What’s My Impossible? Dealing with a Chronic Condition
Being diagnosed with an incurable chronic illness almost destroyed me. But I’ve found a few ways to face the impossible every day.
Have you faced something that seemed impossible? Something that perhaps changed you or pushed you to your limits? I think we all have some sort of impossible challenge in life we’ve faced, are dealing with right now, or will face in the future. One thing's for sure, each day we encounter people not knowing what they're going through. And many of us are achieving the impossible every day.
Take me, for example. I’m a writer, an online shopping addict, and a lover of books and chocolate licorice. But among all these facts about me, I also suffer from a chronic illness— endometriosis, in fact. But you would never know that by looking at me.
An impossible battle
I don’t talk about my battle with endometriosis very often, but it has put me through emotional and physical turmoil for years. I’m in pain more often than I’m not, I’ve already had two surgeries within 18 months of each other to relieve symptoms, and I often cancel plans or shift my schedule around because it makes life unpredictable.
For a long time, I let this disease define who I was. When I was first diagnosed, I believed I was limited, that I was a burden, and that I was doomed to live an unhappy and unfulfilling life because of it. It seemed impossible to deal with. But I was wrong.
I finally decided I was not going to let this condition control my life, instead I committed myself to show it (and myself) that I am stronger than anything it can throw at me. This new outlook changed the impossible to something I can face each day with a smile. Here's how I've learned to do just that:
1. Celebrate the little things
On mornings when my entire body aches, I applaud myself for getting out of bed. Honestly, the little things in life are the ones that count the most. Celebrate small steps you take each day to conquer all the odds against you. You will find life is much more satisfying when you do.
2. Have “me” time
Self-care is so important. Giving yourself “me” time can help you get back on track and lower your stress levels. I tend to go, go, go in life, and a lot of the time, it takes someone else to remind me to sit down and just be still for a few minutes each day.
Whether “me” time involves relaxing in the bath, reading a book, or going on a walk, remember to always make time to care for yourself. If you aren’t taking care of yourself first, you won’t have any energy to take care of everything else.
3. Make necessary changes
Yes, it’s possible to set and even reach goals and make changes even when life is hectic. There is room for improvement somewhere in your life. Set goals, even if they are small. For example, I’ve set a few goals to read more self-help books instead of fiction, try physical therapy, and meal prep each week. Whatever you’re going through, don’t be idle. Keep yourself growing, even if it’s in small ways.
4. Allow yourself to feel
You’re going to feel upset and think that life is unfair sometimes. But I’m going to share a secret with you: It’s fine to feel that way. I used to think that feeling sad or mad or any sort of “negative” emotion was a bad thing, but it’s not. Facing the pain and unfairness of life and really allowing yourself to feel the emotions that come with it is what leads to healing. It’s okay to have bad days sometimes. But what really matters is that you get back up when you get knocked down.
5. Surround yourself with goodness
I felt like a burden to my family and friends for years because of my health problems. But I finally realized I wasn’t. You do your best, and everyone knows that. Fill your life with good, understanding people who lift you up instead of dragging you down, and that includes being kind to yourself as well. You need and deserve support.
6. Be grateful
Sometimes, the best medicine is taking a step back to look at the parts of your life that are filled with wonderful and irreplaceable things. Take note of all you have to be grateful for each day—especially those little things. I started keeping a gratitude journal last year, and it’s given me such a new perspective on how truly wonderful life can be, despite the hard stuff.
7. Accept what you can’t change
I was in denial about endometriosis for a long time. But I’ve learned that I have to accept it, and I can’t stress or lose my mind over what I can’t control. Sometimes all you can do is accept what life throws at you and move forward with hope and courage. And that’s a lot easier said than done, but doing this can change your life for the better.
8. Believe in the impossible
Whatever your impossible may be, keep telling yourself what you can do rather than what you can’t. The thing about life is that you cannot know joy without pain. And there is no growth in comfort.
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Sometimes it takes getting through something incredibly hard to realize how extraordinary you are. Whatever “impossible” life has thrown at you, just know it’s truly possible to find joy in any circumstance. Believe in yourself and look at how far you’ve come. Whatever you may deal with each day, you are a strong and magnificent human, who has limitless potential. You can truly achieve the impossible.