Allow me to tell a brief tale of Pandora’s Box.
Zeus, the Greek leader of the gods, was angry at Prometheus for giving people fire. He ordered Hephaistos to make a beautiful woman named Pandora as a gift to Epimetheus, Prometheus’ brother. Zeus sent Pandora down to earth with a locked box and instructions never to open it. Epimetheus obeyed Zeus and kept the key, but Pandora’s curiosity got the better of her. She stole the key while he was sleeping and opened the box. Every nasty thing known to man – all manner of sicknesses, worries, crimes, hate, envy, and more – flew out of the box. Pandora tried to catch them, but it was too late. As she cried over what she had done, one last thing remained in the box. It was beautiful. It was there to protect everyone from everything else in the box. It was Hope.
Hope is the one thing that will help you achieve happiness despite your chronic illness. Hope will allow you to prosper even though you’ve been diagnosed with a condition that a small pill simply won’t remedy. Hope will propel you to pursue your goals even when you don’t feel like doing so. With this in mind, you should never give up hope that your situation will change and get better.
In addition to not losing hope, here are a few more strategies on how to live with chronic illness:
Stop blaming yourself for your illness. It is not your fault. Instead, realize that you’ve been dealt a tough hand but you can still persevere. You can still accomplish all your goals. Yes, it may be a hard fight that you’re facing, but you can do it. You can succeed. You can improve the quality of your life – you can do it!
Separate yourself from your illness. You are different than the illness that afflicts you. Don’t understand what I mean? Consider this – if depression is your cross, remember that you may feel depressed at times, but depression does not define you. It is not who you are. It is merely something that you’re experiencing for now. After all, you were not put on this earth to suffer. You were meant to prosper. You are destined for happiness. You simply have to find ways to achieve it.
Accept yourself. This means to never look upon others with jealousy or envy, coveting what they have or what they can do that you cannot. Comparing yourself to others is not fair to you or to them. Apples don’t compare themselves to oranges and neither should you. By loving and accepting yourself, your suffering will diminish. By being mindful and respectful of your own limitations and pushing yourself to beat your own highest score, you’ll achieve so much more.
Connect with others. People suffering all over the world have chronic illnesses. They feel emotional and physical pain, just like you. They suffer. They thrive. They struggle. They overcome. By realizing that you’re not alone, you’ll soon feel more at peace about your own diagnosis. You’ll soon realize that there are people who want to connect with you and, through those connections, you’ll experience peace and fulfillment.
Set realistic expectations. You have an illness and although you can’t do everything that you once did, you can still achieve. You can still accomplish your own goals, in your own time. By setting realistic expectations, you won’t disappoint yourself. Instead, you will thrive and grow more and more every single day.
In conclusion, living with chronic illness doesn’t have to limit you. Yes, you’ll have to make accommodations, but you can still live and thrive! So commit right now. Do not blame yourself for your condition. Separate yourself from your illness. Accept and love yourself. Connect with other chronic illness warriors and set realistic expectations. Once you do, your life will improve, you’ll actualize your dreams and you’ll experience true joy! What could be better than that?