My Dad once gave me relationship advice. He said that in a relationship it cannot always be fun, light, sunshine and rainbows. There are periods of time that are tough, sad or angry to name a few. He emphasised that we need to hold onto the positives on the days where it is perhaps more negative. My Dad’s advice is a lot like this quote and how should focus on perceiving our chronic illness.
Our relationship with our chronic illness cannot and will not always be positive. There will be times you are
- scared – Perhaps when a new flare is starting up. You might begin to to wonder how or if you will cope.
- nervous – Chronic illness warriors often have to cope with medicine changes and this can be daunting. There are the side effects of each medicine to consider vs. how much help if could potentially offer. It may be that you are new on your journey and are struggling to take lots of pills.
- feel challenged – Perhaps this resonates with you when you are explaining you condition to family members, colleagues or interreacting with the wider community. It’s well known in the online community that the Christmas and New Year season can prove difficult with many event expectations vs how you are coping with your chronic illness.
These are just some of the negative emotions you can deal with on your journey. But I want to remind you today, just like my Dad’s advice, that we must focus on the positives of our illness. I often like to think of my rheumatoid arthritis as a friend, we could probably call him Arthur. He is a friend that we should embrace (whilst not really liking him much) but do everything in our power to bat him away. We should be optimistic of our treatment options and the advances that pharma are making in the area of autoimmune disease. There is hope of faster diagnosis, more targeted medications instead of the long process of trial and error, and ultimately a cure. It is also incredibly important to surround ourselves with people who love and support us. I think it is even more critical that these individuals understand our disease and are keen to support us through out journey.
So today, I leave you with the above quote and challenge you to “live life on the sunny side”.