By Lillian China Smith
Some things we want can’t be bottled, brought, or swallowed to make us feel better when it comes to illness. Sometimes with illness, well, with me, I was unhappy that I was sick, and with my chronic illness. And I wanted to be better, and that unhappiness grew and grew because I wished that I could just be better. I wanted a solution so badly. I wanted a cure, I wanted a healthy body.
But I’ve had to learn to accept my body as it is, chronic illness or not, sick or not, and be happy as I am, and grow my own happiness, in all my body’s various states and forms, whether or not I’m stuck in bed with a flare, or whether or not I’m doing well that day. It’s been tough, because with illness, it’s not easy to always be happy. Illness is unpleasant.
Nobody wants to be happy when you are in pain. Nobody wants to be happy all the time when you are suffering. Sure, it is easier to look to sadness and wonder why you aren’t going to ever get better. But accepting facts as facts, and working on your recovery, and growing your own happiness, are a solution that you can change. That is something that you can take action on.
In my Recovery from Lupus and Chronic Illness, I have had to learn to grow my own happiness, regardless of what illness brings me. It is an inside job, meaning, being happy with your life, and yourself, no matter what happens. You are you, and that is what matters. Be happy with yourself first, love yourself, and grow from there. It sounds ridiculous, maybe to some, but it’s really the truth. Happiness doesn’t mean necessarily having everything that you want, it means having the simple things in life, and peace with yourself and kindness to others, and inner bliss and self compassion, as well as self respect, and self kindness, amongst other things. I always believed if I was well that I would finally be happy at last, and all my problems would be solved. But that wasn’t necessarily the case. I became happy when I made peace with myself.
When I finally did get better, and got “my life back,” it didn’t seem to make a difference to me, because I had already found happiness. I still have sick days, but I have found the sense of happiness that I was looking for when I was sick, and depressed about being sick. When I have pain now and again, I get frustrated, but, I don’t let it get me down. I feel like I have beaten that part of my life now. I remember times when I didn’t think happiness was possible, especially during flares, and I can tell you now, sitting here, that it is, and that recovery is possible, too. Today I am healthy, to my wildest dreams, and it shocks even me to think about how sick I was before. I am so grateful today to have this working body. I don’t wake up in pain, and I walk around, and don’t use a cane, and I don’t have sore joints, and I don’t take tons of pain medications. And, by some miracle, it has all worked out for me.
And, I am happy. And I worked hard to get there. I worked hard, on the inside, it took strength, and hard work, and determination, and a lot of hanging on in the dark moments, and thinking, “I won’t give up,” even when I wanted to, even if I thought I couldn’t get by, or get through it, or stick through it or last one more night. I tried, and I would think about one good thought to get me through that bad night, or that bad moment, for just one more time, just to make it one more night, of through that bad moment of that flare, and then I would be able to get through the pain for those five minutes, or that evening, and then I found myself waking up the next day and I could try again.
And here I am today, on the other side of it. And I believe now, I believe in hope, I believe these things are possible, I believe in miracles, big and small, because they have happened for me. Because I remember how dark it was for me, and how bad my bad moments were when I was ill, how dark those times were when I was in that bad place then, and how hard I worked for this happiness that I have today.
And you’ll have to work hard for your own happiness, with your illness, wherever you are with it. Whether or not you are at a place of acceptance with your illness, or whether you have a sense of happiness already with your illness and are at peace with it, maybe you already know that happiness is an inside job. And it is. I have found that happiness, is an inside job. It is something that you will have to work for. And you’ll have to work hard for it. Just like you’ll have to work hard for your recovery. It takes time. You’ll have to work hard and push and advocate with doctors, and the medications will take time to work. But you’ll get there in the end.
#butyoudontlooksick #autoimmunedisease #mentalillnesshumor #spoonie #invsibledisability #lupuswarrior #happiness #fibromyalgia #epilepsy #mentalillnessrecovery #mentalhealthhumor #depressionmemes #recoveryispossible #mentalillness #chronicpain #lupusdiagnosis #fibro #lupus #fibromyalgiafighter #fibrowarrior #mentalhealth #chronicillnessmeme #recovery #epilepsyrecovery #benlysta #invisibledisabilities #chronicillnessrecovery #fibroflare #disability #autoimmuneissues #youretooyoungtobesick #Depression #chronicillness #lupuslife #mentalhealthrecovery #autoimmunerecovery #lupusrecovery
Sick of giving Christmas presents? Have a Birthday coming up? You can give a donation in lieu of a gift, and help people who really need that support while also spreading holiday cheer.
Here are some ways to share your love and also make an impact:
Corporate Angel Network is a charity that provides Cancer Patients with lifesaving access to care by giving them a free flight to their cancer treatment.
OVERVIEW Corporate Angel Network is the only charitable organization whose sole mission is to fly cancer patients (both children and adults) to treatment at no cost to them on empty seats – on both private and corporate planes – with patients who need the rides. This not only improves the patients’ chances of survival, but, it also reduces their emotional stress, physical discomfort, and financial burden. Participation in Corporate Angel Network is open to all cancer patients, bone marrow donors and recipients, and stem cell donors and recipients who are ambulatory and not in need of medical support while traveling. Eligibility is not based on financial need, and patients may travel as often as necessary. Thanks to the generous cooperation of 500 of America’s top corporations, including half of the top 100 in the Fortune 500, Corporate Angel Network has coordinated more than 52,000 flights since its founding in 1981. Our program offers an obvious and meaningful benefit to cancer patients and their caregivers along with the opportunity for companies with corporate aircraft to provide a wonderful community service by merging business activities with corporate social responsibility.
2) CAMH Gifts of Light is a Canadian Mental Health Charity and at Christmas they have a Gifts of Light Campaign where you can buy much needed items for persons in inpatient psychiatric care– such as, clothing, socks, a scholarship, a transitional living package, etc. Many people who are in inpatient care come in from off of the streets with only the clothes on their backs: Gifts of Light provides them with items they would not otherwise have and the opportunity to have a fresh start.
What is Gifts of Light? Gifts of Light are practical, meaningful gifts that meet the unique needs of mental health and addiction patients at CAMH. When you purchase Gifts of Light on behalf of your friends and family, you help people in crisis on their journey to recovery. Shop Gifts of Light.Some CAMH patients stay for just a few days, while others stay for much longer — even years. They all need your help.Many of our patients arrive with only the clothes on their backs. They may have no support from family or friends. Sometimes, they have no home to go back to.That’s why we continue to ask for your help. Thank you.
3) Schizophrenic.NYC Tshirt’s and Pillboxes make super cute gifts and a portion of proceeds go to helping those organizations who support those who live with mental illness in NYC.
ABOUT SCHIZOPHRENIC.NYC Schizophrenic.NYC was created, founded, & designed by Michelle Hammer, a Schizophrenic New Yorker who wants to make a difference in the way the mentally ill homeless are treated in NYC as well as change the way New Yorkers feel about mental illness. The concept behind the designs is that when the unmedicated person with Schizophrenia looks at a basic regular Rorschach test they see it with a whole different perspective. By redesigning the test with new colors and patterns, now everyone looks at the test with a whole new perspective. Worse than having Schizophrenia, is being Schizophrenic or have any mental illness and being homeless. There is nothing that upsets us more than seeing mentally ill people living on the streets of NYC. We want this to change now. Together we can make a difference. With every purchase made a portion of our profits get donated to organizations around NYC that support the struggle of the mentally ill homeless. Together we can make a change. Join the movement.
#donations #presents #mentalillness #christmasgiving #camh #holidays #presentideas #mentalhealth #recovery #chronicpain #payitforward #chronicdisease #schizophrenicnyc #invisibleillness #corporateangelnetwork
Which photo do you think I “look sick” in? The one on the left, or the one on the right?
I made this to show all the ways someone can look sick if they have an invisible illness— i feel sick in both of these photos: The photo on the right is me this past winter, out with my walker. The photo on the left is me, In Niagra falls, when i felt as sick as I did in the photo on the left, if not worse. That day was awful! But i looked great. 😆#lupusproblems
And, sometimes, I’ve never looked better— but I actually don’t feel very well, which is how chronic illness works #butyoudontlooksick and it only becomes visible if I use a mobility aid.
What do you think sick looks like, anyway? Is it me in the left? Or is it the photo on the right? How sick do I need to look to be sick?
#butyoudontlooksick #spoonie #invisibledisease #lupuswarrior #lupuschick #themightysite #lupus #recovery #chronicillnessrecovery #lupustreatment #chronicillness #lupuslife #spoonielife #ifilookedasbadasifeel #chronicillnessfighter #chronicdisease #invisibleillness #lupusrecovery