How do you survive being sick?

I often get asked, how do you survive?

I survive by forcing myself to stay strong at all times. By not letting my strength ever crumble into weakness. By not allowing my pain to break me. By building up walls and making sure they stay there. If I allow pain to break me, I will never be able to put myself back together again. Last night I felt myself breaking. Yet another kidney stone just became too much. I’m only one person. I’m always in pain, but to add another layer of pain was overwhelming. I felt myself falling apart. My kids were asleep so I went into their room and sat on their bed. I watched them sleep and watched how peaceful they were. I was reminded how much I love them. Their peace brought me peace. It helped me to stop breaking, to keep myself together and to not give in.

I survive by channeling my pain. I channel my pain into my compassion for others and writing on my blog. I take all my physical pain and release it through my fingers as I write my frustrations, fears, and anxieties. While the physical pain continues to linger on, channeling it into writing gives it a direction.

I survive by closing myself off from others. I can’t let anyone see how much pain I’m in because that will release the dam of pain I’ve built up. I pretend like I’m not in excruciating pain because I can’t not be strong. I know I have people who are there for me, but they can’t hold me up all the time and I’m in pain all the time. It may not be wise, but it’s the only way I can keep myself together.

I survive by holding the pain at bay with the strength of my will. If I can just use my strength maybe I can prevent myself from completely giving into it.

how do i survive chronic illness

I survive by being independent and taking care of myself. I fear depending on others because if my strength fails me when they aren’t there I know I won’t be able to handle it. It’s both a strength and a weakness, but it’s the only way I know how to keep on.

I survive by not feeling sorry for myself. When I feel sorry for myself I start to lose control of the pain. When the pain starts to take over I can’t see anyone else, not even myself. All I can see is endless pain. I can’t survive that way, so I fight.

I survive by refusing to never giving up. The pain wants to take over everything, but I won’t let it. When the pain starts to overwhelm everything and I feel like I’m losing control, I take a moment to remind myself the reasons why the pain can’t win. Namely, the people I love and care for. The pain can’t take over me because I have to be here for them. They are worth fighting for. I am worth fighting for. I survive because of love.



chronic mom

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7 thoughts on “How do you survive being sick?

  1. Thank you again, Shelley. You say everything in your blog that I just can't put into words. This post brought the tears. Some days it feels like I am so alone, that no one understands, but I found your blog and I see that there is someone who understands me perfectly. This post hit home, it's how I feel I survive day in and day out. I know I keep saying thank you, but I truly mean this with all my heart. I have people in my life that support me but they really don't get it. I think I'll have them read this post of yours and maybe they will understand a little better. I will keep you in my prayers and I hope that you know how special you are. God Bless!

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