I think one of the hardest things about chronic illness is giving yourself permission to grieve the person you were. You lose a lot of things when you become chronically ill. You lose the energy that you used to have to do common every day things. You lose the feeling of what it was like NOT to be in pain every day. You lose the ability to get a good and restful nights sleep. You lose friends because they just don’t understand and they stop coming around after awhile. There are so many other losses, just fill in the blank with what you’ve lost.
It’s hard to let go of the life that you used to live. I know for a lot of us it’s difficult doing simple things like taking a shower without getting completely exhausted. We often don’t have the strength or energy to cook meals or to clean our home. Some of us with young children don’t have the energy to play with them like we used to.
If married, we also grieve the relationship that we used to have with our spouse. Instead of being romantic, our relationship sometimes turns into that of a patient and caretaker.
Some of the things that I grieve personally are: not having the energy to do everything I want to get done in a day, being able to drive somewhere without getting completely exhausted, being able to spend time doing fun things like minigolf or going for long walks, being able to have company over for more than three hours without having to lay down, being able to go grocery shopping, not feeling like I was a burden, being able to drive seven hours up to Maine to visit my family.
What are the things that you used to be able to do that you’re no longer able to do? How does that make you feel? Have you taken the time to grieve the things that you have lost because of your chronic illness?
Feel free to share this with anyone you know that could benefit from having some support and encouragement, and someone to come alongside them in this very unpredictable journey.
In spite of my illness,