Living with a chronic illness is hard. Living well with a chronic illness is even harder. It takes mental and emotional strength. Courage and resilience. A sense of humor. Hope. A positive attitude. Adaptability. Faith helps. So do emotional support and community. And a reason for being.
I think people who live well with chronic illness ought to be celebrated like Olympic athletes. Their unsung accomplishments are remarkable.
Think of it: Beginning each day anew requires grit, determination, and perseverance to push through pain, illness, limitations, depression, bodies that don’t work well, brain fog, disappointment, or depression. Then, the next day they do it all over again.
It takes remarkable courage, as well, to keep moving toward an uncertain future whose only certainty is that things may get worse. It takes perseverance to devise new ways to do what we did before and can no longer do in the same way. It takes a sense of humor to laugh at ourselves and the ridiculous and to lighten the load.
In addition to all that, it takes emotional strength to let go of what we have lost and move beyond our grief, and wisdom to know the proper balance between telling others our struggles and keeping them to ourselves.
Those with chronic illness demonstrate unseen strength and courage, silently doing things every day that others neither see nor imagine. And those who do this with graciousness, kindness, and good humor are even more remarkable. There ought to be awards given to such people.
With that said, if you have a chronic condition or long-term illness, claim the strength, courage, adaptability, and resilience that gets you through and makes joy possible. These are superpowers. When you fall as you will, remember that this has happened before, and you got back up. You can, again. You’re a survivor and a role model.
Lastly, if you know someone who lives with a chronic condition, notice the silent challenges and accomplishments of their everyday life; their strength, courage, adaptability, and perseverance. Be inspired by the model of their life and tell them so. Be grateful to know such people. Those who live well with a chronic illness are a gift to this generation and those to come.