The Ups and Downs of Chronic Illness

When you live with chronic illness, some days are just harder to get through than others.  The ups and downs are like a never ending rollercoaster of pain and emotions.  These make living with chronic illness difficult and the lack of understanding amongst family, friends, co-workers and even strangers is a bitter pill to swallow. You often have to explain the physical and emotional aspects of your illness and often, it seems impossible to define the obstacles you face daily.

At times, you feel isolated and uncertain and you may feel hesitant to seek support. On days like these, it is important to remember you are not alone.  There are people all over the world – even down the street – who are facing the same challenges you are.   These people have their share of bad days and they understand your frustrations, fears and concerns.

Everyone has good days and bad ones.  The good days are the days where you pain levels are controlled and you feel rested, productive and in charge of your body. The bad ones involve increased pain, fatigue, lack of focus, the inability to get things done, and feeling defined and controlled by your disease.

While all the days cannot be good ones, the goal is to have more good ones than bad ones.  You can plan ahead and do all the right things – eat right, take you medications, rest, etc. – but the disease can still take over.  Your symptoms flare up and you are just too tired and in too much pain to do anything.  This happens from time to time.  It is just part of living with chronic illness.  Unfortunately, you cannot ever predict how many good days you will have and when they will show up. And if you overwork yourself or overdo things, the good days don’t seem to last.

Chronic illness is unpredictable.  There is not much you can do except concede that there are ups and downs and good days and bad days.  You must learn to adjust and adapt to the moments when your disease brings you down.  And remember, just because chronic illness is part of your life, it doesn’t define you and you can be flexible in managing the ups and downs and have more good days than bad.

Read more about managing the ups and downs of chronic illness at http://www.arthritisconnect.com/arthritis-articles/361-3-ways-to-develop-resilience-to-chronic-illness-stressors

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