What I learned could help you too.
Chronic illness has been part of my life for nearly eight years. While I now accept that I will be sick for the rest of my life, I didn’t always feel that way. My journey toward acceptance hasn’t been easy. No matter how many times I moved closer to acceptance, for a long time my feelings about being sick continued to change just as my chronically ill life constantly changed. Here is how I finally learned to accept that I would be sick for the rest of my life.
At least it wasn’t terminal
I know telling yourself “at least it’s not terminal” is harsh, but being sick for the rest of your life is just as scary and life-altering. In 2008 when I was the sickest I’d ever been, I focused on feeling relieved that I wasn’t dying. Getting diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia was hard. But recognizing the difference between a terminal illness and a chronic illness helped me to seize a glimmer of hope.
Frustration when I didn’t quickly get better
Three months passed after I was diagnosed. My rheumatologist had prescribed three different mediations and I still wasn’t better. Back again at my doctor’s office, I was given different medications and more pamphlets. I drove home convinced that things would be different and these new medications would work. They didn’t. Another three months passed and I continued to feel sick. That was the hardest year of my life, but it was also the first part of my road to acceptance.