I've actually read that some people living with chronic diseases actually wished their diagnosis had been cancer, instead of whatever they have. It may sound crazy, but I can sorta see where they're coming from. Of course, they don't really wish they had cancer and are by no means belittling cancer's severity... but, it would be amazing to have the same respect, compassion, understanding, and support that's given to cancer patients.
There may be less understanding and compassion for many of those living with chronic illness, but we can't just sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. We must learn to move from a suffering patient to an empowered individual. Some of the lessons that can help move us toward empowerment, include the following.
Be your own advocate. I've had to learn to be an advocate for myself. I don't blindly take advice from anyone, including doctors. There is no cure for Migraine, period. I'm simply doing my best to work with my doctors to find some way of improving my life, despite having this illness.
- My fears and anxieties - I must hand these over to God. Allowing myself to get wrapped up the many fears and anxieties that inevitably come from living life in chronic pain helps no one. I don't want to be frozen in fear, and let life pass me by.
- What others say and/or do - I can't let other people's thoughtlessness upset me. Whether or not others choose to try to understand what I'm going through, to be compassionate about what I'm going through, etc... is NOT up to me. It can be hurtful, but it's out of my control. All I can do, is love myself enough to do what I need to do to be as healthy and live as good a life as possible.
- The effects of my illness - I need to let go of the times that I have to turn down an invitation or miss an event. I can't control when the pain will be that bad (or how others will respond to canceled plans)... I need to learn to be more forgiving of myself when it happens (and, again, not be affected by how others respond / react).