After six years of being seriously ill in early 2011, I spent three months offline and out of my office recovering from extensive surgery. Truth be told, it was life-saving, life-changing surgery. And that made it non-negotiable.
Non-negotiable was often the only way self-care got done. I didn’t have the best track record for self-care, or for stopping to smell the proverbial flowers. Like many women entrepreneurs who have too much to do and too many people depending on them, given a choice I’d run the engine until the service light came on.
But becoming chronically ill forced me to acknowledge that, despite having a business, managing my health had become my full time job.
I had to let go of the belief that I wasn’t working hard enough or that it was somehow my fault that my business wasn’t more successful. I was viewing my life through an old lens and it became imperative for me to reframe how I was choosing to see things.
When it comes to living with chronic illness and pain, life can be hard. We need inspiration to soften that hardness, but we also need space and freedom to be vulnerable about what is hard.
There is definitely a connection between our thoughts and how that affects our bodies because when we look at the whole of being human, we are after all, energy.
And that’s where how we deal with both the positive and negative experiences life brings to us comes in to play so profoundly.
But, it’s never about blame — blame is as dangerous and useless as guilt. There is no fault. Only discovery, centering, challenging beliefs and modifying our focus.
I’ve seen truly amazing people who’ve risen above what others can only imagine with a sense of grace, belief and always, hope. Maintaining equilibrium in the face of a life that ebbs and flows is so much better than telling people if they will it hard enough, or follow these three steps, it will come to be.
How you work with and around your problems defines you as a person. Not what happens to you, but how you choose to deal with it.
I used to think that meant being stoic and positive all the time. Now I realize that to do this is only allowing myself to be partly human. In order to be fully human, I need to experience both the positive and negative feelings that come with any experience.
Not wallow in these negative experiences, but simply allow them the space to “be.”
How many of you who are dealing with chronic illness and/or chronic pain are running a business at the same time?
What are your biggest challenges – from yourself and the world around you?
What do you wish people knew about what your life is like on a day-to-day basis?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section and let’s get a conversation going.
3 thoughts on “Navigating Life With a Chronic Illness (or Two)”
Sometimes, like today I fell defeated. Constant pain is hard enough but bouts of pain so intense pain medication does not touch brings me to the edge. This b is when I should be on the phone with doctors but can’t bring myself to. Other times I am so happy the pain is manageable, I just want to get out in the garden, be with family and get as much good as possible. The phone calls never get made. I am broken.
Kathy, I am so sorry you’re feeling defeated. I really do understand what a toll constant pain takes on you both physically and psychologically. I wish there was something I could say to make you feel less broken, but please remember – broken crayons still color, and make beautiful art. Sending you hugs and my support ❤
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My biggest challenge is that when I feel well, I have exciting ideas I begin to implement. The symptoms of my disorders tend to ebb and flow in an unpredictable fashion, however, so I often don’t finish what I set out to do. Because I tend to “hibernate” when I’m not feeling well, people only see me at my best. They tell me I appear to be smart, hardworking, and caring, so it’s difficult for them to understand why I’m unable to live up to the potential they perceive. It’s scary for me to open up to people about how inconsistent my level of functioning is. I wish I could be more honest about my situation without fearing they’ll think I’m lazy or untrustworthy. Inconsistency is as frustrating for me as it is for my employer and clients.
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