living life yellow.
the ramblings of a 21 year old
6 things I have learnt since being diagnosed with a chronic illness.
As some of you may know, September is Chronic Pain awareness month! I am wanting to take this as an opportunity to share some of the things that I have learnt, mainly within the last couple of months, thanks to my chronic pain.
Know when to say no. A large amount of time I feel like I have to go out with friends or commit to extra activities. Usually this results in me feeling rather run down as I do try to pack a lot of stuff into my life. When I'm tired, the pain gets worse, I get more irritable, and I'm just a mess in general. Make time to have to yourself and keep it that way.
Push your limits, but respect them. This is something that I have had trouble with recently. When I had my first lap, I was back to school/work within 3 days. Big regrets. I now think I rushed my recovery. I just wanted to get back out of the house and start doing things again. However this was not beneficial. Take time to recover! I now push by limits but respect them by getting out of bed in the morning, do what I gotta do, keeping track of pain levels and not doing anything too crazy.
Planning is not an option. Having a chronic illness/pain is very frustrating as it can come and go very, very quickly. I'm probably well known in my friend group as unreliable as I have had to cancel many times due to waking up feeling like I'm being stabbed. This is probably something I have found the most difficult due to the fact that I am an avid planner. Thanks to my father, I am known to have plans down months in advance. The worst thing about this is that for me, when things don't go to plan, I just can't cope. I am learning to be more spontaneous, making the most out of a the small number of better days. If I'm feeling "good" (can manage if I can wear comfy pants and bring a hot water bottle/heat pack) Leo and I will go out to a cafe, head down to the beach or go see the dogs at the shelter before things start to kick back in. Moral of the story, don't make things set in stone, be spontaneous.
Make sure to have guilt free relaxation. Sometimes it can be very hard to relax when you need to relax everyday. Those with chronic pain/illnesses will understand that naps/chill out time/just doing nothing is super important and sometimes it's very hard to do this without feeling you are, or other will view you as lazy. The way I have worked around this for myself, is to do something productive such as go for a walk, write a blog post, leave the house to do something before I crash and have nap.
Ask for help. Having a good support team is the most important things when you have chronic pain/illnesses. I'm super lucky to have my parents, partner, teachers, work colleagues and friends who are all a part of my team to being well again. By asking for help, even if you're just asking someone to let you rant, helps SO much,
You know you more than anyone else does! Chronic pain/illnesses often are told "it's all in your head," or suffer from many different misdiagnoses. If you think your doctor/specialist is wrong, bring it up. Fight for your cause. Get second opinions. Your pain is real and no one else knows what it like for you.
If you have never met anyone with, or don't understand chronic pain/illnesses, I suggest you check out the "Spoon Theory."
Everything has to be thought about so you can self manage your pain.
Happy chronic pain/illness awareness month.