Living With Chronic Illness And Health Challenges

Do you or someone you love have a chronic illness? Learn what living with a chronic illness is really like and what you can do about it.
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Last Updated on May 4, 2021 by Lori Geurin

Hey guys, Don’t read this article if you’re looking for one big happy, sunshiny post. If that’s the case, please check out almost any of my other articles and you should be fine. 😉 This one may be a little too raw or dreary for some. Just looking out for ya, my friend. 

I just got in from going to the doctor and running some errands this morning. While I was out I ran into my sweet sister-in-law, Jackie, and sweet friend, Linda. We had a brief chat and one of them kindly mentioned reading some articles here on the blog.

She said something about needing to put the information into practice more and we chuckled a little. Then I said something to the effect of “me too.” I sort of surprised myself with these words but they came from a real place.

And I left it at that, maybe leaving her wondering if I practice anything that I write about here. But on deeper reflection, she knows me so I don’t think she actually believes that. Woah, I think way too much!

That’s probably the (reformed) people pleaser in me worried about what others might think – stop that! (talking to the people pleaser, not you)

From there, she kindly asked about how I was feeling (a question I grapple with not knowing how to answer – more on that later). Instead of saying “good” like we humans often do, I was honest and said I hadn’t been feeling well lately but that I was “ok.”

Living With Chronic Illness And Health Challenges

On the drive home I thought about why I’d responded the way I had, especially since I am very aware of making healthy choices and putting into practice what I learn and share here on the blog. I’m not perfect, but I’m in pursuit of a healthier life – right along with you.

I realized a few things in those moments:

Before getting Lyme I took my excellent health for granted.

I never meant to. Does anyone ever?

But I didn’t realize what a gift being healthy was until I lost it.

How Chronic Lyme Makes It More Challenging For Me To Stick With My Goals

First, I’m more likely to get off track with my health goals when I don’t feel well physically because of the chronic Lyme and all the related health problems. Here are a few ways feeling physically bad makes staying on track with my goals more challenging:

  • I feel more exhausted than usual (if that is even possible, ha) so meal prepping healthy foods sometimes doesn’t happen. And when I don’t eat the healthy foods my body needs, inflammation becomes an even bigger problem.
  • Increased pain makes it harder to sleep, which makes me feel worse. This can be a vicious cycle.
  • Lack of sleep impacts my mood and makes the body pain more severe (1).
  • Brain fog stinks and happens at the most inopportune times. If you’ve ever gotten lost in a town you’ve lived in for years or forgotten one of your best friend’s names then you know what I’m talking about.
  • When I’m dealing with all the physical symptoms and chronic conditions associated with Lyme I really have to work on my thoughts and self-control. If I don’t it’s way too easy to give in to anger and frustration.

If you have a chronic illness you may be able to relate to some of these challenges too.

So, What Can I Do About It?

It’s good to recognize the challenges in our lives so we know exactly what we’re up against. Then we can make a plan and put it in motion.

This isn’t about making excuses or being a victim. I would never recommend either! But it is important to be honest with yourself so you can get an exact picture of your situation.

One of the best pieces of advice I can share that a friend gave me is to give yourself grace.

This takes the pressure off. And the last thing our body needs is extra stress. So do some gentle stretching, pour yourself a cup of green tea, and breathe in some fresh air. Don’t overdo it trying to do it all. Take care of yourself and don’t worry about doing everything. It’s okay to let some things go while you allow your body to heal.

And the next step is to get back on track when you can. Don’t look back. Keep looking ahead and remember you’re worth it!

Related: Overcoming The Shame Of Chronic Illness

Do you or someone you love have a chronic illness? Learn what living with a chronic illness is really like and what you can do about it.

Summary

Living with a chronic illness, such as Lyme can make it challenging to stay on track with your health goals. Remember to be kind to yourself. Make healthy choices when you’re able but don’t stress yourself out over it when you’re not feeling well.

I rarely write posts that are dark and hope this didn’t bum you out. In all fairness, I did include a warning at the top. 😉 I can already hear some of my friends saying, “Lori, this isn’t dark at all. This is honest.” And if that’s true then let it be so.

I felt compelled to write this to show others who are going through the same that you are not alone.

You are strong. You can and will get better. And even if you don’t feel better physically in the moment you can learn how to cope better which helps you live better and love better.

I’m here for you if you ever need someone who understands. 

Here’s one of my favorites when I’m in need of encouragement now: 

“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

For more about chronic illness you may want to check out: 


Do you have a chronic illness? What tips can you share for being healthy when dealing with illness?

Please leave your comments below. I love hearing from you! X, Lori


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10 thoughts on “Living With Chronic Illness And Health Challenges”

  1. I recently was diagnosed with Graves Disease. Although I am now in remission, I still feel the same symptoms and struggling with the best way to deal with it. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Hello, Candi, Thank you for sharing a little about what you’re going through with Graves Disease. This must be difficult. That’s good that you’re in remission now (although you’re still dealing with the symptoms and everything else). I’ll bet you can probably relate to many of the same challenges I shared here. Sending you gentle hugs. Hang in there, girl. I’m always here if you want to chat. X, Lori

  2. It was interesting to learn more about how lyme disease can affect someone. I love how you took a positive spin on this and wrote about how to manage it better!

    1. I agree – it is easy to take for granted, Mallorie. And I’d love for this post to reach as many people as possible so they know they are not alone (like you said). Chronic illness can be socially-isolating at times so it definitely helps to know there are people who care about you. Thank you for your compassionate words!

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