we are being selfish. When actually that’s a load of rubbish and simply a belief system that has been programmed into our minds by society.

Self love and healing begins with putting yourself first. Listening to what your bodies messages are and loving yourself enough to do what it is asking. The stress levels in the world at the moment are off the charts and people are mentally and physically in crisis. To bring about healing and change the first thing we need to do is start from within. Start with ourselves and then we can help others.

So as you start your day today I ask that you do something for you first and foremost. If you feel you need to have a lie in and just take the day off, then do that. Do what makes your soul smile and what feeds your body and soul the most. Stop doing things in life because you feel you don’t have a choice. We always have a choice, we have just been programmed to believe that putting ourself first is selfish when in fact it’s the most selfless thing you can do.

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