I wanted to talk about a problem we all have at one time or another. One of the things I think is a pretty huge pitfall for those with chronic disease(s) is… here it comes… thinking you are unique. Okay, okay, yes we are all unique but sometimes especially when we have chronic illness we think we are SO unique in what we’re going through that no one will understand… and we don’t want to be a burden. So what do we do? We isolate. This is very bad. Yes it is, stop it.
- Arthritis sufferers include men and women, children and adults. Approximately 350 million people worldwide have arthritis. Nearly 40 million persons in the United States are affected by arthritis, including over a quarter million children!
- More than 21 million Americans have osteoarthritis. Approximately 2.1 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.
- More than half of those with arthritis are under 65 years of age. Nearly 60% of Americans with arthritis are women.
*** Bullets are from National Arthritis Month / MedicineNet “””
Do you still think you’re unique? In therapy, this would be called “thinking errors,” if you were in recovery it would be called “stinkin thinkin.” Both are self-defeating.
Human beings have an enormous capacity for fooling themselves and sometimes others. I have experience in this matter. Guilty… (who isn’t?) but I’ve been getting better at it since the Great Breast Cancer Fiasco of 2014. I think it was the longevity and subsequent ongoing issues that helped me get past that idea of being unique. In fairness, I’ve learned to share my feelings long ago. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking I special in my illness. My Facebook family which is small (by design) was helpful in immeasurable ways, and at the top of that list they were so supportive and voiced it. Flowers were plastered on my page almost daily- and that kept a little beauty in my life. Sometimes you have to hunt down the light at the end of the tunnel but there it was. I blogged about my experience frequently and held nothing back. It got the “inner chatter” out of me- the fear, the anxiety, the anger, the “poor me.” The simple act of writing about it in detail helped me get through it. I had friends who listened as well, plus an incredible partner. When I look back at those blogs now I’m always struck by how frantic they sound. My partner reminds me how frantic a time it really was. Grammar and punctuation went out the window (hey, I was on drugs and poison). It wasn’t about perfection. It was about screaming into the universe about my fears and horrifying experiences.
On occasion it was eloquent. I was a very sick puppy. And now… I’m still alive and here to write this.
Dipping further back, circa ‘93. I found myself so desperately unhappy I was suicidal. To my great fortune, this was a time that managed care went for “Talk Therapy” as opposed to now being given a pill (it’s cheaper but the real issues are never addressed). And please realize I understand there are other reasons for antidepressants.
I was in therapy for 3 years (I continued on after insurance stopped at 1-year. I’m such a great supporter of talk therapy! I did an entire life makeover at that time. Not kidding! I redesigned my life and was so much happier for it. It wasn’t painless but eventually got to that point. With what is in your control, if you don’t like it, change it. Do it in increments if you have to. That sounds easy, I know it’s not. It’s difficult to remove the negative or abusive family or friends from your life sometimes, but I felt I had no choice but to do it. I did it to save my own life. I became my “agent of change.”
I mention these two episodes in my life as a point… to purge. There are a myriad of feelings and problems that come with chronic illness. If you’re reading this you already know it. I urge you to talk about it with someone.
You are completely unique, and you aren’t. What’s happening with you happens to millions. For a happier YOU, find an avenue to get that mental indigestion out of you. Talk to friends, find a group, blog, whatever helps! There are a lot of solutions out there and it’s quite possible you’ll never find them if you don’t put forth a little effort.
As always, this comes to you with much love!
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