I've been seeing so many inspirational posts from other chronic illness bloggers this week that I wanted to share them. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge and understanding here for all of us...and maybe you'll discover a new blog that you like!
True Friends in Unexpected Places
If you have lost old friends due to your chronic illness (as most of us do, sadly) or feel a lack of meaningful connections in your life, check out the excellent post at My Medical Musings about friendship and creating new connections in your life. Like the author, I, too, have started discussion forums and support groups in order to help others but have also gained new friendships and support myself. It's an inspiring post.
And if you need help in exactly HOW to find others in similar situations that you can connect with, both locally and online, check out my own article on ProHealth: Birds of a Feather: The Joys of Community, with the story of how I started a local support group and how you can find others to connect with, online and in real life.
The Five Stages of Grieving Your Diagnosis
For those still in the early days of chronic illness or who have maybe just recently received a diagnosis, Teena over at Whoa Mumma has a great post on the stages of grief, as they apply to chronic illness. Take a look at her wonderful explanation of the natural process of grief in those with chronic illness. One thing I would like to add to her beautifully written post is that these stages don't always happen in this order, and they can recur at unexpected times, even years after you are well into the Acceptance stage. As an example, I wrote this post on Mourning Losses a full 10 years after I first became ill and many years into my settling into a "new normal" and fully accepting my new life of restrictions. That's just the way grief works, and chronic illness is no exception: everyone's path is different, and a stage you finished with long ago - like anger or depression - can still take you by surprise years later. It's OK, it's normal, and you will return to your usual place of acceptance when you are ready.
Chronic Illness and Grief
A Journey Through the Fog, an ME/CFS blogger, has also written about grief this week, in her post on Chronic Illness and Grief. She writes of her own personal journey toward acceptance, including how memories and photos of "the old days" can sometimes be depressing, the emotions she's experienced as part of the grieving process, and the particular grief in losing control over your life and losing income when you can no longer work. A few years ago, I also wrote a Weekly Inspiration post about Acceptance, with some quotes that I found inspiring.
Asking for Help (and Why Everyone Needs to Learn This Important Life Skill)
Finally, A Chronic Voice (one of my favorite chronic illness blogs) has written a very important post about Asking for Help, and I agree with her that we all need to learn this skill...and get over our hang-ups about it. This was SO hard for me at the beginning - and still is to some degree - because I was used to being independent and hated the loss of control and needing help. Luckily, I had some amazing friends who didn't wait for me to ask but just helped me. I have learned over the years that most friends and family DO want to help you, but they don't know what to do and feel uncomfortable asking. That's why this life skill - asking for help - is so important. Check out A Chronic Voice's blog post on this topic, with plenty of inspiration and practical tips, too.