As we grow up, I feel we develop a norm for our bodies and define what is normal versus abnormal in terms of our body and physicality. For example, if you’ve suffered from migraines since you were a child, you’ll be more likely to identify a headache or a migraine that is different from what you consider your “normal” migraine. Let me elaborate.
Growing up, being mostly healthy, I knew when I was coming down with the flu or the reason I was so exhausted was that I pulled an all-nighter the previous night. As we become more aware of our bodies, we are able to attach reasons behind the way we feel physically, for the most part.
For most people that are particularly healthy minus the seasonal allergies or the flu, it’s hard to imagine what some “unhealthy” or those with poor health are going through on a day to day basis. Coming from someone who is almost too aware and in tune with their body, I will tell you that feeling something way out of what I considered “normal” in terms of my health was the scariest time of my life.
My hands and feet would go from a burning sensation to weak which led to feeling numb. There are days when I could sleep over 24 hours without getting up and when I eventually do get up, I’m still exhausted.
Prior to my chronic health conditions taking full effect, I didn’t have to do much planning. I was more of an “on-the-go” type of person. Now, almost every activity has to be planned in accordance with my body and how it decides it wants to feel that day, week or month.
For example, laundry has to be done on weekends most of the time because, during the week, I work and type all day so by the end of each day my hands and wrists are tapped out. I have to do my hair the day before having to go anywhere. I can say the same about choosing what to wear the night before and sometimes I will lay outfits out for the week.
It was as if I was a stranger in my own body. The norm I once had and knew so well ultimately became foreign to me. Everything I knew and learned as I got older suddenly didn’t matter anymore because my body drastically changed without warning.
There’s no longer the automatic process of waking up, brushing my teeth, getting dressed and heading out the door to work or school. Not only does it take longer than it did in the past, but at times I have to adjust my position so that my arms don’t get too weak or so my body doesn’t give out on me.
Most everything is a conscious effort now rather than an unconscious or automatic routine. I took my health for granted, thinking the same thing many others thought. “It won’t happen to me” was my mindset during my healthy days and I wish I was able to cherish those days more Than I did.
It’s not all negative though. Being diagnosed with chronic conditions has taught me to be less judgmental of others. You never know what battles people are fighting and I’m happy to be aware of that in my life today. Just because you can’t physically see mine and others pain or weakness does not mean it doesn’t exist.
I’ve become more appreciative and grateful for things that others may consider minuscule. My chronic conditions taught me gratitude despite the challenges and obstacles I’m battling. I’m grateful for the battles I have to fight each day. I say that because every day I make it to work, take a walk or get a good night sleep means I’ve won that day and gives me strength and courage for the next day.
I’ll be the first to admit that I complain quite a bit whether it be fatigue, pain or feeling generally weak but things like writing this article helps reinforce the positive parts of living with a chronic condition.
Those of us who suffer from chronic conditions have enough negativity and/or barriers to deal with and overcome. Because of that, many of us are unable to see how our conditions positively influenced our lives and helped us become better people.
What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
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