You can have an impact
Do you believe in this statement?
When chronic illness interrupts your life…. It is how you respond that will define your life experience.
After years of living through the many challenges of my chronic illness this realisation was a game changer.
For years I felt like a bystander in my life with MS. At the mercy of an external force. Waiting for this disease to make the next move.
When would the next symptom happen? What part of my functioning would be affected this time? Would I need more treatments? Another lengthy hospital stay? I was sitting in anticipation of the next interruption to my life.
But when my mindset changed. When I realised that my response to living with MS would define my life experience, I felt empowered. Like I could have an impact on my life.
Over the years this has motivated me to spend a lot of time working on myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. To continue to learn and grow through all of my experiences with MS (we’ll go further into this another time).
But given this is only the second blog, I wanted to reinforce the importance of this mindset. As if you do recognise the impact you can have on your life experience, then you will be more open to learning new ways of thinking about and experiencing your chronic illness.
This doesn’t need to be in ground-breaking ways. Here are some examples of small changes I have made to change my approach whilst working from home during the COVID restrictions:
- After a number of months I noticed my legs were becoming weaker. Made sense as I wasn’t getting the incidental exercise I would usually have from going shopping or travelling with work. Instead of watching on as they deteriorated further I realised I needed to do something. We purchased a new Total Gym, now I can exercise at home and my legs are definitely strengthening.
- I was starting to feel quite fatigued and lethargic. I realised that the only exercise I was getting was walking to the kitchen each time I wanted a break from my computer screen. I made an effort to cook more – nutritious meals at night but also healthier snacks for during the day. I now feel less tired, my jeans aren’t so tight (a bonus) and I feel better within myself.
These are just a couple of quick examples. But each highlights that we don’t need to wait until our symptoms worsen. Instead we can have an impact, even if it is in a small way.
We’ll keep chatting about the ways you can have an impact on your life experience in further blog posts. But for now, by realising you can have an impact on your experience will help you to create the mindset necessary to live well with chronic illness.
I know two key reasons that my life is unrecognisable to years ago is that I’ve recognised the importance of creating momentum and moving forward in my life (see Blog #001). But then I’ve realised that every time my life is interrupted by a new symptom that I can have an impact and define my experience.
This week see if you can think of one way that you can have an impact on your experience with your chronic illness.
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