A Common Mistake –
There is a difficult time that no one speaks about or warns you about, sometimes its even more difficult than becoming ill. It is the transition we go through when people and things start disappearing from your life and a mirror starts to appear on the world. It can reveal things, ugly things, that we were previous unaware of and it reveals things we have to learn the hard way.
You see, sometimes, the truth is that life had put blinkers on us that blinded us to the true nature of things, true nature of others and the true nature of ourselves… sometimes illness and diseases pull off those blinders and we see some pretty difficult things. They can be hard to look at and even harder to understand.
A common mistake that many of us sufferers make when we become Chronically Ill is that we think the world changed suddenly, overnight, because we got sick. This isn’t completely true. Sometimes we just didn’t see some things because we were busy being well and doing the things that well people are busy doing.
I remember Oprah said “…Money doesn’t really change you, if you were a mean person before you got money, you just become a mean person WITH money…” or words to that affect.
This is similar to the way we THINK illness has changed our lives and the people we know. If they lacked empathy and commitment before we got sick, then they are still the same people AFTER we get sick; its just that we didn’t see it or we didn’t want to see it before it. If we were competitive and self critical BEFORE we got sick, we will remain competitive and critical AFTER we get sick; and it can be to our own detriment.
The world didn’t just become a difficult and thoughtless place when we become ill, it always was that way but we were busy ignoring it, or busy trying to pay bills, building homes and building families. Its a common mistake that we blame ourselves for everything that happens AFTER we get sick but it does not help us make the transitions we need to make and the discoveries we need to accept.
I have had to learn some difficult home truths about myself, my nature and my insecurities that I have probably had all my life, and I have had to try and tame some of these demons and accept those that I cant tame.
As for the things that I have discovered about other people, friends, strangers and family, some of those things have been very difficult to face when my body and my emotions feel so raw, but nonetheless I am having to face it the best ways I know how. The best way I know how is to realise that people are just people, life is still life and all we can ever do is try to make the best with the hand we are dealt. Cliched? Yes. But true nonetheless.
Another common mistake is that we think we have no value or meaning any more because we are not physically able to do what we did or look the way did, but this is not true, it just means we have yet to discover the other things we need to value about ourselves. If all we focused on previously was our physical abilities then we have a very, very tough road ahead of us. This is also a good time to make friends and encourage relationships with people who accept you and see you for more than what you once did or what you can do for them.
Its hard relearning all that you have come to believe in over the course of a life time, yet it is important that we do as it affects how the rest of our lives will unfold. Its a common mistake that we make when we want people to support us, love us, accept us, nurture us and be there in a time of need, but this isn’t the true nature of the world or people; not even those who we thought we were very close to us. Sometimes we have to realise the world is unfair, people are selfish and that modern society is very superficial and critical. As we come to learn and accept these things it is important not to become bitter and overwhelmed by this knowledge. It would be easy to feel that there was very little joy in living anymore when we are in a lot of daily pain (emotionally and physically) but that is a common mistake. There is a lot that can still bring peace, reward and happiness in this new existence and there is something very freeing about simplifying our lives and emotional baggage. Its not the life we thought it was going to be and its far from perfect, but the whole notion of perfection is not real and is a very common mistake made by everyone all over the world; not just by those who are Chronically Ill.