I clearly remember the time a friend walked out of my life after I opened up to him about having fibromyalgia. Saying that it hurt a lot would be an understatement – it was one of the few times where it felt like there was something “wrong” with me or that I wasn’t good enough to be loved. Experiences like these have taught me so much about myself, the people I am surrounded by, and the world we live in. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing because they shaped me into the person that I am today. However, there are certain things I know now that I wish I had known back when I was first diagnosed.
Here’s a list of ten things I learnt along the way:
- Don’t let an illness define you as a person. It’s only a part of who you are – just like your personality and the various quirks you posses. Embrace it.
- This is your fight. If your family or friends decide to tag along the way and help out, be extremely appreciative! But have zero expectations or be ready to face lots of disappointments.
- You are going to face rejection – at some point – in your journey. Whether that comes in the form of disassociation from your family, insensitivity from your friends or unacceptance from strangers. Take it with a grain of salt because that speaks volumes about them and has very little to do with you.
- Have the courage to speak your truth. Don’t wait for anyone’s approval, and try not to let their negative thoughts take control of how you feel about your illness. In doing so, you will be stigmatizing your own illness.
- You are going to meet all kinds of people – some that believe you when you speak about your symptoms, and others that think you’re being lazy and making excuses. Don’t try to prove your point to them because what they think about you is none of your concern.
- Learn to prioritize the things and people that matter in your life. You’ll only have so much energy, so make sure you give it to what matters the most.
- It’s okay to say no. If you aren’t feeling well, don’t force yourself to go to that party, or meet up with that friend. They will understand, or they won’t – the choice is theirs.
- You can still live the life you always dreamed of as long as you are willing to make adjustments on a daily basis. These adjustments might seem really big at the beginning, but as time goes by, they will just become a part of your everyday routine. Eventually, they will feel like anything but adjustments!
- All the happiness you could ever want lives inside you. Don’t depend on people or any other external factors to bring you that happiness. The key to your happiness is in your own hands.
- Lastly, health is wealth – everything else in your life can wait. Invest in your health so you can have “everything” you desire in your life.
Thinking back to the time I lost a friend, I’m thankful for it! It opened my eyes to the fact that some people you meet won’t ever be able to think past your illness. They’ll never get to know the real you. But hey, that’s their loss because you are freaking AWESOME!
Now I turn this over to you! In the comments below, tell me what lessons you’ve learnt along your journey. And don’t forget to subscribe and share!
With love and spoons,