Things to avoid when you have Chronic Illness
Things you should try and avoid when coming to terms and living with Chronic Illness:
Feeling guilty. So what if you’ve been in your PJs for two days straight. So what if your child is watching Netflix or the iPad all day. So what if no one’s eaten anything more nutritious than a handful of grapes. There are some days (or weeks) when it is all about SURVIVAL. Your survival. You do whatever you need to do to get through the day. Because when you have chronic disease, sometimes just getting through the day is enough.
Attempting to function 100%. You do not need to be firing on all cylinders. You have nothing to prove. To yourself or the outside world. Your bed can be your best friend for the moment.
Organise stuff. A chronically ill friend of mine who has terrible fatigue, can’t sleep at night from pain and has 2 small children told me how she needs to sort through all her clothing and her kids toys to give to charity. I can see when you’re sitting around the house all day, this stuff preoccupies you. It happens to me too. Noticing the mess everywhere, toys lying around the house, dirty laundry piling up, piles of crap I never have the energy to sort out. But now is NOT the time. Wait until you are a little better or hire someone to come and sort the lot out for you!
Complete Chores. This goes with number two. No one cares how messy your house is. If you haven’t cleaned the bathroom for a week. If the washing up is still sitting on the side. You have a chronic illness! The rest of the world can see this but when you’re in a sleep-deprived fog, it’s hard for you to see it yourself. You feel it’s a sign you’re not coping. That you’re not capable. It’s not important, trust me. Get someone to help you with the chores. Hire a cleaner for the next couple of months if you’re really that bothered. But let it go. Concentrate on feeling well yourself.
Justifying yourself. You are the most important person in the world right now. And anyone who doesn’t get that by putting unfair expectations on you or pushing their own agendas can do one. You do what works for you and your family and you don’t justify yourself to anyone.
Questioning yourself. We have all been there, different doctors telling us different things, friends that mean well by telling us about how their sister, aunt, best friends dog that had the same thing and they stopped eating gluten, sugar, or dairy food and now they are ‘cured’. Articles about someone who has overcome chronic disease and is out there living a full and exciting life (well done to them) but remember everyone is different, and the way illness affects them is different. Do what you think is right and don’t question yourself because someone else does. You are the best person to know what’s wrong and what you need.
I really hope this one is obvious but in case you’re thinking about losing weight, don’t. When you’ve had no sleep, chronic pain and feel helpless, cake is all you’ve got. Eat healthy and only eat cake occasionally but still eat it! If inactivity is responsible for your weight gain then ease yourself back into exercise, see a sports physiologist, do small walks or tiny swimming sessions, but don’t push yourself. The weight will come off gradually. Don’t make yourself miserable going without the things you like.
Going it alone. Don’t try to be a hero, and don’t hide away. When people offer you help, grab it with both arms, not up to partying all night? Catch up with friends/family for a tea/coffee instead. Invite your friends around, keep in contact, even if it’s through text messages or Facebook – but keep those connections going.
Capri Clark is the founder of Bayside Remedial Massage and Healing in Brisbane. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Nursing and a Diploma in Remedial Massage. Capri's gentle techniques bring a huge amount of care and skill to her treatments. If you would like to book in for a session with Capri, you can click here.
Now I just need to read this daily to remind myself of my own advice and practice what I preach!