Sufferers of chronic illness and pain have to struggle daily with physical challenges and the emotional roller coaster that typically occurs. As mentioned in an earlier post, being diagnosed with a non-curable yet non-terminal disease patients experience the same progression when mourning the death of a loved one. The truth is, we are mourning the loss of our previous life. We do not want to accept that there are things we will never be able to do again. We become angry, attempt denial by doing things we shouldn’t and become depressed when unsuccessful.
If still stuck in one of these phases, you can reach acceptance. Allowing yourself to grieve that you have a chronic illness is normal. But to live fully, you need to reach the final stage of acceptance. This frees you to explore new ways to live your life. The pain and limitations will not go away but they become less of a priority in life when you begin to set realistic goals and allow yourself to dream. You can live joyfully and with a sense of purpose.
Here is an example of an amazing young man who I read about yesterday (May 17, 2012) in the Waco Tribune-Herald. Graduating from high school this month and beginning college in the fall, Zach is a resident of Clifton, Texas. He is an all around athlete playing baseball, football, and basketball. Zach snow skis expert slopes and shoots a crossbow. He was in the marching band and is salutatorian. He plans to study engineering at University of Nebraska. Do you think Zach is just another over-achieving teen with over-bearing parents? Perhaps, except when you learn that Zach has most of all four limbs missing. Zach’s parents said they tried not to shelter their son and saw early in Zach’s life that if he wanted to do something, he would go after it.
I do not believe any of Zach’s achievements came easy but clearly he is not a quitter. Zach achieved acceptance of his physical condition early in life. Your dreams may seem unattainable but when you think your illness keeps you from living the life you want, remember Zach and move to the stage of acceptance. The world of possibilities available is amazing.
Specializing in life coaching people with chronic illness and pain, I offer a free, no obligation, exploration session for sufferers and/or family members. For more information or questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.