Re-Defining Yourself When You Have Chronic Illness

New you

It has been almost a year since the last time I wrote something to post. While I’ve been away, I have lived through a new diagnosis and improvement of older illnesses. On top of that, there has been the Covid_19 situation around the world that has brought new opportunities and fears to those who are mostly at home due to chronic illness. Let’s look at some of the fears I had during the covid_19 period and the opportunities that emerged.

I was afraid that: If I got a flare-up, I would not be able to go to hospital because the only well-equipped hospitals with specialists are in the capital, and yet there was no inter-county travel allowed. Also, that my family would contract the infection (this fear has continued, but I now understand that there are measures to take that can limit chances of infection, which has helped me have less anxiety).

Opportunities: The influx of patients led to the hospitals launching online patient care that allowed the chronically ill to have their appointments on Zoom, which was fantastic! I did not have to travel all the way to hospital for every issue. The world also opened up to new ideas of impersonal meetings and remote working, which created more opportunities for those who cannot leave the house(often).

Through all of it, I emerged with a lesson that my psychologist helped me arrive to, and that is; that it is important to identify which circumstances you cannot change, then re-define yourself to allow room for the different existence. This was the window that allowed me to begin a new life. Strangely, my health got better during the Covid_19 outbreak and so far I’ve managed to avoid infection (luck ;)).

But how do you redefine yourself amidst so much pain, disappointment and even depression? There is no easy way to do this, and it remains a daily activity even for me. Here are some of the steps I followed on my journey:

  1. It requires you to view your life’s circumstances and clearly put down/ write, things that positively affect your life, and those that affect it negatively.
  2. Realise what you can change, and what you cannot change.
  3. Try and figure out how to change the list of things that you have power to change.
  4. Take time to consider how you can make room in your life for the circumstances you have no power over, and how to place your dreams into this new life model. Dreams can remain the same, but we must sometimes modify them to accommodate life’s circumstances.

I am now working as a volunteer with some friends who help the under-privileged children in my country, and I also managed to start an organisation that aims to educate adolescents on reproductive health matters. So far, these projects are both seeds, but I hope that in the long-run they will grow to change the lives of young people.

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