Chronic Illness by Brittani O.

Chronic illness is hard to accept. There is a pride inherent (in me, anyway – must be the Leo thing) that makes me reject the thought I’ll be “sick” forever. I don’t know if everyone struggles with that aspect, but I sure do.

I’ve always been a believer in “mind over matter”. I’m not saying I thought you could “will away” illness – I never really took it that far in my head. I just knew that I could change my attitude about anything, and that things always look better with a positive attitude. I knew that I had a choice about my feelings, and how much energy I gave to any certain feeling or emotion.

I still believe all those things. I am also beginning to understand the very real struggle of feeling that your body is attacking your soul. That depression is being forced on you and there’s no amount of willing that will fix it. That sometimes, things look shitty and there’s no way around that and no alternate way to look at it. That even if you take really good care of yourself (I do), your body can still get sick.

Sounds pretty hopeless, huh?

I agree. I’ve had some moments where I’m really at a loss for how to find any kind of positive lining in this. I wake up a lot of days in pain. Tired. Hopeless. Depressed. But I wake up. I get up. I go to work. I love my kids and my husband (love as a verb here). I engage in my morning routine to connect spiritually and physically with this body I’m in, even (and especially) if it’s hurting.

I try damn hard.

It’s working.

Life is tough right now. There are a lot of autoimmune issues cropping up for me and I’m learning how to navigate them. I’m not always swimming – sometimes I’m drowning. But I’ve got an online support network. It’s giving me a new mission – I want to facilitate in-person support groups and private counseling sessions, so I’m going to go back to school and get my bachelor’s in psychology so I can go for my master’s so I can help people navigate this incredibly tough area of life.

I’m learning that with the stress my body is going through, I can’t do as much. I have to say “no” more. I have to simplify – my calendar, my home, my life. I have to be able to rest. I have to be able to laugh – that means not too much stress. I have to be able to connect with those I love and in order to do that, I have to feel well. To feel well, I have to eat well, rest well, love well, and slow waaaaaaaaaay down.

There are days I have to call into work. I hate that. I hate being unreliable. I’m keeping those days to a minimum because I made a commitment to being there. But there are, unavoidably, days I cannot work. I have to rest. This is giving me a gift – I have to place myself as a priority. Truly, my body will not let me overextend anymore. This is something I am learning to view as a gift, rather than a punishment. It is, however, a learning – I’m not there yet. I still get frustrated, I still get angry and mad, and most definitely scared.

This is a test of my convictions. I have to go along with western medicinal practices on some things, which means I’m constantly researching and deciding if I’m really okay with what they want to do. These diseases are not all benign – some of them are fatal, and until we know what I actually have, I don’t really know what all my options are. The unknown is incredibly scary.

If you’re going through something like this, I encourage you to reach out. To me, to a therapist, to your doctor, to an online support group – reach out. I’m not a doctor, I can’t offer you medical advice, but I can offer you an ear to listen, a heart to love you with, and a shoulder to cry on. You can find me here, just about any time.

Much, much love

Brittani

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A Reiki Master, Theta Healer, psychic intuitive, oracle card reader, crystal-lover, medium, life coach, empath, and loving co-hort in this physical world.