The New Normal - Let’s Remember This Is Normal for Millions Living with Chronic Illness
Hello! I want to preface this post because to some it may seem like I’m trying to add insult to injury, or be a Debbie-downer. But, in fact, I am trying to raise awareness to the millions that suffer from chronic illnesses.
These are some challenging times to be sure. Covid-19 has swept through the world at breakneck speed. People are being forced to stay at home, cancel plans, not see friends and family, not able to do the things they love, grieve loved ones, grieve the life they had before, and the list goes on and on. It is overwhelming with all of the daily updates of mixed messages, sadness, sickness, and death. Imagine that this never ends. Imagine what your life would be like if you had to live this way for the rest of your days. Think about that!
Well, this is the life of someone with a chronic illness, everyday! We want to feel better, do things, go places, see people, visit, go to the store ourselves, run our own errands, etc. but when there is chronic illness, we don’t always get to do what we need to, or want to do. We spend a lot of time making plans and then in kind, breaking a lot of plans. It really is the trials and tribulations of someone living with chronic illness. Think about the things you had planned before Covid-19 took over our lives. Think of your disappointment of having to cancel things or just to shelter in place. This is every day life for those living with chronic illnesses. From your next door neighbor to a veteran, to your grocery clerk, or nurse, chronic illness, like Covid-19, doesn’t discriminate.
PTSD, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Mast Cell, Cancer, Seizures, Epilepsy, Arthritis, Chronic Pain, Asthma, Bipolar mood disease, Cardiomyopathy, IBS, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Chronic kidney disease, Coronary artery disease, Crohn's disease, Diabetes, Mental Illness, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Rheumatoid arthritis, Schizophrenia, Lupus, Ulcerative colitis, and a host of others. This is just a short list of chronic illnesses that plagues millions and upends and suspends life as they’ve always known it!
Being someone who has a few chronic illnesses, I’ve heard it all over the years. “You should just go anyway, come we want to see you, it’s okay that you don’t feel well, no one will know you don’t feel well, you’ll feel better once you get there.” I call bullshit. The thing that most people don’t get is that sometimes pushing through is just not an option. For me, the pain gets so intense that I cannot think straight. No matter what I do, my brain is in a fog and although I might be there physically, I’m not there mentally or emotionally. I find myself having to re-read things 4 or 5 times, or ask someone to repeat what they’ve said, because I couldn’t hear them, over the sound of my teeth gritting in pain, etc. And to this I will add that anytime I have ever “pushed through” and showed up for a gathering, work, etc. people said I was not being sincere, seemed like I was “pre-occupied” or I was bitchy, or unfriendly. So, I have learned to honor myself and just cancel things and not worry about what others think or say. I know my body best, and I know what I can and cannot “push” through. Don’t get me wrong, I’m gutted when I have to cancel on people, this has been part of my life for decades, but it’s really important to me to be fully present with all of my attention, and sometimes, I’m just not able to do that, so cancelling is the best option.
The other thing people might not get, is right now, with the Covid-19, we know that it will end and that life will resume. People will get back to their lives, jobs, events, etc. but those that suffer from chronic illness do not have that preverbal light at the end of the tunnel. For people with chronic illness, there is no time limit because THIS IS their life! Often to sufferers with chronic illness, life is just the tunnel, no light, with no end to the suffering in sight. It’s so very sad.
So, when people are talking about being stuck at home with loved ones, remember some are always alone, when others talk about getting back to their lives and “normal”, remember this is normal for millions of people who live with chronic illness. For those that have someone checking in on them, know that some don’t. When you think about how bored you are--just remembering this is everyday life for millions living with chronic illness might help you be more empathetic to those that are forced to live in isolation and uncertainty always, and for you now, living in quarantine.
Although I am so very sad about what is happening in our world with Covid-19, our world was suffering long before, and I hope that when things go back to “normal” whatever that is, (I’m hoping for a new, better, normal) that you will remember those who have to live this way, all day, every day, 365 days a year! Yep, this is their life!
So, during this time of Covid-19, when you hear or know people are in isolation and they cannot get out because they are “high risk” individuals, it is imperative that people step up and help. Getting out to do these things really is life or death to so many. Remember, some people just don’t know how to ask for help. They don’t know who to call. So, if you even THINK someone is isolating more than usual, or that someone you know MIGHT suffer from a chronic illness, then step up! Do what you can. Sometimes, just listening is helpful. Just give them a call or drop them a text. Sometimes, running their errands is what is needed. Just remember, not everyone who needs help will ask for help. So, sometimes, you have to do things behind the scenes, or just show up with their favorite foods, drinks, books, movies, etc. Use your instincts. Our instincts are on high alert right now with the corona virus lurking at every corner, so use them! Use them during this time and then afterward for those that must continue to live their lives in isolation.
I have family, friends, and clients that suffer from chronic illness and I do my part by offering my services at no cost or for a donation of their choosing. I help when/where I can. It is just the right thing to do.
Someone asked me the other day, “Why did you become a healer?” The truth of the matter is, I felt called to do so. I became a healer because I had been through so much in my life; From living in a house with someone who was being kept alive by a kidney dialysis machine, someone who had breast and then bone cancer, to physical, emotional, and mental abuse, spousal abuse, to addiction, to loss and grief, and so on, I felt like I could understand at a level that others could not. Because I didn’t just read about those things, or study them, I lived them and came out on the other side to tell my story, to help others that might be going through the same things.
If you are suffering with a chronic illness and you’ve chosen not to share it with others, this may be the right time to share your experiences, and your incredible strength, with those that don’t understand this life of isolation, disappointment, fear, and anxiety. Perhaps, now is your time to shine. Maybe helping others, will help you.
I am grateful to have a platform to share this information. I know too many who suffer. It is time that the world at large knows just how many people suffer alone and in silence. So, now that you are living in quarantine, and perhaps have a better understanding of living with chronic illness, perhaps you want to help. There are organizations that could use your donations or your help.
If you suffer from chronic illnesses there is information for you here too. I will add at the end of the post. Thank you for indulging me on this topic at this crucial time in our world. It is near and dear to my heart that everyone who desires help, can get it. Whether it is through one human to another, or through donating to an organization, thank you. Your help means everything to the millions that suffer chronic illnesses around the world.
Many Blessings, Love, and Healing Light to YOU ALL.
RESOURCE: PBS.org Please click the link below for gaining more information on how you can help! Or follow the link below if you need help. Thanks!
Source for the below from PBS.ORG http://www.pbs.org/inthebalance/archives/whocares/resources.html