Post written by ChronicBabe Tracy Mooney
It’s been three and a half years. Three and a half years since my diagnosis, trying to learn the limits of my body, and to learn the new “normal.”
And yet, in those three and a half years I still haven’t figured it all out. At least five days a week I still find myself wondering aloud why am I so tired? as if this is not my life. As if I don’t feel like this every day. This is my life, just as it is the life of every other person living with autoimmune disease.
At first I tried to fight it. I thought if I just did everything right I would get better. So I made changes to my diet, I drank water, I exercised regularly, I slept. And still my disease continued.
I tried taking herbs. I thought somehow there would be a magical combination of herbal tea that would somehow make me well. Then I realized that boosting my immune system just “boosted” my messed up immune system. Silly me! My immune system is broken.
I tried restricting my diet even more. I thought, there must be something I’m eating that my body is allergic to. If I just juice enough, or cut out sugar and dairy, or eat enough salad, I will get well!
When nothing made any difference at all, it slowly started to sink in.
THIS IS MY NORMAL.
I am always going to be tired. I’m always going to be hurting. I am always going to be fighting swollen fingers and swollen joints. I am always going to feel like I’m thirsty. I’m always going to feel like I’ve got sand in my eyes. I’m always going to have to balance what I do every day so that I have enough energy for the things I really want to do.
For me, the lesson is about taking care of myself and learning to be kind to myself when I can’t do as much as I used to be able to do. This experience is about learning.
Each day I make choices, moment to moment. I make choices that help me feel better. I choose to rest. I choose not to engage with people or situations that stress me out. I choose not to take things personally.
I choose to do something that makes me happy, like sewing. I choose to listen to music that lifts my mood and makes me want to dance. I choose to use some essential oils in my space that help me relax or energize me or simply to make me feel happy. If happiness is a choice, I choose HAPPY!
Accepting this disease does not mean I am giving up. Acceptance does not mean I am not fighting. Acceptance means I need to choose my battles. Acceptance means taking care of myself.
It’s going to be okay. I’m going to be okay.
**This is the second of many in a guest contributor series. If you would like to be considered as a guest writer for ChronicBabe, visit this link.**