The other day, someone gave me some wonderful inspirational advice. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, this particular bit of wisdom just didn’t fit for someone with chronic illness. It was about getting a regular job and getting out in the world. Now, I do try to get out more than most people who are sick. However, I have no small amount of limitations. And as for working a regular job, well, as enthused as I may be, it’s just not happening right now. I used to be a real go getter. I still am inside. The problem is that chronic illness changes all the rules.
Turning can’t to can.
Oh boy. This is a great rule, isn’t it? I’ve always followed it. Concentrating on what I can do works pretty well for me. Unfortunately, with Lupus, not all my “can’ts” are able to turn into cans. Life just isn’t that simple with chronic illness. There really are things that I absolutely can’t do now, no matter how hard I try. That doesn’t stop me from trying, of course. It’s just that my success rate is minimal.
If you eat right, exercise, etc.
I do all that all the time. In fact, I’ve gone vegan, take all the recommended supplements, stay as active as possible and do everything else that’s good for me. I take excellent care of myself. I feel much better because of it. However, this is a chronic illness. It’s not going away. I will likely have it for the rest of my life. Not only that, but no matter how well I eat or how many times I go to the gym, I will most likely have a shorter lifespan than most people. The truth is, although it’s a good rule, it works best for healthy, young people. I’m lucky to see the improvement I have. Not everyone with chronic illness does. Sometimes it’s just too little too late.
Positive thoughts bring positive results.
Once again, this is very true. Unfortunately, it’s not as true for those with chronic illness as most of us would like it to be. I can dream sky high dreams and grow my little ball of sunshine all day long. I can share that positivity with everyone around me. I do, most days. Problem is, chronic illness isn’t comparable to a bad attitude. It doesn’t go away just because you paste a happy grin on your face. Oh, I try. I will never stop projecting happiness. Still, there is a limit to how far a positive attitude can take you when you have a chronic illness.
I’m far from being a naysayer.
Still, as positive as I try to remain with this illness, I do find myself becoming frustrated by people’s well intended advice. The problem is not their sincerity or their thinking. The problem is that some normally excellent advice simply doesn’t apply to someone with chronic illness. I understand that people who aren’t sick daily may have a hard time seeing loved ones chained to their house or even their chair. It may seem that a sick person is lazy or unmotivated. That’s simply not the case. They’re usually just too sick to do much more.
Do you know someone with chronic illness?
If so, try to understand that they work through the pain daily. They often suffer from constant exhaustion. Sometimes just holding their head up is hard. If you catch them on a good day, they may be celebrating by overdoing it a bit. That doesn’t mean they’ll be up to that every day. It doesn’t mean they are capable of living a “normal” life or working a “normal” job. Why? Because there will quite frequently be those other days.
How can you help?
Trust them to know what’s best for them, based on how they feel and doctor’s recommendations. Life is hard with chronic pain and illness. Your sick loved one doesn’t need your advice. They may need a helping hand from time to time. Remember, the best thing you can do is just love and accept them for who they are and respect their struggles without condemnation.
More from Jaipi:
Fighting Chronic Illness – Be Patient With Critical Loved Ones
Disconnecting With Chronic Illness
Five Things That Ease My Chronic Pain Naturally