Mastering Your Chronic Illness
Having a chronic illness can seem all-consuming. The danger is that, and it probably does, it can take over your life. Permeating every aspect of your life. So, how do you prevent this from happening?
The key is that you must become the Master of your chronic illness.
How MS impacted me when I was diagnosed
In my life, I have had many setbacks, and when I was diagnosed with MS it was a major blow. My life was spiralling out of control. My relationship broke up, I had to leave my promising job in the City of London, and I had to return home. Everything that I had studied for, worked for, was gone. My life was being dictated to by this chronic illness. Walking was a problem, writing became difficult, and I was tired all the time. Fatigue stole my energy.
So how did I change this? It took work, perseverance and a ruthless determination not to let MS beat me. At that time the Internet was just about to start. So I didn’t have this huge resource of information to learn about MS. I resorted to books. I read and read, and eventually knew enough for me to understand what my illness was, and its possible progression.
Becoming the Master of chronic illness
Now I could plan my life. I had become the master of my illness. Even though I knew my MS could become worse and could alter aspects of my life (mobility, sensation, fatigue), I was in control. I would be able to plan. Be proactive. The future wouldn’t be such a shock.
This is the key principle of living with a chronic illness. Control. You absolutely should know what you have the possibility of controlling. For your mental health, and to gain something positive from this relationship with sickness. based on this, you will be able to do something of good in your life. It will be difficult. You will have obstacles, and you will have to reassess your assumptions (as inevitably the goal posts will move), but now you are combatting your illness from a position of strength.
I have applied this to my life many times and will continue to apply this principle. It has become part of who I am, and I am doing it almost unconsciously. As a result, I can remain positive in the face of adversity. I am sick, that will not change.
In conclusion, I am again going through a change in my illness, and I am in the process of doing a re-assessment. This blog is part of my process of gaining control again. Chronic headaches (caused by whiplash) and MS did become my Master for a while. I am now the Master again!!
I would like to know if you have experienced this, and how did you manage to master your chronic condition? Let me know in the comments below.