Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Start


   Happy New Year Everyone! What an exciting day! I have to say, I love New Year’s. I think most people do. It’s a chance to start all over again even if it is arbitrary. So many resolutions are made! I used to make them myself, but I stopped a few years ago. I realized something surprising about them. At least for me. Resolutions stress me out. A lot! And that’s not what they are meant for. And definitely not what I need in my life. How bout you?
    You see, the resolutions I always made were meant to make me better in some way. Like losing weight. I don’t know how many years I had that one on my list. Or how many years I failed it by March. And that depressed me. I ended up feeling worse about myself. All because of something meant to make me feel better. If that’s not irony!
    I did this until I realised that I can’t just change because it's a new year. Our minds don’t work like that. We have to be truly ready to change. No matter what that change is. You always hear that an addict cannot change unless they admit they have a problem and are ready to accept responsibility. It works the same way for all of us.
    Not necessarily the admitting a problem part, although with my weight I certainly do have issues to face. But accepting responsibility for where we are in our lives. And that includes those of us with Chronic Illnesses. I don’t mean that to sound as if we are to blame for our diseases. I certainly did not get married, have two kids, and say “What would be the biggest challenge I can think of to add to my life? I know! Sjogren’s!” None of us did. But, we are sick and that sickness is our responsibility.
    By that I mean we need to be the ones to deal with it. To treat it. And to advocate for ourselves. Doctors cannot heal us. Unfortunately for most of us there is no cure. And that can be very frustrating for a Doctor. Some even shut down around us. I am not letting them off the hook, I am just making a point that they are human too. And that we need to be our own experts.
    But we also need to be our own office managers. We need to learn what to allow into our lives and what to turn away. Part of having a Chronic Illness is the fact that there are too many medications, too many doctors, too many tests, and too many demands on us. And this being the New Year, I know way too many who are resolving to be better parents, better employees, and have better health. But I say don’t. I say resolve to put less stress on yourself by not resolving to do these things.
    As I said in the beginning, resolutions can be a losing battle. So is the idea of controlling our diseases. So don’t. Allow yourself to be who you are, disease and all. It is a part of you but it not who you are. It does not define you so don’t give it the power to. Remove the stress by removing the fight to be “better”. Roll with the waves rather than trying to stand and power through them. That does not work.

    I know this sounds easier said than done. I’ve tried and succeeded. And I’ve tried and failed. Miserably. But I can tell you that when you succeed in removing the fight from your life and just roll with it, the rest follows. When you remove the stress you put on yourself about being “better”, you can actually be you. And that is perfect.

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