3 Lessons From Finding Community Support for Chronic Illness

3 Lessons From Finding Community Support for Chronic Illness

Ask most anyone with a chronic illness and they will tell you just how isolating and lonely it is. If we allow ourselves, we can become silos where we begin to think no one knows or understands what we’re going through.

Find out how finding community support for chronic illness can support you when you’re down.

This month, I was so excited to find Sheryl over at A Chronic Voice. Once a month, she hosts a ‘linkup party’ where chronic illness bloggers share their personal stories for multiple different prompts.

This amazing opportunity allows us to read about and understand the lives of others who are living with chronic illness. Mostly, it allows us to feel, even for a little while, like we’re not alone in our fight.

I look forward to sharing my personal story with you. And be sure to click through to the October home page where you can find blog posts of others who have shared their stories.

This isn’t just for me, though. I want to help you, too.

Help you to:

  • Find community support for your chronic illness in the wide world of the internet
  • Feel like you’re not alone in your struggles
  • Connect with others in your situation

At the end, I’ll share three valuable lessons with you to help you through rough times. You can also read these bible verses if you’re looking for comfort during the hard times.

Without further ado, here we go! My response to the first prompt is a little long, but it feeds directly into the second two, so stick with me!

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Finding a community like you

Parting

You could be parting with a loved one or a pet whether by choice or not. Perhaps parting with summer/winter leaves you feeling happy or sad. You could also be leaving your country, firing a bad doctor, parting from certain bad habits, or objects of sentimental value.

This one is particularly poignant for me as I am mentally working through ‘parting’ from my career in the professional setting.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was the director of our county’s election division. I had participated in or directly oversaw the operation of more than 20 local, state, and federal elections. It was a job that I truly LOVED!

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However, I had also developed Fibromyalgia, CFS, POTS, and a particularly nasty migraine disorder. I knew the stress of the job was not sustainable so I made the heartbreaking decision to change jobs.

And luckily, I found another job I LOVED as an evidence technician at our county’s sheriff’s office. A short year later, though, it had become obvious to my husband and I that I need to make dramatic changes to my stress level if I was going to be able to live my life in any reasonable way.

As someone who built a lot of self-worth into my accomplishments and abilities at work, my pride has taken a massive blow because of this ‘parting’.

However, I’m now happily pursuing my passion for supporting women with chronic illness (as well as stepmothers) to live their lives to the best of their ability. So, for all the negative emotion this parting has caused, it has opened up doors that I didn’t think were possible a few months ago.

Additionally, the improvement in my physical and mental health is absolutely remarkable! I am still mourning the loss of my previous careers, but I’m celebrating the bright future it has brought.

Persevering

It can be difficult to persevere and achieve your goals when you live in pain all the time. Perhaps you are persevering with a certain treatment even though the symptoms are shady, or end results unknown. You could also be persevering with your studies, acquisition of a new skill, coping with a tough period or horrendous pain.

As mentioned previously, I recently found myself in a position where I was completely re-inventing my future.

With nothing but an idea and a little hope, I started The Winding Willows. And let me tell you, there is a lot that goes into starting a blog.

And it’s not easy for an introvert to share so much of themselves to other people. It helps that I’m doing it remotely through the medium of writing.

Additionally, I’m about 99% sure I’m working more hours now that I was before I resigned my job. But I can say with absolute certainty that I’m enjoying this season of persevering.

I love a good challenge. And I love being able to work in my own environment and take a sick day if I need it. Without the guilt!

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Loving

The world needs more love, I think we can all agree on that at least?! Maybe you need to fill your own cup up this month. Or maybe you want to show your friends and family more love, and vice versa. How you show it is also another question in itself! There are also various levels of love. Perhaps you are craving for affection, intimacy, or purely platonic vibes.

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I have never been a fan of change for change’s sake. I enjoy re-evaluating and improving. Re-arranging to make something work or feel better is a specialty of mine. But I don’t like giving something up just to see what happens.

And that is what giving up my job felt like. I was giving up something important that I loved in the hopes of finding improvements in my health.

It so happens that I did find those improvements. But I didn’t know I would at the time. And I definitely knew that we were going to be cutting it tight, family-budget-wise.

So imagine my surprise in finding that I am loving this season of change.

I’m loving my health improvements.

I’m loving having emotional energy to invest in my family.

And I’m loving investing time and energy into building a platform I believe in.

So instead of calling this the season of change, I’m calling it the season of love!

Pulling it all together

So, you’ve read this whole post and hopefully found some amount of support in the community of chronic illness that you can associate with. Specifically, that people in the chronic illness community know what you’re going through because they’ve dealt with it, too.

Maybe my struggle in finding my new future resonates with you.

Or perhaps you have been persevering through a new challenge.

Whatever the case is, I think there are lessons to learn when working through exercises like this. For example, I didn’t realize, until writing this, how grateful I am for a situation that seemed pretty bleak in the beginning.

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Lessons Learned

When we’re struggling or having a bad day, I hope we can remember these things:

  • Parting (or closed doors) can lead to happy endings
  • Persevering doesn’t have to be painful. It can even be fun
  • You can find something to love in life even when it doesn’t seem likely
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If nothing else, maybe we can work through this exercise if we’re particularly struggling. I know I certainly will be.

Don’t forget to click through to read other’s responses to these prompts.

You can follow me on Facebook to read about and interact with other chronic illness fighters! We’re all about community support for Chronic Illness!

References:

Fibro Women Blogs

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Chronic Woman Blogs

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Chronic Illness Blogs

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Official Fibromyalgia Blogs

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Fibromyalgia Stores

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Fibromyalgia Social

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