With chronic illness comes mourning and grieving. It is natural to have these feelings. I think we all do in the beginning and even later on. It just feels like who we Are isn’t able to manifest fully in the world. All that potential and possibility is halted…
Grieving our former selves
It isn’t uncommon with chronic illness to grieve our former selves. But I have been chronically ill for a long time. This didn’t apply to me as much when I was younger because I had pain and symptoms at a young age. Sort of had to adapt a self to fit that. However, as I got older other chronic illnesses jumped on board. And then I would grieve the functionality I had HAD. And what I used to be able to do.
Mourning what we could have been
Most definitely I used to grieve for who I COULD have been. The what if’s of it all. I had to make compromises, which were necessary, but I think about what it would have been like if I had never had chronic pain. Never had to make those choices. What would have things been like?
I grieved for the loss of the life I wanted and the future I desired and cannot have.
I grieved that I cannot do the things that I actually enjoy and fulfill the ambitions that I have.
I grieved for all the potential that was there but could never come to fruition.
It felt like a loss.
It felt like I was slicing parts of myself out with all the compromises I had to make. Cutting out ambitions. Cutting down possibilities. Cutting out my wants, desires and goals. Narrowing my life down.
Awareness that who I am is more than the vision I had
I don’t feel this way anymore. I am past this stage. I think because I don’t want to be in it. I just wanted to Be. And accept that I can be. And find some contentment with that.
All these could be’s and What if’s are not what actually IS. Life has a way of turning out differently than our expectations all the time. It is all twisty turny. And chronic illness and chronic pain are just one factor that alters my path through life. Many other things have as well.
There is this awareness of accepting who I am now and my current lifestyle and limitations, my current sense of self and self-identity… that lets me move within that. What possibilities, goals, desires and wants do I seek in this framework of my existence that is realistic? What are my passions? Desires? Needs? What will improve my quality of life and life satisfaction?
In a way, my view of life when I was younger was far more limited. I wanted a job I was passionate about, yes. But I didn’t think of the quality of life, well-being, or life satisfaction. I didn’t think of life and myself as a Whole. Just fragments. This thing. And that thing. And who knows if any of that would have led to any sense of satisfaction? I don’t. I just had a checklist of things I felt would make life complete. And none of it really would have.
This life is Complicated. That is one word for it. Complicated.
Health issues are complicated. Its limitations complicate things. Complicate how I manifest in the world- how I move in the world, how I pursue goals, wants, desires. But I try to adapt to that and work within it. And I find things I am capable of to make new dreams. There is nothing inherently wrong with this path in life. It is different, yes. Society has ‘issues’ with disabilities, for certain. I have meaning and purpose and many valuable things in this life. I have good friends. Good family. Hobbies I am passionate about. Things, like blogging, I value doing.
Just because a life is different and one people do not understand much about doesn’t make it bad. I just stopped thinking about all those infinite alternate realities that just never were and never will be. And I don’t even remember when I stopped doing this. But I did. And I am glad for that because it pained me to think about loss and this idea that I was in some way a Lack of what I Should be. That isn’t a way I want to think about myself.