Having a chronic illness especially in your younger years is really tough to accept. You’re partying and having the time of your life, hanging out with friends, accelerating in your career and growing into the person you were meant to be through amazing and difficult experiences – Life, in all its glory.
Then one day, something happens. Some, caused by accidents. Some, literally out of nowhere, and some like me – chronic dizziness and vertigo came on 2 months after a prank gone wrong, during the recovery period and have left doctors clueless and puzzled, exhausting all medication and treatment to no avail.
How does one accept the 360° unwanted change in one’s life?
After 3 years and counting of fighting to understand and control my body to no avail and having infinite amounts of time for self-pity and the silence of utter loneliness, I have picked out 4 points that have helped me more-or-less accept that my life will never be the way it was before. The purpose of this post is to share and care with those who are struggling in a similar or identical way as I am or to help you understand better if you know someone who struggles the same.
1- Get used to being alone
In my case, the friends whom I was close to all left. In a dramatic mini series of events. (see here) I have 2 friends now who have stepped up as I was not very close with them before and they are such sweet souls. They check in with me once in awhile just to make sure I’m alive. (haha)
For someone who had an active job, lifestyle and social life you can imagine what a shock it was when I was left empty. No more social media notifications, no more messages, calls and Whatsapp notifications annoying the life out of you. Just pure silence. It took me 3 years to get used to it and though I still do feel lonely a lot of the time now, it is easier to manage and being forced into solitude does have its advantages too.
I’ve had so much time to reflect, breathe, meditate and find myself again. I was getting so caught up with the world and its lifestyle that I never really got a chance to grasp who I am deep down inside. Things that I enjoyed when I was a child. Music, books, plays, theatre, dance (though I’m unable to now, watching videos make me so happy). I remember rollerblading, swimming, basketball. All these memories though most activities I cannot fulfil now, have helped me to centre my inner soul. The essence of me. My true self that has been lost. And if a miracle happens one day where I am cured, I will be more sure than ever of myself and what I like or don’t like or what I stand for because I’ve had and still have so much idle time to centre myself. I find that being alone is nurturing me into this thick, richness of soul that I’ve never come to being before.
So true friends or no friends, you are your best friend and now I treasure the 2 friendships I have so dearly. I treasure every small little thing more dearly. From being able to brush my teeth, wash my hair, feed myself and being able to pee! Things that I lost at points in time.
~So all I want to say is, embrace your loneliness. It’s what makes us human and it’s what helps us find ourselves.
2- The challenge of being with your family 24/7
For some of us, you will never realise how tough it is to be with your family ALL THE TIME. Since I’ve had so many issues with my mother that are still unresolved, being with her all the time is really tough. I have come to see all the flaws of my parents and my sister and many of them I can’t stand, to be blatantly honest. I’m sure they do feel the same way looking at me too. It is a challenge when you can’t step out to take a breather. Even being with your best friend 24/7 isn’t healthy either! I guess this is the part of being a true family. Working together and tolerating, trying to be understanding in the toughest situations. Plus being a caretaker for someone with chronic illness is not easy either.
Though sometimes I think that it’s such a mean thought to have, that it is difficult or a burden to take care of someone chronically ill because “at least you’re not sick like me and you can function normally and go out and have fun and do whatever you like at anytime and get a breather from me while I can never step out for a breather, not even from myself and this body that won’t listen to me so don’t talk to me about breathers“, I’m sure their worrying and concern also affects them in a negative way.
And what’s worse than looking at your loved one suffer and not being able to help? Isn’t that one of the most terrible and tragic feelings to have? Helplessness. Being unable to do anything for that person but watch them struggle and cry.
~So I am still learning to accept flaws. In others and in myself, and what better way to learn it then being forced into it! Haha!
3- Doctor visits – an opportunity to be out
I’ve probably developed a trauma of doctors and hospitals. I’m sick of them and if I’m ever cured, would NEVER want to go near one again. Even the mere thought of it sends shudders down my being. Nausea-inducing, mental torture and soul-tearing is what it is.
Now that I go to different doctors every week and I’m still trying out new doctors – haven’t given up on finding a cure yet, I have trained my mind to react more positively, viewing it as an opportunity to be out for some fresh air and sunlight (though the only times I get exposed is walking to the cab and getting out of the cab before being in a building again with other sick people) though I do have days where I am dizzy to a point I can only look at the floor and try to make it to the clinic without falling dramatically and attracting too many stares.
~Having chronic illness confines you to your bed, chair or home, so viewing a doctor’s visit as a chance to go out might help a little in lifting your mood. That’s only if you’re not wheeled in by an ambulance because of a flare up of course!
4- Only God and you
This is probably the best point of it all. It wasn’t until it was pointed out to me that I began to realise it. God wants you all to himself. Sounds kinda selfish and an extreme course of action to take right? Allowing you to be sick to have you to himself?
However, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, through my own experiences. Though things like the many innocent lives that are being ruthlessly and mindlessly taken away in this crazy world now is tough to accept and sometimes makes one question if there’s even a God, deep down I know that we all have a purpose. Even if it means to be chronically ill, terminally ill or even I dare say, killed.
I still do question, especially when I see terminally ill kids. You know what though? It is when I see how tough these kids are and how they fight things like cancer that makes me fight on for another day when all I want to do is end my life. For me, they’re an inspiration, their strength and will. Their existence, though a tough one has helped me. I choose to believe that life here is only temporary and just as goodness will not stay hidden, evil too, will not be hidden and there is a consequence for everyone even if it’s not seen in this lifetime. So your reward for fighting through illness will not go unseen.
In my case, I can understand why God has allowed such an extreme change in my life. I am stubborn, I have always sat on a fence not ready to let go completely of my sinful lifestyle choices. I knew the bad and good things but sometimes I blurred it out. I ignored God’s prompting to stop. The times I was confused and unsure, I should have stopped, sat down and spent time with God to hear him. I never had time for myself as I was always on the go. I cared so much for others that I forgot about myself most times and I would end up crumbled in a puddle at the end.
~So now I have been kind of forced to listen, forced to reflect, forced to meditate and look through my life. How I can be better from now on and lead a proper, truly happy lifestyle. The true meaning of happiness. Contentment. Not material.
All good and bad things happen for a reason and the only way to get through it is to be strong and keep pushing on. The times you scream, cry and want to give up, just remember who you are now. How much wiser and calmer you are. How much more thankful and grateful you are for the smallest things and the closest people to you. How important you are. How much you have grown and see things, life in a completely different light now. How you’ve learnt humility through the times when you can’t even feed or clothe or bathe yourself. These are the things that makes us stronger, humble. Forget about the material world. Forget about makeup, clothes, activities that make you look good, hot body, seem smarter or more attractive. These are ‘outside’ things.
YOU KNOW that ‘outside’ things are perishable just like how you cannot take anything with you to the grave. Wealth means nothing when you don’t have health. Deep inside however, your soul, you are imperishable. You are special and loved.
“Embrace solitude, befriend silence”
“We wonder so much what people think of us that we hardly ever think of ourselves”
Be kind to one another,
Tweet me @Godvsdepression