It’s normal to struggle with the challenges of chronic illness sometimes, but life can still be good.
It has been eight years since I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia. It has been long road. Some days I am hopeful and other days I just want to give up. Mostly, I am over it all.
I am over the fact that most of my days are consumed by pain and fatigue and the times when I feel as if I’ve hit rock bottom. I am tired of planning to avoid flares, watching my diet, having my own personal medicine cabinet pharmacy, guilt, endless doctor visits, and not having carefree days. And when I feel good, I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. It is all so exhausting—especially for someone who tries to control every aspect of her life.
Chronic illness has changed me and my life. Before I got sick, I had always been a planner and a doer and a major control freak. In some ways, I still am. I still try to handle setbacks head on by trying to remain positive, pushing forward, and continually looking for balance. But these days, sometimes the more I push, the harder it gets.
I realize I can’t control everything, and that often frustrates and angers me. Moreover, I know that what I expect of myself should be different than it was before I got sick, but my expectations are hard to change because they reflect a lifelong attitude about how I face challenges. I try to convince myself and others that I have my act together, and sometimes I actually believe I do. But the truth is, I don’t.