(Being a little left of centre does help in dealing with chronic illness.
I'm always being asked what are my main tips for coping with a chronic illness? It's hard to really verbalise them all as they are still developing. I know if asked in another month they would be more refined and would reflect whatever I had encountered in the intervening period.
But tonight, as I spend yet another exciting Saturday night lying here in bed trying to distract myself from the razor blades that I apparently ate for dinner, and I wait for the pain meds to kick in, I thought I would try and sum it up. My mantra goes a little something like this.
Embrace life. Focus on living. Focus on joy. Don't restrict yourself to old ideals and images. Your world has changed, it may or may not change back. Just embrace it and let it show you new paths and new possibilities.
Know you have the strength to survive the ups and downs. You've done it before and you'll do it again. You cannot always change your circumstances but you can change your reactions to what happens.
I wont lie, it's hard work some days. There will be tears and there will be times where it feels overwhelming and hopeless. But those times will pass. There will be the moment of respite when you can finally breathe again. It's remembering to grasp those moments with both hands and to let yourself believe and rejoice in them, whether they last a few months or a few minutes.
It's knowing it's okay to let others give us their strength when your well has run dry. And that above all, you are not alone in this, no matter the lies your illnesses tell you. There is someone, somewhere going through what you are going through and feeling what you are feeling.
You're not weird or weak or any of the things you tell yourself in the darkness that is 3am. You are beautiful and glorious and strong. You are Boadicea in comfy pjs and slippers. Show yourself compassion and love, and know you are worthy. Remember that, and you'll make it through today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.
You define who you are, not your illness. You just need to believe in yourself. Because that you is magnificent. And that you is unstoppable.