Missing Your Old Life

January 21, 2017

When you're diagnosed with a chronic illness the doctors don't tell you there is a grieving process.  I'm not sure if they even know.


For me it started gradually and then one day it hit me. My life has forever changed. I started to mentally list all of the things I could no longer do such as clean the house in one day or make it through work without sneaking a nap during lunch in my car. It was a frustrating realization.


I stared to feel worthless. I felt I could no longer contribute to my family, to my friends, to society. I slipped into a depression. I thought "This is it. This is my life forever. Pain and exhaustion". We'll it wasn't.


A healthy way to deal with this is to grieve your old self. I realized it's okay to do less. It's okay to say no to people. It's ok to take care of yourself. Once I did this I started to feel better. I actually wrote an Energy Obituary which you can read here.


As I was letting go, my new self started to emerge. I became a better me. I became more patient, more compassionate, more understanding. I didn't set unattainable goals. That in itself made for less disappointment. I embraced the new me.


You would think that the grieving and change would stop there. It doesn't. Something happened to me that I didn't expect. My RA went into remission. Don't get me wrong, that news was incredible.  Again though, I needed to change. I needed to grieve this new me.


I thought that because I could do more I would go right back to the me I was in the beginning.  So not the case. My perspective had changed. The same things weren't important.  If anything my old priorities seemed trivial.  I had my life back and I was damn sure going to live it.


This whole post has come about because I am still recovering from getting both knees replaced last year. Once again I had to grieve the active life I was given back. I have to find my place in this world again. Embrace another new me. I am up for it and I am excited.


Remember, what you used to do does not define you. It's how you handle these changes that does. This is something I am actually teaching my daughter. A few days ago, at the age of 13, she was diagnosed with connective tissue disease. She has a long journey ahead of her and will be just fine. Her biggest fan knows just what she’s going through and just what she needs.  




Please reload

The information on this site should not be used in place of, but rather to compliment directives from your healthcare professional.