One of my childhood friends’ brother was in a horrible accident the same week my Grandpa passed away. He spent over a month in the hospital, but is now at home learning to embrace his new life without feeling from his chest down.
His amazing friends and family organized a comedy club night to raise money for him and to say it was a success is an understatement. Sold out is 350 tickets and they had close to 400!
While I was there, my mind was racing. The whole night really just gave me a whole new perspective on things. I know the night was far from about me, but I couldn’t help but really start thinking about my own situation.
~Leo F. Buscaglia
I was in so much pain.
No one could help me.
I was so inflamed.
I gained weight.
I couldn’t put any weight on my leg.
Everything in my life was spiraling down the toilet, fast.
I definitely went through a period where I wished for a different life. Of course I wished that none of it was happening, but I went through very dark times where I wished that I could just have my leg cut off or that there was something wrong with me severe enough that I could either be treated or I knew there was a suffering timeline that would end relatively soon.** I hate thinking about that, and I hate even saying it more, but it’s the truth. My parents would get so mad at me for saying it. And looking back on it, I now feel very ashamed that I thought that way. But, throughout that horrible time in my life, I always knew, subconsciously, one day I would be better again. I couldn’t see it coming soon, and 2 years later I’m still working towards that goal, but I know in my heart it will happen one day. I’m not saying that my friends brother and I are in the same boat, but I totally understand how he feels.
I understand what it’s like to have a ‘go-go-go’ paced life taken away from you.
I understand what it’s like to have everyone else in your life go on living their lives while you’re stuck in one place.
I understand what it’s like to lay awake at night praying so hard that you’d wake up the next day and it would turn out to all be a nightmare.
I understand, therefore I couldn’t help but start to compare our stories.
I couldn’t help but think how I know at sommmmme point in my life I will drop my crutches and be able to walk again. I don’t have to spend my life in a wheelchair. Yes, my autoimmunity causes me severe fatigue and malaise which hinders my daily activities, but if I pace myself I can still do bits and pieces of what I want to do.
After the event I couldn’t fall asleep right away. My mind just kept racing and racing and racing. Thinking about where I’ve been, where I am now and where I have my sights set. And soon enough, I was crying.
One thing about the chronic illness community is there’s always someone online that will listen and support you. I began talking with my friend @abrewi3010 and my mindset began to completely shift.
Wow. Alan can be deep sometimes! 😉
But seriously, “The good thing is there is no such thing as different lives, there is only life. In the end we all want to smile, love, explore, etc.”
I don’t think there is one objection you could make to that statement. No matter what our situation is we all want to be happy, make relationships, have fun with friends and family… we all want to experience life.
When you look at it that way, it’s hard to see how different lives can be.
I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the ABC show Forever, but last week Henry Morgan (the main character) had a great monologue…
“Our body feels pain to warn us of danger, but it also reminds us we’re alive. That we can still feel. That’s why some of us seek it out, while others choose to numb it. Solitude has always been my analgesic of choice. But what if feeling nothing is the worst pain of all? What if the sharing of pain connects us to others and reminds us that none of us is alone? As long as we can feel.” — Henry Morgan, Forever S01E08
I specifically really like the “What if the sharing of pain connects us to others and reminds us that none of us is alone? As long as we can feel.” line.
If we all want the same things in life, if we all feel so we can connect to and with each other – then we’re all in the same boat. Right???
We’re all together in this thing called LIFE.
Chronic illness or injury can make us feel that we’re alone on an island with no one around who understands what we’re going through. When you begin to feel like this, pull out these 2 RIDICULOUSLY POWERFUL tools and remember what Alan said, “The good thing is there is no such thing as different lives, there is only life. In the end we all want to smile, love, explore, etc.”
I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before, but I love love love love love the affirmation ‘I am Love’. It truly is the affirmation that has stuck with me and governs my life. Whenever I am in a negative or disappointing situation I start to repeat this affirmation in my head. I have found that when we approach life with love, not only for ourselves, but for others as well, we can see a HUGE shift in our thinking and our attitudes.
The other day I was reading an article on the 9 Lessons On Loss, Forgiveness and Healing. The following is an except from it and I just think it truly speaks to why we should always choose love.
Here are some great articles which can help you start choosing love:
There are so many ways to show gratitude, and just as it is with love, gratitude isn’t ONLY about giving gratitude for other people and things BUT GIVING THANKS FOR YOURSELF TOO! All aspects of giving gratitude are important. We tend to see around Thanksgiving time so many statuses and Facebook messages about how people are thankful for X and couldn’t get by without Y, but when’s the last time you showed yourself that same thankfulness? When’s the last time you told yourself you were proud of something you accomplished or did? when’s the last time you stood at the mirror and complimented yourself? You may laugh at the idea, but it’s something that Louise Hay stresses in so many of her books. Repeat your positive affirmations and compliments, to yourself, in the mirror!
At the end of everyday I always run back through my day and give thanks for what I have, did, ran into, etc! It can REALLY put a bad day in perspective. For instance, maybe it was a bad pain and fatigue day and I didn’t really make it out of bed. BUT what I can be thankful for is the heating pad which helped keep my joints and stomach warm, my Mom for making me a cup of tea, for my friend texting me a funny story just at the right moment and I can especially be thankful to myself for remaining calm and not getting all worked up about it.
Make sure you give thanks to everything and everyone, including yourself, in your life.
Here are some great articles which can help you start practicing gratitude:
The mind is an extremely POWERFUL tool. If we begin to control how we perceive stress, emotions, situations, experiences, people and things in our lives we can really begin to have control over our complete happiness. A ‘positive’ attitude won’t ‘cure’ a chronic illness, but it most definitely makes it easier to battle the challenges of everyday life.
We all deserve to be the happiest we can be, but sometimes we forget the foundation of happiness. Love and gratitude are two of the basic pillars of happiness and no matter WHAT is going on in our lives we can find SOMETHING to love and be grateful for.
I may not be able to have any impact on my friends’ brother’s situation, but there are things that I CAN do.
I can send him love.
I can send myself love.
I can give thanks for all I have and can do.
I can send thanks to him for all that he has and can do.
And the list could go on and on . .
I challenge you to find a situation where love and gratitude can’t be found . . . I guarantee you’ll be looking for a lonnnggggg time.
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!
**Note: I never thought about harming myself or anyone else for that matter. If I had, I would have hoped someone would have suggested I go to see a professional. If you have feelings like this, please don’t be ashamed, speak up and get the help you need. Depression and anxiety go hand in hand with chronic illness. You’re not alone!