This beautiful pillow sits on my bed to remind me that my life is blessed.
When all my health issues first started, it was very hard for me to think of anything good or that my life was blessed. All I could find was anger and depression. I was furious that I was struggling with one illness after another. I wanted to cry and find someone to blame. I wanted to feel sorry for myself and just wallow in self-pity. This is something that anyone with chronic illness will experience. And while we each need to get the tears out, we also have to remember the good parts of our lives so that we do not allow the pain to consume our every moment.
Each day when I am able to find even one thing to smile about, it is a good day. I needed some help to manage my depression so my doctor helped me find the right medication for me. This has honestly been a blessing as I had been spiraling down a very dark hole. I use to believe that each person made their own happiness, but now I understand that my thought was completely wrong. Depression is a real and serious illness that is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. I don’t know where I would be today if I had not accepted the medication to help me.
With all the pain and depression, I had forgotten how wonderful my life truly is. I had been blessed with a wonderful loving family, My son, daughter and son in law are three of the most amazingly beautiful people inside and out. They all have hearts of gold and I am truly grateful to have them in my life. My grandson allows me to see the world through his fresh eyes and remember that life is amazing and good. I also have to include my precious feathered babies that hold my heart. My illness has made me even more aware of how unfair it is to keep birds in captivity. I now can barely go out of my home, I can only imagine how hard it is for these precious ones that should be flying freely as God intended. Then there are my dear friends who are treasures to me, they understand and accept my moods and are still there when I need to talk. Sometimes it is very hard for me to remember that while my health is not good, my life is still full of love, but I will continue to try.
With my joints failing me I have had to find different ways to function. I have found different tools to help me with opening bottles, cooking and lifting. These items didn’t bother me but when I was finally faced with having to use a walker I was not very happy about it. I fought it as long as I could but finally I had to accept that I couldn’t continue walking without some support. So when I finally accepted that I needed a walker, I decided to find the prettiest one available. I found a purple one that I think is pretty and it makes me smile. When I have to go to a wheel chair, you can bet I will find a pretty colored one that will make me smile also. I have to learn to find joy in every part of my life now. And make everything as pretty as I can so that I can enjoy my life as it is.
My brain fog was one of the things that upset me the most, not being able to remember a word when in a conversation was quite embarrassing. It could be the simplest of words and I would struggle to remember it. Now I try to laugh it off and one of my family members always helps me with the word. My memory use to be amazing, I could remember dates and things from years and years ago. So while this will always bother me, I will continue to try to laugh it off.
I have several different surgeries that will be coming up this year. I am one of those odd people who actually enjoys my stay in the hospital. I have been in and out of hospitals so many times that I feel very comfortable in them. Mine is amazing and the nurses are incredible. I also look at it like a little vacation where I get yummy food served to me and lovely nurses who chat with me and take wonderful care of me. I also have the most wonderful loving doctors that I trust completely.
I no longer can keep my home spotless, and while I still struggle with my OCD and accepting a less than perfectly clean home….I am finally able to choose what things are the most important and leave the rest. My bird cages are not cleaned daily as they use to be, but I still try to get them each done two or three times a week. My birds are still cared for and loved completely. I have help whenever I need it. And once I can no longer clean or care for them properly, my daughter will take over caring for them when she can and we can hire help if and when needed. I am working on a complete list of food to be served to them, who prefers what, how much to put in each bowl etc. I also encourage everyone to make such a list so that if an emergency happens and you cannot care for your birds, at least there will be a list for someone to follow.
Something that all of this has taught me is that I am not the only one who can do things in my home or for my birds. I also have learned to allow others to help me, and feel blessed that I have those who offer to help. I have learned that my way is not the only way, and accepted that others can do the job without me helping or piping in.
Before all the illness I was an active person that was always happy. I found life exciting and beautiful. I loved taking my children on any small or grand journey that we could think of. I always told my children that “Life is what you make it” Everything that has happened to my body not something I had ever imagined. I did believe when I became elderly there would be some issues, but I never expected what life has handed me so early. However I now try to hold onto how blessed I am to have all those special memories and to be thankful that I had as many years as I did pain free. So now I must try to practice what I preached to my kids and accept how my life is and make it something good. I will always have my moments when the pain takes over or the depression sneaks in, but then I push myself to remember that I am Beyond Blessed and this is just another part of my journey in this life.
I hope that by sharing my own story, it may help others who are also struggling with chronic illness or depression.