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5 things to do when facing chronic illness

How to manage your life when your living with a chronic illness.

I have been dealing with an undiagnosed illness for a number of years now. It has been frustrating dealing with something and not knowing what to call it. The symptoms are there. The pain is there. The fatigue is there. I can see and feel the effects of what is happening to my body. I just cannot put a name to it. Without a name I cannot treat it effectively.

You may be dealing with something in your life today that is draining you.  The very existence of the illness, struggle, and pain is effecting you in a negative way.

Wouldn’t it be freeing to own your pain and life your life to the fullest?
bathmate-medical-researchOver the last several years the pain in my body has left me feeling like I would die. There are days that I cannot move. There are days that I am brought low by the weight of my symptoms. It can be a struggle, but it is something that I have to live with.

Even though I have to live with chronic illness, I do not have to succumb to it. I can take charge of my life and start to remove that which hurts me and steals my joy. I have to protect my physical body, my emotional self, and my mental health.

Even though I have to live with chronic illness I do not have to succumb to it. 

Sometimes protecting myself means that I have to discover the issue and take the appropriate steps to either change the situation, change my perspective on the situation, or remove the situation from my life. It means that I have to take action, even if I do not know the thing I am dealing with.

[clickandtweet handle=”@jim_burgoon” hashtag=”” related=”jimburgoon.org” layout=”card” position=””]We have to take charge of our lives and live the best life we can.[/clickandtweet]

So what do you do when you are dealing with a chronic illness?

1. Accept your illness for what it is. You have to understand that I am NOT my illness. I have to deal with my illness. It is part of my life until I die or it is miraculously cured. Those are facts. I do not have to be controlled by my illness. I accept that facts, but the truth is that I am more than my illness. I am more than my problems. I will accept that I have to deal with the chronic illness. I will not accept that the chronic illness controls me.

2. Learn your limitations and live within them. With every illness there are limitations. If I overexert myself, I will face extreme fatigue for days. If I am in the sun for a long time, I will wrestle with a sickness for 2 days. If I eat gluten, I am sick for a week or two. These are my limitations. They are not life ending issues. I live within my limitations. I don’t go out in the sun unless I am covered up. I don’t eat ANYTHING with gluten in it. I learn where the limits of my physical body are. I rest more. When I am living within my limitations I find that I am at my best.

3. Learn to lean on people. One of the hardest things when you live with a chronic issue is our interactions with people. I don’t like to sound as if I am complaining all the time. I don’t like talking about my issue over and over again. Every conversation goes to these places. I have had to accept the fact that it is because people care about me that they ask. I have also had to accept the fact that I have to let them care for me. Recently, I allowed someone to clean the house for me. I tried to clean before they came. I was stupid. People want to help me. I have to learn to allow them to.

4. Learn to lean on your Faith. This is huge for me. My faith in Jesus has been the pivotal cornerstone of my life. I do not think I would ever have been able to do half of what I do without Him. I believe that the Christian faith is true. I believe that it changes lives. I learn to lean on my faith and I have watched my quality of life greatly increase. It doesn’t remove all my issues. My faith does give me the sense that I am not alone. That God, who loves me, is with me giving me the strength to live this life.

5. Enjoy your life. People with chronic illness have to be constantly reminded of this. We spend so much time thinking about our illness that we forget that there is a life outside of our illness. So my friend let me make it simple: LEARN TO HAVE FUN! Do what you enjoy. It’s your life and you need to make it the best that you can within the limitations you have.

You will have good days and bad days.  That is the ebbs and flows of chronic illness. Take it in stride. Enjoy your good days. Live it up! Rest on your bad days.

You cannot give up.

Piper Kernan once said, “You spend a lot of time thinking about how awful the prison is rather than envisioning your future.

It’s time to look to the future and not the prison of the present.

The bottom line: This is your life. Live it!

Question: What are some ways that you have managed your chronic illness? Join the conversation. Comment below!

About the Author Jim

  • Iona says:

    Good morning Jim, thank you for creating a blog that speaks on this topic. As you are aware I am in the same boat as you suffering from chronic pain and can’t get a diagnoses.

    I manage my Chronic illness by avoiding certain things that will stimulate or should I say wake up my nerves and cause me pain. The weather plays a huge part in what my pain level will be. I try avoid going out in the rain or cold. I have to sleep with a heating pad on my back and or legs every night. Heat gives me some temporary relief. I can’t take showers only baths because the drops of water falling down to my arm sparks up the nerves and causes excruciating pain and I don’t allow people to touch my right forearm ever!!

    I am also very careful with the type of clothing I wear, for example I know that wearing jeans makes my lower extremities feel discomfort and causes at times spasms and or wearing loose fitting dresses that gently glide or touch my legs create weird feeling sensations in my body and pain. It’s hard to avoid some of these like the weather, but, I try.

    I deal with two chronic illness, one is an incomplete spinal cord injury. This illness has caused nerve damage and the inability to feel and or feel high pain levels and the second one is… Well, I have no idea and neither do the doctor’s. Pain and inflammation in my joints, stomach bloating and severe pain, and digestive issues. With this one I try to avoid gluten, anything fried, eating large meals, and tight clothing around my waist.

    Sorry I’ve shared so much and I appreciate this blog. Thank you Jim and praying we find out what the heck is wrong!

    • Jim says:

      Never be sorry! One of the reasons I created this blog is to allow people a platform to interact with the content in dynamic ways. Interaction can be through straight reactions to the content or reacting to other readers. I want to develop a place for an online commuity to encourage and lift one another up!


      Having chronic pain is no fun, but it doesn’t have to decrease the ability to enjoy life. I am still working through my issues. They have discovered one of the issues, but there are others that they cannot figure out, but I have hope!

      Keep fighting the battle! Stay Strong! Pray Hard! Spread the word and bring hope to others!

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