Do you remember how you felt as you were waiting for and finally receiving your diagnosis? Maybe you felt fear or anxiety. Perhaps you felt anger or relief. It was probably a bit of a roller coaster ride. Your private roller coaster ride regardless of whether you like roller coasters or not.
Chances are, as you navigate your life with a chronic illness, the roller coaster ride continues. Since being diagnosed, getting a treatment plan, and navigating the day-to-day, I have had some of the steepest climbs and drops on this crazy life shared with a chronic illness. Are you surprised by this?
The dynamic nature of the ride, how it banks and rises, to suddenly drop after teetering for just a moment at the top is in direct correlation to how I respond to my illness.
When it is in check, it's easy to ignore it or even deny it affects me. When it is flaring, it is easy to get lost in how many facets of my life are impacted by this thing that I didn't ask for to be in my life. When I reach this stage, anger may kick in, fear may hold my hand, and shame may taint everything I see or do.
These emotions are so powerful that they can directly impact how I recover. There are other powerful emotions which can directly impact my illness as well. Those emotions include joy, gratitude, interest, and hope.
Finding positive emotions helps me stay on the upside of this ride while also helping me to step beyond my illness and into new things. I make a point of finding joy in simple things while practicing gratitude. I do things that capture my interest, whether that is a hobby I had given up due to how my illness affected me or something new to try. I must confess, getting back to an old hobby, no matter what it is, has been a huge benefit in helping me when it feels like we might be headed downhill again.
How you experience this ride is up to you, but I'd recommend enjoying the views from the top of the ride!