Perspective has a way of shifting when your life gets turned upside down by illness. It’s impossible to go through hard things without it affecting you in some way. Whether that be in the form of challenging you, breaking you, or taking away your abilities and a life you once lived.
This month I asked several of the bloggers from my Chronic Illness Bloggers network if they would share some of their honest thoughts on perspective. How it has shifted in illness and what that looks like in the lives they fight to live.
I was moved by their responses and am sure many of you will be as well. Every word and unique perspective is valid and authentically theirs. And it’s a reminder that though we may not be on the same page, viewing life through the same lens – we all have a common thread.
We’re all reaching for a way to survive.
I once led a fast paced lifestyle running through life without really living it. I was too busy with school, work, and friends to appreciate all the small gifts of life.
When I developed a chronic illness six years ago, a dramatic shift occurred in me mentally, emotionally and physically. I was no longer able to speed through my days and instead was forced to sit alone with my thoughts. I turned to meditation to help me get through the loneliness. As a result, it changed my perspective on life.
I learned that rushing through my days was not a fulfilling way to live. Instead, I needed to be more aware of the life that was around me and appreciate all things large and small. By being present, I now notice small moments in life and gain much strength from the beauty within nature.
In my times of silence, I learned that I am not invincible and my life can be taken at any moment. This has reminded me to be grateful for every breath, every sunrise, and every sunset. I have become a firm believer in showing gratitude for all things because life is fragile.
By changing my perspective on life, I have become a more positive person. I am centered and happy because each decision I make now comes from a place of love. It saddens me that I rushed through the first twenty one years of my life and didn’t truly appreciate all the gifts life gave me.
When you’re given 3 weeks to live and you don’t know if every daily sharp pain is your last, your perspective has to change. While all the flowery quotes and the transformation into a new appreciative version of you ring true, the reality is, your own mortality stares you in the face everyday.
I was a person who felt invincible. Never feeling insecure about my stability or future. Ruled by ambition, I worked a lifetime in 15 years. Literally living a compressed life, I now have the physical health & perspective of a 60 year-old in my 30’s. Facing everyday like it’s the last.
Even five years later, mortality becomes ingrained in your every move. Every time you reach for bottles of meds, eat a meal, take a step. Chronic Illness and its not-so-subtle reminders, drastically change all your choices. It’s that daily shadow you just can’t shake.
So bullshit conversations are no more. The phrase “I don’t have time” becomes true to life. Anyone not beneficial to leaving that legacy you were brought to this earth to leave, becomes inconsequential. You problem solve and slash & cut through doubters, unsupportive family, lovers and draining relationships like a navy seal with a machete in the jungle.
Nothing is worth dragging out. You must streamline all things, and move with the focus and tactical efficiency of a sniper.
So one poignant & powerful little word leads the charge as the new ruling force of your life.
Because you literally don’t have time….for anything else.
Despite the plethora of struggles that accompany being chronically ill, housebound, and feeling inexplicably miserable most days, I am happier today than I’ve ever been. I am beyond grateful for the blessings that surround me.
Perhaps this may seem odd or even a bit twisted to some, especially to those who truly “get” the dark, painful, and isolating side of living with chronic Lyme disease, or chronic illness in general.
Learning to cope and live with these debilitating diseases that have consumed my body and enveloped my world has been undeniably trying. At times completely overwhelming, with a fear of no positive end in sight. However, through growth and acceptance of my path – this fight for wellness – my faith has strengthened. And for this, I’m truly thankful.
I try to keep focus on a future filled with boundless energy – feeling healthy and strong. Doing my best to learn from these current health challenges and trials. Constantly reminding myself to be grateful for this life I’ve been given. Sincerely appreciating all of the simple pleasures along my journey – taking nothing for granted.
The years of battling illness, to some degree, have provided me an enlightened sense. Realizing that sweating the small stuff and worrying about what may be out of my control, is a complete and absurd waste of precious time while on this planet. Perhaps I’m even a little less OCD! Bottom line, I am learning to “let go and let God.”
Whether you are a believer or not, my wish for you is as follows: I hope you are able to embrace ALL the good surrounding you, giving thanks along the way. Life is precious and full of blessings. It’s all in one’s perspective.
How about you? How has chronic illness or hardship changed your perspective?