There is no question that chronic illnesses change lives in ways we wish it didn’t. Choosing to embrace an imperfect life can help you face challenges and lead a happy, meaningful, and fulfilled life.
Here are five steps to embracing an imperfect life with chronic illness:
1. Feel your anger and grief
Living with chronic illness for a number of years, my greatest struggle has been grief toward my illnesses. In particular, anger at myself for being sick, at unhelpful loved ones I would have been there for, at a demanding life that seems more reasonable and accommodating for others who are healthy, and at life for changing beyond my control.
I now understand that my life will never be the same, and that’s not a bad thing. I am happier than I was prior to my diagnoses due to being proactive and responsible for my own health and well-being.
Give yourself permission to feel angry about feeling ill, and make the effort to quickly move through the five stages of grief. You need to mourn your old life to achieve closure. Remember, everyone grieves differently, and there is no correct way to express pain and sorrow toward your new life. The key is to not let emotions take on a life of their own.