What if my pain is worse tomorrow? What if I can’t sleep? What if I have a reaction to my new medication?
What if my condition worsens?
What if I contract COVID-19?
What if my friends or family won’t understand why I need to continue to self isolate when pandemic restrictions are lifted?
What if I have a fall? What if I need more surgery?
What if I’m too sick to have a necessary procedure?
What if this, what if that?
We all ask “what if?” during the course of our lives. It’s a normal thing to do but it can be exhausting rabbit warren.
The healthy and the chronically ill alike, are plagued with times of worry, concern and overwhelming moments of “what if?”
Living with a chronic illness does tend to make the “what ifs” seem a little louder and worrisome at times.
We are already living with the “what ifs” of general life issues.
The worry of becoming ill or disabled has happened. It’s now our “what is”.
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.
Finding Peace in “What Is”
Living with a chronic disease can be like living your worst nightmare, if we let it.
One thing I have learned over the years of living with a rare disease, is you just can’t live with the “what ifs”. Not if you want to find a sense of peace and joy.
The “what ifs” are paralyzing, soul destroying. They will leave you so mentally disabled you will never experience the joys that can be found when you cease asking “what if” and start focusing on “what is”.
Look around you. Acknowledge your current challenges. It’s so important. Being in denial only causes longer term problems but don’t forget to count your blessings. Name them. Write them down.
As the “what ifs” threaten to bring a storm cloud into your life, taking stock of all that is good and perfect, all that is true, will help bring you back into the moment of reality.
The reality is “what is”.
Life may not be perfect but it’s still your life. Your life to be lived to the fullest within the bounds of your physical limitations.
If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present.
Let’s For A Moment Consider The Positive Side Of A Chronic Illness Life
While I have many real daily challenges associated with living with a rare disease, let’s for a moment take a look at the positive side of “what is” for those with Chronic Illness.
●You overcome pain and fatigue every day even if you feel like you don’t;
●You live with it, you manage it, you have amazing strength;
●You have incredible empathy for others who experience hardship;
●You have determination and courage;
●You love life, you cling to it and you find ways daily to enjoy it as best you can…even if that means resting on the couch enjoying your favourite TV show;
●You enjoy the simple things in life and you cherish them. Things like flowers blooming, that others may never notice. You notice the intricate colours and the way the blooms open and close;
●You never take anything for granted;
●You know life can be uncertain but you know that change can bring new opportunities;
●You know that tough times happen, but you also know the intensity of those times does pass and joy returns.
If you are experiencing a season of asking “what if?” and worrying about the future, acknowledge your concerns but then take a break from that question and focus on “what is”.
“What is” allows you to break free from unnecessary despair.
It allows you to breathe more deeply and evenly.
It allows you to think more clearly and conserve your energy.
“What is” helps you focus on the real challenges you might be facing, not ones that may never happen.
Use your limited energy to deal with issues in the here and now.
Maintaining your focus on the present, and achieving something today in regards to current real issues, will give you a sense of control and well-being.
Live with “what is” and leave the “what ifs”, which may never happen, behind you.
Remember if there is something you don’t like in the “what is”, without the “what ifs” crowding your thoughts, you may actually find the strength and ability to make necessary changes in your life.
A richer, fuller life, despite chronic illness, can and will emerge in the land of “what is”.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6 v 34 (NIV)
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, 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.