Living with a disability, suffering from chronic illness and being medically retired, is not the life anyone would choose for themselves.
The fact is, it is tough, there is no way of sugar coating it. It drains you emotionally, physically, mentally, financially. Your illness will steal from you, destroy parts of you, eat away at you, ruin memories. But, it does not mean that your life is over.
If you have a long term condition, it is pretty safe to say that your life will never be the same again – this is obvious. There will plenty of occasions where you feel like you are no longer you, as if someone came along and stole your soul – the very essence of what made you, you.
It will be horrific, there will be moments where you feel like you have literally descended into hell. You will be full of loathing and jealousy. I beg you to hang on in there with every single fibre of your being.
Frequently, you will see the people around you and question ‘why me?’. This is not self pity, it is part of the natural grieving process. Part of you will compare the ‘old’ you with the shadow that you have become. Again, you can work through that, unless you have fallen apart, you cannot put yourself back together.
The most important advice I want to give is do not compare yourself to anybody else. I did it and I promise there is no benefit in this.
It comes with the territory that you will hear about, see or meet other people with your condition or another illness/disability with similar consequences as yours. For this reason, it easy to assume that you are in similar situations and to a certain extent this may even be true. BUT, every person has their own story – all scenarios will differ, not one person is the same.
Therefore, do not create expectations of yourself based on the needs, wants and goals of another person. Please congratulate them when they achieve, be there to comfort them if they fall – but do not try to be anything other than be you. You are enough, you have worth, nobody is any better or worse than you.
Each person has their own journey. Make sure that your focus is on yourself. Your performance is personal to you. Life is not a competition. You aren’t in a race, take it easy, relax, be reflective. Live your life as the best version of yourself. Let yourself love and be loved.
Expectations of what you can or want to achieve whilst trying to cope with illness and/or disability should be set by you for you. Have ambition and goals, but do it in smaller steps, if you do not complete an aim, please do not stress, worry or over think it. Re-set yourself a goal more suitable for that moment in time, work towards that instead. You can always amend and implement aims in the future.
If you fail, it is one more step towards your success. Just keep going, adapt, amend, change. Take your time, relax, rest, then keep going. Nobody is perfect, life is not perfect, humans aren’t born to be perfect. Experiencing the ride, the ups and downs, the forwards and the backwards, is all part of the journey.
Ultimately, if you are doing your best, then that is more than good enough. Your path is that of your own, treasure the people that can walk along your path with you, but take the time to look at the view, pause for a while, breathe, draw it all into your soul. Feel the energy of your life – imagine, dream, hope, keep on keeping on.