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Monday, 21 January 2019

Depression and Chronic Illness: The reason why it’s okay if life isn’t following your original plan

Accepting ‘what now is’ when your entire life has been turned upside down and thrown into chaotic turmoil, all thanks to unexpected chronic illness is never the easiest of tasks...I mean, why the hell would it be? 

To be brutally honest, my life is the complete opposite of how I envisioned it would be growing up, but then again I don’t think anybody imagines that some days they’ll be too weak to simply lift their head from their pillow, or be physically unable to carry out even the most basic of everyday tasks. 

But unfortunately that’s just the harsh reality of M.E and fibromyalgia, the daily symptoms are torturous.

 Having a dramatic breakdown because you physically can’t climb the stairs for over half an hour, or lying in bed hungry and thirsty for the morning because you’re in too much pain to get up will occur regularly, and you have to get used to this being your new reality. 

Chronic illness forces you to mourn life as you knew it. It almost is a bit of a grieving process, and you’ve got to simply erase all images in your head of what your life was supposed to look like, or else it will completely break you...let me tell you, I should know. 

Rewind back to exactly this time last year (and in my own words) I quote: ‘Each second has been hell. I don’t even want to wake up anymore, I’ve lost all of my fight, I feel broken.’ 

 Physically I was in agony and a constant state of exhaustion. Emotionally I was severely depressed, angry and at breaking point. And socially I was missing out on everyday life. I was basically at the very lowest I’d ever been in my life. 

I was so ashamed that I was unable to function like everyone else my own age and have my own career, despite looking like I was completely healthy and ‘fine’ on the outside. I felt trapped...suffocated almost. My deepest, darkest fear was that I’d never be able to live a life I loved, or could tolerate even. 

Having no independence, and having to constantly rely on my mum to help me dress, eat and take me places always will feel a little degrading, even now. But almost a year on since I started taking anti depressants to help me cope with my illnesses, I’ve now accepted that this is my ‘normal’. 

Don’t get me wrong I’d kill to have endless energy and not be at war with my body daily, and I still have my ‘I don’t think I can do this’ days when I’m in pain, but actually you know what I’ve adapted. I’ve got to try my very best to carry on despite my limitations and health obstacles. Just because I’m not able to sit up one day, or I’ve fallen down the stairs doesn’t mean that I’m useless like I once thought. 

Okay yes I maybe don’t have a ‘normal’ job like I pictured, I’m self employed and money is very up and down and never guaranteed , but I’m able to flexibly work around my illnesses, and that’s priceless when I finally feel like I have a purpose.

I have to pace myself massively and I can’t achieve half of what I’d like to when it comes to my career. Most days my biggest achievement is getting through the day, and I’ll still have moments when I just want to cry at how unwell and broken my body feels, but with each month that passes the more I learn to cope with it better. You can only make make the best out of YOUR situation.

And do you know what?! Even though I didn’t picture my arm aching painfully for at least an hour after brushing my teeth/simple daily tasks being such a HUGE challenge... I know for a fact that I wouldn’t appreciate life and health as much as I do now. 

My mission is to treat every ‘better’ day that I have as though life is one huge party. Having fun, ordering my favourite food, drinking the wine and laughing as much as I can. Life isn’t supposed to be serious and you’re supposed to live it to the full, right? 

So it might sound a little weird saying that ‘something good’ has come from chronic illness at a young age, because it turns your life upside down, but it’s always better to focus on the positives. And it really has transformed me into a completely different person. I wouldn’t be as empathetic and understanding towards others, I’d take a lot of things for granted, and in the name of honesty I know I’d be more judgemental too, it’s just human nature. 

So before I ramble on and bore you all even more I just want to end this by saying even when you feel like life has just ended, you’ll still go on to surprise yourself by achieving amazing things...

Life will never ever follow your original plan, but don’t worry that’s okay, you’ll still learn to love it anyway! 

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