I spent the first 3 years of my illness in an uncertain place, with no diagnosis and a heavy load of symptoms. I was ill, but I wasn’t REALLY ill. I wondered why it seemed I had a harder time doing simple things than most people and I pushed myself incredibly hard to keep up with my peers. It never crossed my mind at the time, that I was in fact dealing with a chronic illness.
Now, after my life literally crumbling apart, I have seemed to wrap my head around the idea that I am unwell and I’m not expected to keep up with people my age who are deemed ‘normal’. I now finally feel like I am able to start to put the pieces of my life back together and reassemble a pathway for my future.
I feel sad for the earlier version of myself. She may have been in better physical health, but she was pushing herself way too hard and was overwhelmed by the prospect of being labelled chronically ill. She was putting her health in jeopardy in order to not be a failure and to succeed. If she had carried on she would have run herself into the ground (quite literally). If I could turn back time, I would tell her to stop and slow down. You don’t have to be the same as your peers and whatever you can do is good enough.
Do what you can and that’s okay. I still don’t have the answers to everything and some days are incredibly hard, but the most important change within myself is acceptance and I’m not afraid to need to put my health first. I know that I will never be able to do it all and so, I’ve relieved some pressure off myself. I no longer see my illness as a personal failure (apart from on the bad days) and even though I feel super lazy right now, I know I’m only able to do what I can and that’s not lazy. I’m still trying my best.
I will forever continue to do my best. I hope I become successful and proud of myself, but no matter what, it’s okay to set your own boundaries and put yourself and your needs first.