Is it really possible to stay positive with a chronic illness?
Being diagnosed at 18 with osteonecrosis also called avascular necrosis (of the left femur) was not what I planned for my life.
It never crossed my mind.
Avascular necrosis is a complication of sickle cell disorder, a chronic illness I was born with.
The doctor said I had to be walking with an aid in order not to put pressure on the affected leg.
I was depressingly sad. My world literally stopped, I cried for the whole night wondering why it was me.
Fast forward, five years later, I still live with avascular necrosis, I still feel pain but I run a blog, I have a job on the side, gave school another try and I’m still learning to live on my terms.
A lot changed actually, my mindset, my attitude towards life changed.
I became more positive dealing with sickle cell disorder.
It wasn’t easy, I wasn’t a one day thing and it is not a do it once thing.
I understand how difficult it is to remain positive living with sickle cell disorder just like many other chronic illnesses.
These illnesses are so unpredictable and can bring your high spirit down at anytime but that does not mean you cannot remain positive.
Truly, you cannot be thinking positive all the time, I’m just being realistic.
There are times you would doubt if it is worth it but you have to learn how to push that thought aside once it comes.
In this post, I will share with you ten ways I stayed positive and hopefully help you stay positive living with a chronic illness.
I hope these steps will help you live your best life while beating chronic illness.
Ten ways to stay positive with chronic illness
1. Accept your reality
Sometimes it is difficult to accept that something has happened especially when it is something bad that we never imagined.
I never imagined walking around with a painfully degenerating hip at 18 but it happened. I had to accept that.
You have to take time to look, understand and accept the new reality. Don’t live in the past, it is depressing and don’t sit in the future, it causes anxiety.
All you have is the present which is reality and you should face it with an open mind. A mind that helps you see things in a more positive light.
2. Keep a gratitude journal
Gratitude is the beginning to new opportunities. There is always something to be grateful for and that is why keeping a gratitude journal is good.
A gratitude journal helps you keep things in perspective.
Actually anyone can benefit from keeping a gratitude journal.
3. Find lessons instead of problems in every situation
There is always a lesson to be learnt in every situation. You need to train your mind to see that rather than pinpointing all the problems.
One lesson out of numerous that I learnt is that never postpone what ought to be done today till tomorrow because tomorrow is not certain.
4. Join a support group
The benefits of joining a support group are enormous, especially when it is a support group with people living with the same illness like you, people facing the struggles as you. I consider it therapeutic.
Support groups was a life saver for me. Understanding that I was not alone, gave me strength to keep going.
Join a support group related to your illness, share how you feel, relate with them and you will realize that you are strong.
5. Don’t let your illness define you
You are not your illness. It is only part of you and there is more to you and the world is waiting for you.
Don’t let your illness define you. Do things that make you happy, things you’re passionate about, drink from the well of good books, learn new things.
6. Feed yourself some motivation
Zig Ziglar once said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.”
Well, as someone living with chronic illness, I think motivation should be maybe twice or three times a day.
You can get discouraged very quickly, the environment and society does not really help us keep our inspired minds for long.
So I think it is important to keep refilling our inspiration bar.
I like watching and reading about successful people’s story. And I recommend that you read about Stephen Hawking if you haven’t.
7. Put yourself first
Self-love is really important and underrated.
Sometimes, you might feel guilty for taking rests or taking care of yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up because loving and putting yourself first will not only help you stay positive but it will also make you accept yourself.
Give yourself excess love and care. You are worth every good thing in this world.
8. Help others
Helping others is not just about making the other person feel better about themselves, it also makes you feel better about yourself.
It doesn’t have to be something big, just small help will go a long way.
9. Share your story
Sometimes sharing your story can help you realize how far you have come. It can help you see the mighty hurdles that you’ve passed.
Recently, I was featured on two amazing sickle cell podcasts and listening to myself made me proud of what I do.
Start sharing your story, you don’t know who you might inspire and what might inspire you.
You can listen to both podcasts by clicking the link below,
10. Take your time and honour your limitations
The world is full of different people doing things you want to do and seeing them can make you feel bad.
Don’t feel bad because you cannot do it instead take your time and find another way to do it.
As humans we all have limitations but as someone living with chronic illness, our limitations are even more.
You should acknowledge that you cannot do everything and do your best every time you get the chance.
There are days chronic pain or chronic fatigue would ask you to give up but don’t listen, don’t give up.
Raise up, stay strong and beat your illness.
You can change the way you see and react to life when you stay positive.
I hope that these ways will help you stay positive when things get tough and pain won’t let you breath.
What other ways do you use to stay positive with chronic illness? Share with me.