Disappointments come to us all. They are part of life. As hard as they are to endure they can make the special moments in life seem even more precious. They also often teach us valuable life lessons.
Despite that knowledge, we still need to live through life’s disappointments. We need to find ways to survive them.
While no one is immune from disappointments, when you live with a chronic disease they can sometimes feel like the absolute last straw.
The Disappointment Scale
I’m not going to pretend I have any amazing solutions to dealing with disappointments. I have however, definitely had quite a bit of experience with my chronic illness creating chaos and unexpected life changing twists and turns.
I’m in the middle of a series of disappointing circumstances at the moment. Sometimes they seem like a gift that keeps on giving and not the welcome kind.
Disappointments tend to have a scale in my world. They are either minor, moderate or major.
Let me give you an example of where my current disappointments sit on my scale;
- Mild – Unable to help my husband decorate for Christmas because I’m recovering from back surgery.
- Moderate – Unable to spend a lot of time with our family recently when they visited from interstate. Again because of recovering from spinal surgery and the pain of my bone disease.
- Major – We have to sell our home in the New Year as my medical expenses continue to spiral due to my chronic illness.
Categorising disappointments does a couple of things.
Firstly, it identifies them which helps me understand why I might be feeling a bit melancholy.
Secondly, it helps me begin to work on a change of mindset in relation to my disappointments.
Thirdly, it creates a call to action, where needed, to begin embracing changes required.
Turning Disappointments Into Opportunities
Now not all disappointments will become an opportunity for change in a physical sense.
They can be used to change how we think about a situation though and that provides opportunity for personal growth.
So here is how I’m approaching my 3 disappointments. Keep in mind I have to work at this and so will you with your own scenarios. You can’t just flick a switch and all disappointments will magically be gone.
So, my responses to each disappointment are:
- Mild – I’m so grateful I have my husband to decorate. We are keeping it all simple this year so I can help him with a table top tree. I’ll be able to reach it without damaging my back or hindering surgery recovery. I keep reminding myself in the big scheme of things this is a very minor disappointment. I can let it go.
- Moderate – I so wanted to spend more time with our family. It’s hard to shake this disappointment off. I need to hold onto the memories of the special times we did spend together. The love and laughter that filled our home when they visited still remains and when I think of that a huge smile fills my heart. Moments may be small but they can be full of so much quality and that’s what counts. Changing my mindset to one of thankfulness for those precious moments, does make a moderate looming disappointment become milder. That’s progress which is what matters when dealing with unavoidable disappointments.
- Major – This one is not easy. I’m not super attached to the bricks and mortar of our home but the thought of physically moving is awful. I’m not opposed to renting, which is what we will need to do, but the thought of a lease not being renewed after 6 or 12 months and further moves ahead….it petrifies me. Physically I’m just not capable. My body needs security yet the irony is it’s my body that is forcing us into this situation. Ongoing medical bills, needing a low set home and space to move around with mobility equipment more easily, are all real needs that are creating this major disappointment.
Tackling A Major Disappointment Head On
I’ve looked at my major disappointment of needing to sell our home from every angle. If I analyse it any further I’m sure I’ll go mad!!
There is no other solution but to accept it. I will feel emotional pain with this disappointment. It’s a normal healthy response to a life changing decision, forced on my husband and I, due to chronic disease. It’s not easy to swallow.
But it’s not impossible.
Moving towards it little by little begins to make it my new reality. We’ve picked the listing month to put our home on the market. We’ve found an agent we like, trust and who will ensure my health and disability are accommodated throughout the selling process. We have a huge sense of relief about that.
We have a rough idea of where we will rent, the cost, the type of home and availability. We are praying we will find a landlord who is open to long term tenants.
Every now and again we think about buying another home but our budget doesn’t stretch to a house that accommodates our needs, so we have to accept that door is closed.
I must admit I keep peeking in the “closed door” just to make sure but I keep getting the same answer.
Acceptance Alongside Disappointment
As we begin to walk through our disappointment, by acknowledging it and looking at ways to deal with it, acceptance will come alongside and begin to provide clarity of thought and new direction.
It almost becomes a partnership. The hurt and disappointment eventually turns to the hope and opportunities that change can bring.
Chronic Illness will always bring us unexpected and unwanted packages. How we deal with these can make a difference to both our physical and mental well being. Allowing disappointments to linger for longer than necessary can so quickly drag us down.
If you are experiencing a season of disappointments I hope my “Disappointment Scale” of mild, moderate and major, helps you work through how best to approach life’s challenges.
Feel the pain, acknowledge the consequences of the disappointment and begin to look for ways to think differently about the situation. Where possible make plans to take action to implement necessary changes.
Disease may make disappointments more difficult but, with a change of mindset and a base plan, I so hope you find it’s not impossible to deal with them when they arise.
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, a place to share your seasonal changes & challenges, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
I’m also a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women
This post was shared at the Salt and Light Linkup Group