HAWMC Day 5: No such thing as a small accomplishment when living with chronic illness…

531000_10150773237874254_36556179253_11327993_607059728_n Welcome to the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge brought together by WEGO Health – a social network for all health activists.  Again, I am participating in the annual Writer’s Month Challenge in which I will be writing about my health activism and health condition based upon given prompts.

Sunday April 5th: Breaking News  The top story of today is…YOU.  Share with your readers your proudest accomplishments in the last 5 years.  Don’t be shy, tell us everything!

It often feels that chronic illness robs us of our lives.  As a result of the debilitating symptoms we constantly live with, the majority of our time is very often spent inside the safety and comfort of our homes.  Sometimes much of our time is even spent stuck in bed. It very often feels that chronic illness is controlling us rather than the other way around.  And because of these feelings of inadequacy and grieving over the life we have lost takes place in our conscious thoughts.  I know from personal experience, that very often we feel that because of our time spent living with illness, we have not accomplished anything special, especially when witnessing the many accomplishments and big life events of our friends and family on social media. We forget to celebrate the small victories and accomplishments that we achieve without us ever realising it; sure, they may be inconsequential to an outsider, but fellow spoonies and our close friends and family will know how big these triumphs are, especially as it shows our strength at not letting our chronic illness win and dictate our lives. So, as the prompt asks, I am going to share with you all some of the small victories and accomplishments that I have achieved during the last five years:

  1. Going on a cruise – This is probably the biggest accomplishment that I have achieved.  A lot of people are afraid of the unknown, but as fellow spoonies will relate, this fear can become worse when living with a chronic illness.  So, going on a holiday, and especially a holiday that we  have never been on before can provoke worry. What will it be like?  How am I going to feel during the cruise?  What if I become ill? A lot of questions are raised when going on holiday and a lot needs to be thought of when living with a long-term health condition.  But despite the worry and the severity of my condition at the time, I still went on the fortnight cruise and had a wonderful time

    The magnificent 'Adventure of the Seas'
    The magnificent ‘Adventure of the Seas’
  2. Going to Bath – I am a fan of Jane Austen, so it has been of one my dreams for sometime to go and visit the Bath, a city in which she lived for several years and influenced several of her novels.  And last week, I made it there.  At the time I was disappointed as the trip to the museum was the only visit I accomplished during the time, Mum and I spent there.  The rest of the trip was spent lying on the bed in the hotel as I was too unwell to do anything else.  But looking at it positively however, the trip was still an accomplishment as not only had I visited a new city that I had never been before, but I also visited someplace I wanted to go for sometime.
  3. Going to the Cinema – Due to the dizziness, going to places such as the cinema is very difficult for me, as it’s not only due to the extensive sensory overload which can make the dizziness worse and cause vertigo but due to the neurological condition, I am unable to cope with buildings which have high ceilings.  However, despite this when the film, Les Miserables came out I really wanted to go and see it as it’s one of my favourite musicals.  My carer took me to a smaller cinema, but it was still quite the ordeal and really had to battle against the dizziness and nausea.  Somewhere, despite all of this however, I managed to stay and watch the entire film and so therefore this was quite the accomplishment.BCCY6Z7CcAA0Q7e
  4. Started shopping at Next – Due to the problems with large buildings being able to go and shop in stores located in local retail parks is also extremely difficult, and as a result mostly use online shopping to buy clothes from my favourite store, Next.  However, before my cruise last year, I wanted new clothes to take with me.  So, once again I pushed myself to go in there, it was not easy and often had to leave the store and go back and sit in the car because of the severe trembling in my legs but the determination I had gave me the strength to try and try again.  Now, I regularly visit the store, even if it’s just to look around, and can even push myself to spend more time in there then I previously could.

    It's more satisfying shopping in-store than relying on the internet
    It’s more satisfying shopping in-store than relying on the internet
  5. Visiting new places – A lot of spoonies, I am sure can relate to the difficulty and worry of going somewhere we have never been before.  We spoonies often love the familiar.  Going to towns or cities which we know well is far easier when living with a chronic illness as we know where certain facilities are such as the toilet for example.  For me, suffering with severely weak legs and dizziness I often need to sit down somewhere quiet, and therefore when shopping in familiar surroundings I know where there are suitable places to take a rest.  When going to new places, however, we do not know any of these types of information, so visiting someplace new can cause worry and anxiety but during the past year or so I have managed to push myself to visit new places, which I have throughly enjoyed and although there have been problems such as legs giving way when I have not found any places to recuperate when symptoms flare, I am glad I have given myself the opportunity to experience new places and now have new places I love shopping!

What have been your recent victories and accomplishments?  Celebrate them all – even if they seem small and inconsequential!  Being a spoonie, even getting out of bed and having a shower is an achievement, especially on a bad day!

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