One day, I was talking to a friend when I was in the hospital. This friend didn’t know anything about the nature of my illness, that it’s chronic and something I’ll most likely be stuck with. They asked me “how do you feel about your illness? Are you staying optimistic about getting better?”. Considering I’m a pretty positive person, the look of shock on their face was priceless when I answered “no”.
I have a good reason for answering no. It’s simple. My illness is chronic. It’s a fact. Miracles do happen but, chances are, I won’t wake up someday and be 100% healthy. Once you start down the road of chronic illness, despite the fact you had absolutely no say in the matter, there’s no going back. Doctors will offer you medications to ease you symptoms and maybe help you achieve remission but your illness will always be looming in the shadows. But I’m not being pessimistic by acknowledging that.
Rather than sitting here waiting everyday for the day I miraculously get better, I’m choosing to find a new normal. Instead of putting my life on hold, I’m moving forward. Perhaps in a different direction than I has previously planned but I’ve made peace with that. Instead of waiting for my life to go back to what it was before I got sick, I’m making a new life for myself.
I have days where I struggle with my illness and sometimes wish my life would go back to the way it was before. I have days where my illness feels like an anchor weighing me down. Everybody has those days. What’s important is waking up every morning and taking baby steps to make my life the best it can be. Waking up with the goal of putting my heart and soul into whatever I set my mind to.
Instead of waiting around with a balloon of hope, I’m bursting the balloon and coming back down to earth. Instead of waiting to get better, I’m taking things one day at a time. Instead of feeling resentful towards my illness and my current situation, I’m making peace with it and inviting it along for the journey.
I hope for a lot of things. I hope to be the best person I can be. I hope to make a difference in the world. I hope to accomplish all my goals, big and small. I hope to raise awareness for invisible illnesses and the struggles we face everyday. I hope to continue to have the strength to weather through this storm. But I don’t hope to get better.