April 7th is World Health Day.
There is nothing like suffering from several chronic illnesses to value health. I know the importance of putting oneself in the forefront and taking time to take care of me. Placing myself last on the list is no longer an option.
Having a chronic illness doesn’t mean that your life is over, but it does mean that your life will be different. When you are first diagnosed with a chronic illness, no one tells you your life will never be the same.
No doctor or other professional warned me or made me aware of the fact that daily life activities that were once an automatic thought were going to become a conscious effort. That is until I got my Fibromyalgia diagnosis. My doctor was very direct with me. She wanted me to understand that there is no cure and that pain will be my everyday reality. The only thing she can do is help me find better ways to cope with the pain, by working on my sleep quality and taking off the edge (pain management).
No longer feeling in control of your own body is heartbreakingly difficult. It takes time to settle in and cope with but that is an ongoing process as well. Learning to know yourself, becoming familiar with how your body reacts and then learning to trust what it tells you. Our bodies send us signals all the time, but usually, they’re drowned out by our busy minds. Tune in and trust what your body tells you because it never lies.
I also have severe anxiety and depression which doesn’t help. There wasn’t an hour in the day or night where I wasn’t worried about someone I love, about work and/or about finances. I still struggle with this. Especially when it’s about my child. The sinking in the pit of your stomach. The buzzing in your chest like a swarm of angry bees. The numb, leaden feeling in your shoulders and neck. I was so stressed out that I’d be vomiting and having diarrhoea at the same time. My physical health is definitely affected by my mental health.
“Friendly reminder that “doing your best” does not mean working yourself to the point of mental breakdown. ” – Unknown
It is therefore important to give oneself self-care in everyday life, to give oneself the right to think of oneself without feeling guilty and constantly lowering oneself.
No matter what your life situation looks like, you have the right to think about your well-being, your mental and physical health, so you pay attention and things that make you happy, or things that can temporarily relieve you if you do not feel good. You also have the right to ask for help if you are overwhelmed.
You are not your diagnosis and it doesn’t define you and your worth.
We are all important and you deserve special moments by and for you, no matter what it entails: I personally love colouring books, write blog posts and listening to television series or movies, cuddle your pets. I’m an expert nap taker. I also like to take walks when my body permits and it’s not too cold outside.
It’s extremely rare that my husband and I can afford a full day of doing nothing, but when it happens, I feel zero guilt about spending the entire day in bed.
Right now, my depression and anxiety keep me from enjoying reading like I used to, but I still love being surrounded by them.
I’m an introvert so most of my self-care involves hiding in my bedroom away from everyone, but from time to time it’s really good to see friends. I enjoy spending time by myself. It does not make me feel lonely. I feel happy because I can do what they want and how I want, without having to consider anyone else. I can be my true self when I am alone.
If you ever need help with mental health, here are some useful resources:
- NWT # 1-800-661-0844
- BC 1 800 784 2433
- Kids helpline 1 800 668 6868
- Alberta 403 266 4357
- Saskatchewan 306 933 6200
- Manitoba 1 855 942 6568
- Ontario 1 866 996 0991
- Quebec 1 866 277 3553
- Newfoundland 1800 737 4668