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Thinking about #Acceptance

 Check out: What Helps Me Accept the ‘Chronic’ Nature of My Chronic Illness

These two next posters are things I have felt before when thinking about chronic illness and chronic pain. All the things I could be, but cannot. All I could do, but cannot. What I could have been, but had to compromise for my health.

The conflict we have with accepting chronic illness is the fact it is Chronic. We have to deal with this life long, never ending, condition that will constantly impact our decisions and life. We can accept our limitations and moderate our life, but it takes a lot of adjustments. It takes some time to come to terms with the nature of this being a chronic, forever condition. And every once in a while we like to fool ourselves into believing we can have things we cannot. And every once in a while we have to make compromises for our health that are very difficult to make. It makes acceptance very difficult to hold onto.

And I have a lot of trouble with it to be honest. There are times when I accept it and deal with it. However there are times when I want. I just want things that I have given up. I had ambitions and goals that I know I can no longer have but a part of me craves them. However, I know it is pretty much unhealthy for me to pursue them. I have really been told in a straight forward manner for chronic pain management I cannot do more. I have to do Less. Those are the compromises I am talking about. We give up a lot of our dreams and goals because we have to for our health and that, quite frankly, sucks.

So we do really have to remake ourselves. We have to fill the void with something. Replace that compromise with something else that we are capable of doing that satisfies us. New passions and goals. We need to be fulfilled just like everybody else does. For some this can be part time charity work. Part time employment. Taking care of family. For me I tend to fill the void with things like writing fantasy fiction stories that I self publish as well as raising awareness on this blog as well as my Facebook page, and the Migraineur Misfits page I help admin for. It is something that makes me feel productive and I am passionate about. I also work, but I am told I should be working less but I have not discussed this issue with my employer yet.

In doing these things we recreate a new self-image. It is something that is fundamental to acceptance. As I said, I don't think acceptance is a state we achieve and then just there for good. We can have problems with guilt, regret and other emotions that make us confront our feelings about chronic illness again and again. Then we have to work at achieving acceptance all over again.

I recall it being very difficult in the beginning. I have had chronic illness problems for as long as I can remember. However, when I was very young I used to believe that although they impacted me physically they would never impact me mentally and therefore I could find a job I was passionate about and that would be all I needed. I severely underestimated pain. Not to mention the effects pain has on concentration and memory. And emotions. So it affects Everything eventually. And it did slowly consume every aspect of my life. Chipped away at it. And I struggled, desperately, to hold onto every single facet. And I would compromise, and compromise, and eventually just give in and became a hermit and then the pain exceeded all my coping strategies in the end.... because I continued to work full time. I held onto that, if not the career I had wished. And that desperate need to hold onto work nearly killed me. So i cannot say as my health worsened over the decades I ever truly accepted anything. I fought it. Hard. I may have made hard compromises. I may have cut important things from my life... like socializing, in order to hold onto things like working. But that is not acceptance. However there were times when I was just coping with Firbormyalgia and episodic migraines (not yet chronic migraines) when I was coping well and in undergraduate studies. I was in perfect acceptance then and coping very well. I would say that is the one time in my life I truly dealt with my chronic illness perfectly... before the pain trumped my coping.

And I would say now after taking a course at the pain clinic I am closer to that acceptance again because I understand that chronic pain management requires a lot of factors that all have to be considered. And that it is my job to manage all those factors. Part of that is not exceeding my pain limits and ending back where I started and on leave from work again... and therefore not pushing myself and therefore not working full time, which is not something I am capable of. I accept this. I also accept that it is okay for this to be the case. I used to say society demands of us that we work and suffer... and it does. But we should demand of ourselves that we manage our pain. And not exceed our limits. In other words, we come first and screw what society thinks. Society sees productivity and functionality and a number. We have a disability that needs to be carefully managed. So the pain clinic helped me realize it is acceptable for me to take care of myself. To make myself a priority. And to accept that staying within my limits is not a crime.
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