Health and wellness touch each of us differently. This is one person’s story.
It can seem impossible to get the support you need when dealing with a chronic illnesses.
I went through most of my life feeling isolated, lonely, and angry.
My reaction to my illness and life left me stressed, which triggered flares of my autoimmune disease.
Several years ago, I decided that instead of feeling destroyed by chronic illness, I would seek to feel fulfilled. Quotes, mottos, and mantras played a huge role in this transformation.
I needed constant reminders to help me accept my reality and practice gratitude.
I put signs on my walls and mirrors and filled them with words that helped to pull me out of the mindset I had been in for my entire life.
Here are eight of my favorites:“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.” — Rita Schiano
While it can be difficult not to focus on the physical pain and exhaustion, there’s only so much to say about it before it creates unnecessary suffering. It’s still important to talk about flares and feeling extra sick, but it’s even more important to stop. I’ve said what I need to say, it serves me more to focus on the good.
“The grass is greener where you water it.” — Neil Barringham
Comparison made me feel extremely isolated. This quote has helped me to remember that everyone has problems, even those whose grass seems greener. It is useless to long for someone else’s lawn, but I can tend to my own.
“Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.” — Unknown
On bad days, days that I dread from the moment I wake up, I try to push myself to find at least one good thing. And there is always something good. Most of the time, we’re too distracted to see it. Taking notice of the little things that make your life worth living can be life-changing.
“My path may be different, but I am not lost” — Unknown
This helps me get out of the comparison game. I’ve had to go about doing certain things differently than most people for a long time, like graduating college a full year late.
At times, I felt inadequate in comparison to my peers, but I realized that I’m not on their path, I’m on mine.
One of the happiest moments in life may be when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.” — Unknown
Accepting that my illness is not going away (lupus currently doesn’t have a cure) was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do.
I felt overwhelmed, like I had absolutely no control of my life when I thought about what my diagnoses would mean for my future. Having the courage to let go of the false sense of control is vital.
All we can do to be at peace in the face of an incurable illness is to let it be and know that it is not in our control.
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” — John Lennon
This is one of my favorite quotes because it offers so much hope. There have been so many times that the pain seemed like it would never get better. Making it to the next day felt impossible.
But it wasn’t the end, and I have always, always made it through.
“You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.” — Unknown
This quote has always encouraged me to recognize my own strength. It helped me to believe in myself and see myself as a ‘strong’ person, and not the person I told myself I was because of my chronic illnesses.
“I’ve seen better days, but I’ve also seen worse. I don’t have everything that I want, but I do have all I need. I woke up with some aches and pains, but I woke up. My life may not be perfect, but I am blessed.” — Unknown
One of the most valuable coping skills I use when I’m having a bad day is finding appreciation for the smallest things. I love this quote because it reminds me not to take anything for granted, even simply waking up in the morning.
From childhood to adulthood, I harbored resentment toward my body for not cooperating with the life I wanted to live.
I wanted to be on the playground, not sick in bed. I wanted to be at the fair with my friends, not home with pneumonia. I wanted to be excelling in my college courses, not frequenting hospitals for testing and treatment.
I tried to open up about these feelings to my friends and family over the years, even being honest about feeling envious of their good health. Having them tell me that they understood made me feel slightly better, but that relief was short-lived.
Each new infection missed event, and hospital visit brought me back to feeling so incredibly alone.
I needed someone who could constantly remind me that it was okay that my health is messy, and that I can still live fully despite it. It took a while for me to find her, but I finally know now that someone is me.
Facing the anger, jealousy, and sadness to find healing in the words of other—without needing anyone else to say them—has changed me.
Choose gratitude, let go of the life your illness may have taken from you, find ways to live a similar life in a way that’s acceptable to you. Show compassion for yourself, and know that at the end of the day, everything is going to be okay.
We cannot change our illnesses, but we can change our mindsets.
Dena Angela shares her personal journey on social media in hopes of raising awareness and lessening isolation for individuals living with chronic physical and mental illnesses. Dena has systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. This article was originally published on Healthline.com