Is it possible? To, you know, be grateful for being a chronic patient and having to deal with all the crap that comes with it? Like… being in pain most of the time, planning your doctors’ appointments rather than parties with your friends, having to watch what you eat, and never knowing what a day will bring. Of course the list goes on, but you get the picture, right?
Anyways, I’ve noticed this is a pretty “hot” and controversial topic among chronic patients. I too have often caught myself thinking: “Damn, I am actually grateful for all the shit I’ve been through.” It took me a while to realise that obviously I’m not grateful for the disease itself (hey, even I am not that kind of a martyr), but for the lessons I was able to learn. My life has definitely changed and, in a way, so have I. While I’m still the same old me in the very core, the way I perceive and see life has changed and so have my perspectives and priorities. And yeah, I’m grateful for this, because no matter how, umm, tough life might be sometimes, I appreciate the following lessons:
1. Things don’t make you happy
It seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Things are just things, yet so many people believe they will bring that ultimate feeling of happiness, fulfillness- peace of mind if you want to. So their only goal is to have things. And not only that, they also strive to do things that please others but not them. They go to certain schools, hang out with certain people, go to certain places, work certain jobs, etc,… only to… what exactly? Put more pressure on themselves? Because in reality- why care what others think? Owning and doing things doesn’t make you happy. Maybe only temporarily. After all, happiness is a state of mind, not a state of possession and position.
2. Looks are overrated
Don’t get me wrong, deep down I’m sure we all like to feel pretty. But then again, what’s pretty is pretty relative, aye? I’m also not saying that neglecting your personal hygiene is the way to go. However, I do wonder what real difference does our appearance make? I used to be obsessed with looks and wouldn’t leave the house without checking myself in the mirror, like, zillion of times. Then, during my biggest fight with disease, I completely lost interest and had rarely put any make up on… which was actually quite liberating, despite all the sorrow that surrounded me. I learned that if you feel fine this is all that matters. Life is this moment. It goes by quickly and can end any moment. So obsessing over looks in a way that you dont’t feel complete without looking like a picture perfect is just a waste of precious time. Well, I did manage to “restore” my love for make up and I’m glad about it, but I don’t feel the “pressure” of it anymore.
3. Food matters
I learned this the hard way. Damn, did I suffer. It hurts to even think about it, and I still haven’t completely recovered, or better said, forgiven some people. Once again, common sense proved to be the best medicine. There’s no such thing as super foods, shortcuts that would heal you and allow you to play games and be reckless with your dietary choices. There are only real, wholesome foods that will help you get and stay better. If they’re prepared with love and eaten in peace they will prove even more beneficial. So forget about fad diets, trends, pills and wonders. There is no such thing. Make that change, do it for your guts and your body will thank you.
4. Face your fears
Getting sick gave me a unique glimpse inside my mind. It brought me to the edge and I was in an unknown, very dark and very unpleasant place… yet I survived. Thanks to one simple trick- facing my own fears. Do you worry about what might happen? Think about it! Don’t ignore it. This just adds to frustration and frustration results in all the bad things… you end up fighting with yourself, your loved ones, and everyone else. You become bitter and miserable. So fuck this shit and simply face your fucking fears. Consider all the options. Play with all the scenarios. Do it and I promise it will be easier. The tension will begin to fade. I learned that the true strength lies within me and that this is enough.
5. You become stronger
According to the internet it was Bob Marley who said: “‘You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” He couldn’t be more on point! Disease changes your life. It shatters the world you used to know. You are left with two options: feeling sorry for yourself or fighting for yourself. If you choose the latter, you win. You become tougher. Or maybe less sensitive. Either way, your skin grow thick and this enriches your life.
6. Don’t take life or yourself too seriously.
Damn, the most valuable of all lessons. Life is too fucking short to live like you have a stick up your arse. And no, I’m not talking about yolo. This shit is overrated and stupid. Life is not a fucking competition. Bottom line is, we all die in the end so why rush it, why worry about what others think or act like the world is going to collapse if we make a mistake? If you’re able to learn something from it, and use this for improvement, then you win.