Being young is one of the most difficult things that we will go through. But going through life with chronic pain and illnesses is even more difficult. I was lucky and didn’t start to have issues until my early 20’s but there are still things that I wished I would have told my younger self. Here is my chance to do it. What would you tell your younger self if you could?
- Don’t say yes when your body says NO! There are many times in my life that I should have listened to my body. Listening to my body might have saved me from many days in bed resting. We don’t need to please everyone so listen to your body and do what is best for you.
- Don’t speak ill kindly of yourself. You have one chance in this life so why would you speak ill of yourself. I have done this many times in life and then felt bad about myself. Learning to love yourself for just the way that you are is the important piece here. Loving yourself should be one of the easiest things to do but for some reason, those of us with chronic illnesses we love to speak words that aren’t flattering and make is feel bad. Try not to do it and start to speak kind words to yourself for a week and see how you start to feel about yourself. I am betting it will be better than you did to start with.
- Don’t try a treatment because it’s the ‘in” thing to do. Don’t be trying new treatments for your illnesses because you think it’s the “in” thing to do and it should work. I tried Remicade for ulcerative colitis, and never felt worse. I should have done more research before trying the study but being that it was recommended by my doctor, how bad could it be. Well, the six months of the study, I was pretty bad. throwing up just about every day. Do your research and don’t jump because it is recommended to you. It might not be a good fit.
- Don’t wait for the last-minute to get ready. Give yourself plenty of time to be able to get ready and spend that extra time giving yourself some TLC. Spend time doing things to make you feel good about yourself and things that others might not notice but you sure will. Like for instances, shaving your legs every day is not a must. Take that extra time to shave the legs when it will really matter. Don’t make taking a shower a WWE event. Take your time and do something like that slowly. In the end, it will pay off and you will have more energy for taking your time.
- Don’t expect to live in a spotless home. This is a fairy tale of mine and has been for a long time. Everything in its place and a neat and clean home. The house dusted and the floor swept. Toys in their place and everything else right where it supposes to be. We actually had maids for a year that would come in and clean the bathrooms, kitchen and living room once a month. I was very addicted to that and loved the way the house was afterward. But when only one of you in the house is bringing in money, and government pay at that, you have to watch where your spending goes. And a “not so neat” house show that it is lived in. Give yourself a break and know that there will be a few dust bunnies and that is okay. Long as you are comfortable in your home, then that is all that matters.
- Don’t shop till you drop. Basically, know your limits and stay within those limits. It’s ok not to be able to shop till you drop. And really how much fun is in that anyways. Try to shop or do any activities within an amount of time that your body will let you do things. It might take you awhile to figure out the amount of time your body will be able to function. But keep track of it. Keep a log. That way you can start to see how much time you can do.
- Don’t wear uncomfortable clothing. Ok, so you won’t be wearing the latest high heels. Who cares. Know what you can and can’t wear is important to your overall health. Wearing clothes that aren’t adjustable or forgiving will help you feel better about the way you look. Who cares if you have to wear yoga pants with a nice shirt. I actually do it all the time. I feel good and don’t care about the way I look.
- Don’t expect the pre-illness fun to be still fun today. This one is again knowing your limits. Know how much you can and can not do is very important. You might not be able to go skiing anymore but you sure can go and be around people. Adjust your life to what your illness and pain allow.
- It is important to have good people around you. really isn’t more to say than that. Having the right people around you will help you feel better and then you will have the right kind of care around you too.
- Dream big and aim high. Nothing more to say about that.
These are the ones that I was able to come up with. What would you say to your younger self if you had the chance? Would you warn yourself of the rough road that is about to come? I don’t know that I wouldn’t. I think the more prepared I am, the better. But voice your opinion in the comments below. And remember that you have only one life to live, so make every day count.