Anyone that lives with a major illness or has known a family member who has suffered or continues to suffer from major disease or illness understands the effects it has on not only the individual, but on family and friends as well. For the person suffering, learning how to cope with the condition and realize life doesn’t come to a stop regardless of how severe the circumstances are is very important. No matter how bleak the outlook may seem, people who stay positive and never give up should be commended for having massive amounts of courage. Through this series, I will share with you that accepting defeat is not an option. These five steps that have helped me stay strong through the course of my disease and I hope will help others going through difficult times as well.
Find your higher power — This is absolutely the most critical step. Regardless of your religion, beliefs, or spirituality, having a higher power to help guide you on the right path is essential. For me, I had just entered into a personal relationship with God when I was diagnosed with a lung disease called Bronchiolitis Obliterans. Without question, I could have dipped into a serious depression and quite literally given up, but God has been there every step of the way for me. Spending a lot of time in prayer, I realized that I was given this condition for a reason, far beyond my own comprehension, and only God knows the answers. Reaching this revelation, I’ve been able to look foward to what the future may bring and wonder what He has in store for me next. (Seems He has led me to Blogging!) Which leads me to my next step:
Look Beyond the Self Defeating Question - This has been one of the toughest steps for me. Everyone who gets sick wants this universal question answered: Why Me? Nobody on Earth has the power to change the past, so why dwell on it? Regardless if you think your situation could have prevented or not, blaming someone is not going to make things any better. The important thing to accomplish now is figuring out what you CAN do. I may be limited to a chair most the day, however, now that I’ve found Blogging, an interest of mine that I had neglected my entire adult life has been renewed: Writing. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but when I was active and healthy I never felt I had enough “time” to do it. Now, time is a great ally of mine. Being limited may have slowed my body down, but my mind is still active and curious. The passion I’m pouring into my writing is my version of self-therapy. Finding YOUR hidden or long-lost talent and embracing it will help you move past depression and improve your quality of life immensely.
Truly Appreciate Waking Up Every Morning — This might not seem important to everyone, but for those who are sick, this step is an unbelievable feeling. When I wake up in the morning, I thank God He allowed me to have another day in His Kingdom on Earth. Having the chance to spend another day with those I love most is an indescribable feeling. Blogging has provided me an opportunity to put this step into motion. My goal is to connect to as many people as possible so that just maybe, my words will resonate to someone who needs that glimmer of hope from someone dealing with a similar situation. Inspiring someone that may be going to bed every night in a cloud of unmeasurable peril is my incentive to continue writing and touch the lives of those who need it most.
Surround Yourself with Positive People — I can’t tell you how important my support structure has been through this whole ordeal. Having the right people around that provide encouragement and increase my morale has been incredible. My wife, family, friends, church, and many others have contributed time, energy, and love into my life that has kept me positive through all the turmoil. Even doctors of mine ask, “How do you stay so positive?” My answer is always the same: “I have so many wonderful things to live for!” If negativity even has an slight opening to creep in, it will consume you and quite possibly can make the difference between living and dying.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help — Understanding that limitations exist in your life does not make you weak! It’s not worth further injuring yourself because of pride or stubbornness. This step ties in with having a great support system in place, which allows the opportunity to ask your support system for help in times of need. Unknowingly, you always pay them back; It may be a subtle gesture or a simple “thank you,“but this sign of appreciation shows just how meaningful their act of kindness truly was. With that, continuing to perform tasks that are reasonable and within your means, provides a feeling of independence and self-worth. To someone suffering, these feelings are immeasurable.
Thank you for reading Part 1 of my new Blog series Living Life With a Major Illness. My goal is to inform and inspire my readers to share these articles with anyone suffering and looking for guidance from someone who understands. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I feel this series will be inspiration not only for my readers, but for myself as well. Please subscribe to my Blog by signing up on the Home Page to receive email updates on when to expect my next article in this series and many other things I have in work.
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