There are times when as people with chronic illnesses, we just feel a little more sick than usual and it is those times when finding the good in every moment can be harder.
I have been chatting about this recently, but since I had covid in November, I have felt so much worse everything just feels flared up. Fatigue, pain, headaches, vertigo… even my inner ears are itchy! My body just doesn’t feel mine and it can be easy when it is like this to just feel down and to let your depression take over.
However, we still need to live, and I am stubborn I refuse to let how my body feels keep me down for long. This level of pain and fatigue etc might just be my normal now and if it is I need to try and get used to it and move forward with a good attitude.
I have battled chronic depression since I was fourteen years old, it is something that is always there ready to rear it’s head and steal my joy. So, I learned to fight it ever day and to do all I could to keep finding happiness because my twenties especially were not happy at all.
Especially when I first became sick, I had to move back to my parents home, I had no money, I had just spent three years training to be a nurse and yet now I couldn’t do the job. My confidence was shot and I was completely lost, every day was spent trapped in this cloud of despair with nobody really understanding how much I was struggling.
Making the decision to fight was not an easy one to make, but the things I changed then have made my life so much better. It isn’t just that my brain is a much nicer place to be, but that those habits have made being me at the moment a much nicer time.
Struggling with flared or new symptoms is difficult, not just because you feel worse, but also because you don’t know if it is going to go back to how it was, or stay like that. The uncertainty brings back a lot of old emotions from when you first became sick. Once again you find yourself grieving and unsure of how things will be from now on.
This uncertainty can often be a bigger issue than the new or worsened symptoms because you do not know how to adjust if you don’t know what your normal will now be. It can also be hard for the people around you, who may react in surprising ways that could either help or make everything worse!
From talking to people in the chronic illness community, I know that I am not alone in any of this, it is something so many of us deal with. So, I thought I would share the ways I have been finding the good in every moment.
FINDING THE GOOD IN EVERY MOMENT
- Mindfulness – It is the title of the blog because it is the foundation of my life, ever since I started practicing this my life changed. I stopped being ruled by the lies my brain told me, and instead I started seeing the truth. I also built better relationships with people around me, and started to see what was good in my life. Mindfulness has been a huge game changer in my life and is why I talk about it so much, it is not easy but so worth the effort.
- Gratitude – Having gratitude for what I have, what and who is in my life and yes even for pain and fatigue had helped me immeasurably. I cannot tell you how much money and time I used to waste trying to be what I used to be or copying other people. By having gratitude and appreciating what life can teach me I have changed a lot and only for the better. Gratitude is a beautiful practice where I can just sit at any moment, look around me and state things I am grateful for. It helps my mental health as well as stopping me from getting lost in what ifs and maybes that are a slippery slope to negative thoughts and depression for me.
- Taking time – I think too often in our society we feel the need to rush and push through life as if it is a race. Taking time to enjoy things is something we seem to be put down for and I think that is so wrong and why so many of us have mental health issues. So, stop rushing! Sit down and have a cup of tea, go for a walk or do a meditation, get out in nature or whatever it is that is possible for you. Stop rushing and overloading your time, life is short so relish every single moment enjoy your life. The moment I stopped trying to do ten things at once and instead just enjoyed each task I found life just became better, so give it a try!
- No judgement – This one is hard! Judgement, looking at things we do and not judging it might just be the thing that is hardest. Too often I look at something I made or a task I have done and I judge it like I am Simon Cowell on a bad day! However, letting go of judging tasks I do has been something has changed my enjoyment of life so much. Try it next time you do a task, look at it and try not to have negative thoughts, its so difficult! But learning not to judge has also helped me not to judge my body for being in pain, or not looking how society wants it to look… so it is a very important skill to have!
Yes, it is hard to feel sad when you are sitting having a slow cup of tea in the garden, while mindfully thinking of five things you are grateful for without judging what is around you! Of course, it takes practice and dedication, but our minds can change, we can make new habits so why not try?
These foundations, if practiced daily, will make finding the good in every moment easier. It doesn’t mean you will never get sad again or that mental or physical illness is cured, just that they helped me be genuinely happy no matter what and they might help you too.
Thank you xx