I follow Clarissa Shepherd on Facebook. She is a special person, adored by chronic illness sufferers; also a favorite of advocates – of which I am one, since my daughter lives with her invisible chronic illness on a minute to minute basis.
Clarissa suffers from (and with) more than one chronic illness; and yet, she is a staunch fighter on her own personal level, and also a supporter of all those who live daily with their symptoms and the social stigma associated with their diseases. Clarissa covers just about every symptom and reasons why and suggests how to deal with it all. She shares herself totally, and gladly does so, in order to help anyone suffering with the challenges chronic illness can throw at a patient.
The following is a recent post Clarissa shared with everyone who follows her on her public Facebook page, and I felt impelled to share it with all my followers on WordPress. In my humble opinion, it considers not only those who deal with the daily challenges of chronic illness, but also those of us who do not – just dealing with life in general can be a great challenge to many.
Allow Your Spirit To Soar
Those of us surviving chronic illness walk a very different road [from] most. Functioning, while living with pain, exhaustion, brain fog, sensory overload and more. Then add in the loneliness, isolation, anxiety and depression and you find yourself overwhelmed by it all. It’s not only about where we are today, but about how long we’ve been here. Unlike some illness, when we speak of ours, it’s in terms of years, not days or weeks. We all suffer the loss of things undone, lives not lived, events missed, and the days yet to come. Being misunderstood by society, friends, and family, can lead to a place of despair.
However, it’s in the place of sadness and darkness that you find your true strength. You learn to flourish, even in your pain. You find new and creative ways to live. You appreciate the simple things of life that most people take for granted. In order to survive chronic illness, we must shift our thinking, concerning what productive, now means to us. Your limitations are, just that, limitations. We need not allow other people, nor society, to define us or impose their ideas of self-worth onto us.
You are a vital human being. This illness is not of your own making. It’s not who you are. It’s just where you are. You show your strength and courage with each breath you take, every obstacle you overcome, each time you learn new ways to cope. You are fearless, even in your pain.
When you hear those voices of defeat speaking to you, tell yourself that you’re not defeated by this. You’re only learning to maneuver on a different path. Realizing this is empowering. Know you’re courageous, even when you don’t feel you are. Know you’re strong, even when you don’t feel you are. Know that living life, in a different way, is not giving in or giving up. It’s regaining power, that was already within you. You’ve grown and flourished despite, chronic illness. You show your bravery, by staring illness in the face, moving through it each and every day, with grace and perseverance. We walk this journey together. A kinship, of the heart. A combination of many different people from many different backgrounds, yet one in spirit. There is strength in numbers and for us, knowledge is power. Be kind to yourself. Respect who you are. Love the person that you’ve grown to be.
My wish for you, is that you will see this in yourself. That you’ll bask in this truth and that this truth will rest on you, settle in you, and allow your spirit to soar.
[Clarissa’s image from Facebook]
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[other mages from bingdotcom]