Health Interrupted

There are so many ways health issues impact daily life.  There are rabid monsters like cancer, injuries, bouts of viruses, and minor struggles with the common cold.  As each onslaught attacks our well-being we are presented with challenges:  how to educate ourselves on our ailments, cope with symptoms and alter our routines to accommodate illness.  Do we require assistance from others? A new diet?  Will this situation recur? Whom should we include in our planning?  Will this affect our income?  And perhaps the most important question: what is our attitude towards the situation?

Everyone hates to be sick.  Losing control over our wellbeing is scary.  It is our body going rogue, choosing our circumstances for us.  We cannot always choose the status of our health, but we are not powerless. We decide how to respond.  We are in charge of our coping mechanisms.

Feeling sorry for ourselves is natural.  We feel terrible.  Needing support or sympathy is perfectly acceptable.  Nobody likes a whiner but a bit of self-indulgence is justified.  It is okay to have a good cry or lean on a partner for a bit.  Go ahead, feel sorry for yourself, but only for a short time.  The pity party needs to end, so your strength and attention can turn towards the positive process of recovery.  If full recovery is not an option, then do what you can to focus on living the best quality life you are able.

Rail at the Fates if you must.  Be angry at the hand you were dealt.  Once you have acknowledged the injustice of it all, face your situation and make the best of it. Take the support you need but be as independent as possible. You are sick.  We are all in the process of slowly dying but you are certainly not dead yet. Exercising the strength you do have restores your sense of control.

Be realistic.  Accepting your circumstance is not conceding defeat.  It is your starting point from which you will launch your battle, one positive step at a time.

Be grateful.  Focus on small achievements and the gifts in your life which bring you joy. Push yourself to take steps forward but be smart enough to claim time to rest when necessary. Take pride in how you conduct yourself through this difficult time.  Be proud of the smart decisions you are making.  Challenge yourself to be a role model for others facing similar situations. Illness can make you a warrior.

Maintain a sense of humor and try to keep your perspective.  It is natural to want to turn your focus inward, especially if you are in pain.  Sometimes however, it is by focusing on others around us that we are able to keep our own hurts manageable. Be thoughtful and deliberate. Spend time in activities that soothe your soul.  Pray, meditate, listen to music and enjoy nature.  Throw open the curtains and let the sun shine into your room.

Understand that we all face health challenges.  You are not alone.  Others share your struggle- now, in the past and in the future.  Represent yourself in a way you can take pride in.  You are lucky to have this moment at all.  Appreciate it. Face your circumstance. Decide for yourself how you will cope. You will experience this time whether you are miserable or joyful. Even if you are suffering it is still your time and your opportunity. Own it. Savor this moment. Take honest, active control of your health. Decline the whine.  You are a warrior.


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