HOW TO LIVE WELL WITH ILL HEALTH
I made the decision last month to not discuss the nitty gritty of my undiagnosed condition anymore. Whilst I was overwhelmed with the love and response to my initial post, the internet is still a place of unashamed judgement.
With something so very personal, I am just not prepared or strong enough, to read any opinions on my health. So for my state of mind I’ll be keeping the ins and outs to myself going forward. A decision of which I hope you’ll understand and appreciate.
That being said, I still want to keep the discussion of undiagnosed health conditions going. Sharing my experience has only opened my eyes to just how many of us are struggling day on day. And I think it’s so important that we all feel we can have a voice surrounding it.
So today I wanted to talk about how I try to live well, with ill health. The ‘top-tips’ if you will, of how I stay afloat whilst battling the unknown.
My quality of life has improved dramatically from simply learning to say no. It may sound trivial, but its been one of the more difficult cut backs. I’m a people pleaser and get the dreaded FOMO if I can’t make a particular engagement. But by cutting back on how much I do, I’ve been able to enjoy what I do do, so much more. (Shall we say ‘do’ one more time?)
For example: for every day that I have out of the house, I’ll aim for two in. It’s not always possible and sometimes my schedule won’t allow it. But when I can, I most certainly will; and it makes a massive difference to my energy levels.
It’s something I wish didn’t matter, but it definitely does. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure others are happy, but I’ve taken more time this year to focus on whether I am. I can’t keep up with partying, meeting up every week, or sometimes every month, and that’s meant I’ve lost a few friends along the way.
Until the negativity has gone away, it can sometimes be hard to see how much it’s hurting you. Surrounding myself with loving, caring people has seen a massive boost in my self-esteem around the whole situation. And has been invaluable for not only my physical health, but my mental health, too.
The people I do hold close don’t make me feel embarrassed. They offer me a safe space and that’s the way it should be.
The ones who love you, will respect what you need to be healthy. Anything less than that is a waste of your time.
Sometimes, the most I can do in a day is wake up.
I often find myself in pits of negativity. Where I’ll wake up knowing that today is more than likely a write off I wish I’d not woken up to. Dramatic? Perhaps. But it can be so very difficult to keep pushing on when your body physically wont let you.
I try and bring myself out of it by setting myself to-do lists. Be it mentally or physically writing it down – I’ll create little goals. As simple as it is, being able to say ‘I did that today’ helps lift my mood, even if it is just brushing my teeth.
Being poorly encourages a lot of my anxieties. I find having a little pouch in my handbag containing my necessities really helps to manage those unavoidable rises of panic.
It includes the medication that I can take for flare-ups. Along with Rescue Remedy pastilles, to help calm me down. Amongst those I always have a little packet of almonds or a banana – they’re two foods that are great for my tum and work well as a placebo for my peace of mind that I’m doing some good for my body.
Last but not least, my little archenemy, patience. I am the most impatient person I know and it really does take all I have to be patient with my body and myself.
But it’s a battle worth fighting.
I have days where I get angry at myself. Where I’ll want to kick and scream (and sometimes actually do) at the fact I’m not living up to the expectations I set for myself. But the more I practice patience with myself, the less those episodes become, and ultimately, the quicker I heal.
My body is not the enemy. In fact she’s working damn hard to be my everything.
The least I can do is give her a little time.
That’s all for now.
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHWETA SHUKLA