Thursday, 5 November 2015

Hope is something we are told to never give up on...

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The word hope, does not always appear with ease to the surface of the mind in someone who suffers with a chronic illness. The adversity we may face in life has the ability to make us feel more than overwhelmed, negative and at a loss. What hope? Becomes something we question every time we hit that new low, the low we didn't think was actually possible in comparison to the previous occasion. When we are in a bad place with our health, which categorically seems to be on a daily or weekly extent, the last resort we tend to look towards, is hope.

If anything, life can feel particularly hopeless. Yet deep down, we acknowledge that it is possibly the most beneficial place we need to reach in order to get us through constant, difficult circumstances day in, day out. Throughout being chronically ill since a young teen, I have often have felt like hope is tinged with a pinch of fear, sadness and concern. I know what I hope for in life, however sometimes chronic illness can make it seem like those things will be impossible. That living this way, with a chronic disabling illness will never equivalent to the life I had envisioned for myself. A life that many around me will possibly go on to have because ill health is not standing in their way. Will I ever truly mend my broken self if my pain will never be 'fixed'? Will I ever get the life of my dreams? Will I ever feel close to normal? Will I be able to build the simplest form of a social life that has been non existent for so many years? Will I find love? These emotions are something I try to consistently overcome every single day, as I'm sure many others will chronic illness also face. Reflective thoughts on life with chronic illness are strong, powerful and sometimes, it's easier to take the negative route to save yourself the heartache or possibility of 'what if'.

More often than not, I need a good reminder of where to find hope in parts of my life with chronic illness. I can feel lifeless, distant and petrified of my reality that I feel like I have failed to make the most of my current situation. All I see is the goal of where I wish to be in life. Pain is so consuming to the point where you feel like you merely exist. I decided I would compile a list of hope for when I need to look in places that might be dismissed in everyday life. 

So, how can we find hope within chronic illness of any form whether that be because of chronic pain, disability, depression or anxiety? Hope is something we are told to never give up on yet can be one the hardest paths to stumble upon without stepping off the track.

1. Hope is remembering the aspects of life that make you feel human. The ignited feelings of joy, love, warmth, excitement and gratitude. The moments in life that remind you what it's like to feel something other than the consuming feeling of your illness. There is nothing better than feeling yourself genuinely smile, when you feel like you've long forgotten how to do so. Along with dosage of fear, hope lies in the thought of reaching and attaining your life goals, ambitions and dreams. 

2. Hope is found in the strength at the end of a day from hell. A day where you felt like giving up multiple times, but didn't. A day where you couldn't think straight, but kept it together. A day where you felt like you were crumbling in despair because of your incurable illness. Hope is acknowledging that today, wasn't as bad as yesterday. 

3. Hope comes in the form of finding passion in your life. A difficult one in chronic illness which usually leaves an individual in turmoil over what they can achieve with relative ease. I have started to scale back to simplicity to build upon finding passion. Whether that be working towards a goal, your family, your love life, your hobbies. There are so many things that can bring us little aspects of hope that we don't give enough credit to. It's the simple things that can make us feel a genuine happiness inside and although during the darker days, these occasions may seem slim to none, you can eventually be proved that these moments can exist as long as you give them credit. It's those aspects you need to cling on to, to get you through. If it happens once, it always has the possibility of happening again. 

4. Hope comes in people who are willing to listen to you, be there, offer a helping hand and to let you know that you are not alone in your battle. Hope comes in the form of feeling support from communication. There is hope lying in the ability to relate to others in similar situations, in realising you are truly not the only person who feels this way. Hope can be found in physical presence, such as being hugged or putting your hand over your beating heart. 

5. When any illness or disability tells you that you become a medical term that has been forced upon you, you need to remember that this is incorrect. You are not purely your diagnosis. You are an individual character with a purpose, with so many attributes that others can see about you other than the thoughts that consume your mind and daily existence. You are a daughter, son, mother, father, sister, brother, friend. There are so many aspects of your character that are still within you, still attainable, still hopeful and incredibly personal to you. Never doubt your existence, never doubt your importance and never doubt your abilities to overcome any challenge that life throws at you because illness will always try to do that to you.

6. It seems very cliché, however every new morning gives us the possibility of a new start and potential change in our everyday lives. One day this may consist of taking back some control, re-finding our feet and slowly starting to loosen the chains that health grips us with every single day. A battle with many forms of different illnesses is never going to be an easy one, it is something you will always have to push yourself to daily limits to work with and 'control'. Life always seems to fall on the back burner and this makes us feel less entitled than the average person. It will either break us or make us. When those two options feel like the only thing you have left, I think I'd rather pick the latter. You will find the solutions, tools and abilities to get to where you need to be in your life one day and one step at a time. It may not be a fast process, it certainly will not be easy, yet it is all we can hope for in these situations.

7. Life is about progress and growing with our experiences. Your chronic, possibly incurable illnesses may feel like they are doing their absolute best to break you into shattered pieces, a shadow of your former self even. However, it is also building you up in strength, perseverance and clarity. Conquering your fears, concerns and struggles along the way. When you think of the advice you would give to someone you love who is struggling to see the hope within their life, look into the mirror and deliver it to yourself. I struggle with this myself yet am very aware of the important concept of being kinder to myself. You are worthy, you are entitled and you are deserving. You just have the believe with every fibre of your being that there will be more to life than what is consuming you today. It can't come from others believing so, it has to come from within yourself.

8. There will always be a lot of discouragement, anger and questioning within yourself. A bad day can arise many bad thoughts, it can contribute to how much you may struggle that day. However, in time it might become just as easy for us all to flip this on its head and say the same for a good day. Acknowledging positivity, hopeful thoughts, getting through each moment and appreciating them for what they truly are. They will show us that life has the ability to have it's good aspects. That life does not have to be dictated by our diseases every breathing moment. It will always be a work in progress, but that is the hope that we need to hold onto. Progressing positively, showing strength and courage to continue to fight with chronic illness. 

9. Hope is believing and knowing that you can and will push through the barriers that are caging you in at this moment in time. That there is a chance of finding the balance of living a quality of life you are content with, alongside your illness. Believing that some days, there is a possibility that you will not completely be defined or consumed by your illness or disability, that normality may eventually creep in. We find hope when we least expect it, when we don't think it's actually possible. We adapt hope to our individual circumstances and walk with it, one day at a time. 

10. Hope is the possibility of change. Everyday is a chance for life to change for the better. Believe in your strengths, believe in your talents and believe in your wisdom because they have the ability to take you far. Believe that things have the possibility to change, that you can eventually find the beauty in your life. We will all find our own avenues to reach our destination of hope. For some it will be a choice, some a fuel and for others it will be the only option to survive. Hope ultimately, comes from belief in yourself.

3 comments:

  1. Hey Nancy,
    You just wrote something, which even the finest so called "motivational gurus" can't write or teach. I really appreciate you as a really awesome-blossom girl who is really giving HOPE to people not only with chronic illness but also have a desire to be normal and look forward to something they want to strive for. You are really imparting a positive influence on a lot of people. Your beauty shines through your writing.

    And here's the best part : Your Honesty and Integrity are the key aspects of the aliveness of this blog. Keep up the good work. A lot of positive vibes and wishes from me and yeah!
    Keep smiling :)

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    1. Hi Anonymous,
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment! It means the world to me. I really hope that others in any situation they may face regarding hope, can find some comfort in any small aspect of the above. I also hope that by personally reading over this post, I can remember to ignite the feelings above within myself on a daily basis even when it is extremely difficult to do so.

      Again, thank you so much for taking the time to write such kind words. Sending you my best wishes.
      Nancy :)

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  2. You write beautifully! I wish I could express myself the way you do. I am glad you can be a voice for others like me who cannot verbalize the things we feel with a chronic illness. I will continue to read your blog, is there a way to subscribe? I hope today finds you well.

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