I’m hanging out with my cousins in Saint Germain-en-laye this weekend! Luckily fellow spoonie Ivy has written an awesome post for y’all today on life with chronic illness.
Ivy is a wife, a creator, and a photographer, but her biggest label? Spoonie. On her blog, Ivy writes about all of the things that she loves, and the things that she does, and how being a spoonie affects those things! She shares her projects, her feelings, and the inspirational women in her life. She believes that she is perfectly ambitious, and she’d love to feature those of you who are as well! Ivy is also a military wife currently living in Alabama. She runs her blog and her shop from home and also works on her novels in her spare time.
Stay connected with Ivy on social media!
4 Ways Life Changes with Chronic Illness
Living with a chronic illness can be difficult, so it’s no surprise that these illnesses might have an effect on your day to day life! And although everyone experiences their spoonie journey differently, mine hasn’t quite gone the way that I had imagined it would.
I received my first diagnoses years ago, but I soon learned that it wasn’t my only health problem. Over time, my symptoms, and my medical chart, grew.
Now, I’m up to 16 diagnoses and counting. AND I take 15 different medications a day. So, it’s safe to say that my illnesses have kind of taken over!
When I first realized that I had to quit school, I was honestly glad. I had hated going to school because I knew that I was putting myself in debt for a degree that I would never use. It was only later that I realized just how much I actually missed going to school.
I was an RA at my university. This meant that I knew someone in every single class, so I always felt connected in some way. And between my residents’ shenanigans and all of the RA events, I was constantly busy.
But of course, my illnesses got in the way. I began missing classes more and more frequently, and eventually, I knew I’d have to leave. Thinking back–it still sucks. I was a first-generation college student, and I had to quit after my second year. But hey! I did push myself hard enough that I managed to fulfill the requirements for my Associates of Arts degree!
On the bright side: I no longer worry about racking up debt, stressing over exams, or handling scary situations!
I think this is the hardest change that I’ve had to make so far. I have worked for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I would make fake menus and serve my family meals. Then as I got older, I started doing real work: Baby-sitting, washing cars, running lemonade stands, holding yard sales. I did anything and everything that I possibly could!
So when I came to the realization that I would have to give up my job, and ultimately my dreams, I felt devastated.
And I’m going to be honest with you, I’m still not over it.
I was going to be a photographer, one that books clients all over the world and continues to perfect her skill over time. This has been my dream since the third grade, but now that I have heart & lung troubles, it doesn’t look like it will happen. While it still hurts to write about right now, I’ve reevaluated my life, and I’ve thrown myself into a new passion: writing! 🙂
On the bright side: If I hadn’t quite the job I was working last year, I would have never rekindled my love for writing. Now I’ve got a successful blog and two novels in the works!
Friendships are hard no matter what situation you’re in, but when you have one or more diagnoses, it can get a little tougher. In my experience, I’ve had to cancel more plans than I’d like to admit. Eventually people get tired of being canceled on. As a result, I’ve lost a lot of friends; but in the end, I’m still able to find support. I’ve got the friends and family that are still here for me, I’ve got my husband, and I’ve got this wonderful spoonie community!
On the bright side: I’ve learned exactly who my true friends are, and spoonies all over the world have welcomed me with open arms!
Relationships of any form are also affected by chronic illnesses. Sometimes boundaries blur, like when a spouse serves as a caregiver instead of a lover, or when a family member gets far too involved and needs to be pushed away. Whatever the case may be, relationships will get a little bumpy due the daily struggles that one might endure.
I know for myself, I push people away because I don’t like talking about the bad aspects of my illnesses. I know I shouldn’t do that, but I still do. And I also push others away when they ask too many questions or give too many suggestions. It’s just not easy trying to navigate your emotions, your medications, your doctor’s appointments, and someone else’s feelings on the subject that is your life.
While I have lost a couple relationships here and there, I’m well aware of who’s sticking it out for me 🙂
On the bright side: My communication skills have improved, plus I’ve become a way better advocate for myself!
As you can see, living with a chronic illness isn’t all bad! I was able to give up the negative aspects of my life, embrace my ambitious self, and connect with hundreds of people just like me!
Check out the rest of my spoonie-related posts!
What challenges have made you who you are?