5 Surprising Lessons My Chronic Illness Taught Me

Early on in my chronic illness, I used to push through and ignore what my body was telling me – usually that I needed to rest! I lived in a push-crash-recover cycle for at least a couple of years. This was punishing on my body in so many ways. Then one day a friend of mine saw me pushing through a day full of pain. She asked me whether I would advise her to do the same if she was the one with a chronic illness. I stopped dead in my tracks, because the answer was a resounding NO. I would never advise someone I cared about to push through the pain and fatigue, knowing it would just result in a crash.

So why wasn’t I showing myself the same compassion? Slowly, I started to learn how to be compassionate towards myself and my body.  It started off small – giving myself permission to decline an invitation or taking a break from an activity to rest. Before long, I realised that I was actually able to be my best self when I wasn’t constantly circling the fatigue drain. I was able to be present with friends & family, and actually enjoy their company.

Once I started practising compassion towards myself, I found myself practising it more towards others. After all, if there was an unseen reason for my struggles, then other people might have the same.

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