celebrating small victories when you have a chronic illness

Celebrating the small victories with chronic illness

The past few months have been physically miserable for me. A bout with bronchitis, turned into another one, and another one, and another one, and then strep throat, and then a sinus infection which has so far lasted 3 months (no end in sight, I’m once again a medical marvel). So I’m seriously understating things when I say that life has been difficult.

Through all this I’ve been watching friends and family achieving different milestones. A new baby, a new job, a promotion, an award, it just seems like everything is happening to everyone else while I watch from the sidelines. While there a certain things I don’t necessarily want anymore because of my health, it’s hard to see other people living the life that I always assumed I’d have. I feel like like I’m standing outside in the rain peering through the window watching the world go by and everyone is totally oblivious to me. It makes me feel like I’m completely isolated and on my own.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself all the time (because that get’s old very quickly), I’ve been working on learning to celebrate the small victories. Because I have achievements even though they aren’t exciting and most people don’t notice them.  For example:

– At the moment all the surfaces in my house are clean all at the same time. This is a rare achievement as it’s hard for me to physically keep up with the mess makers I live with.

– I’ve been exercising more than I have in years. It’s not unusual for me to walk a couple miles, even after I’ve spent my day hustling kids and cleaning floors.

– I’ve made it to almost all of my kids’ end of school year events. I even volunteered at the book fair!

– I’ve been doing a better job of maintaining boundaries and saying no when I can’t do something.

– I’ve been camping twice in the last month and neither time killed me.

– I’ve mostly maintained a good attitude of late despite everything that has come my way.
when you have a chronic illness it takes courage and strength just to get out of bed every day

 

 After taking stock of my small victories I noticed that there were a few things to remember for next time:

 

  1. Remember that it takes tremendous courage to get out of bed every day. No one applauds you for doing it, but by fighting back the pain and getting up to face the day, you are a warrior.

 

  1. No one else may recognize your victories, but you deserve to reward yourself. Take a moment to remind yourself how awesome you are. Enjoy your happiness, you deserve it.

 

  1. Remember that even a small win can show you the progress you have made and will provide you with encouragement to keep fighting.

 

  1. If you are feeling discouraged make a list of all the things you did that day that were hard for you to accomplish. You will notice that you are accomplishing more than you think.

 

  1. Focus on what you have done right, not what you have done wrong. Every day is a new battle when you have a chronic illness, so don’t get down on yourself if things don’t go the way you planned.

 

I still have plenty of days where I’m discouraged, jealous, angry, and lonely. That’s okay though because I’m only human and I don’t have to positive all the time. I just need to remember who I am and what I am worth.


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