My apologies for my recent absence. I am sitting here fighting through my brain fog to write this piece, so I apologise also for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
I could sit here and tell you that I’ve been busy, which I guess is true to some extent.
But truth be told, I just couldn’t bring myself to write.
I hit a low point – one of those extremely low points where you cannot find one single strand of string to hold onto and live through another day. I went through a lot in a short month’s time. I dealt with heartache and the loss of a relationship I was quite fond of, I had numerous inconclusive, boring appointments, I faced issues with my Government about my health, and I naturally battled my inner Depression and Anxiety demons as a result of everything.
I was not brave enough, or well enough, to write or read.
But here I am, well into 2016 – a year I never thought I’d see come, and I thought that it was time to write.
I spent New Year’s alone, and as I sat there counting down the seconds until we “welcomed” 2016, I thought, what the heck have I done this year?
What have I achieved?
This illness, the appointments and symptoms had naturally consumed me and I was ending the year emotionally and physically battered, and alone.
Good ol’ Social Media being inundated with joyous posts from others about how much they succeeded during the year, photos of their adventures, messages to their loved ones and a list of New Year’s Resolutions that were either diet or travel related.
Of course I was jealous. I couldn’t stand it. My entire year had been a blur. I had some ups, but mostly downs.
I didn’t want to go into 2016 feeling the same… losing another year to nothing.
I’m not sure about you, but I was left questioning myself.
Was I to blame for not having achieved anything?
I thought I was strong enough already battling something that most people couldn’t dream of feeling or going through… I thought that I was trying hard enough? How much harder could I try to get better? There were so many thoughts, and then I realised that I had lost myself in trying to achieve optimum health and became an ill zombie.
I was given the bad end of the health stick, and I naturally signed my life away in an instant. Appointments and symptoms were my life now. Every time I planned to go back to work, I was stopped by another flare up and I lost myself to the feeling that I would never go back to work again.
I didn’t think that I deserved to be happy.
I didn’t know how to be sick and be happy, so I stopped living.
What I should have done was realise that I was still very much capable of achieving things. They might not be as big as other people’s achievements, but they were achievements nonetheless.
I was going to be sick for a while longer, so what was I capable of achieving?
How could I make this year a little more memorable?
How could I accept my illness and live at the same time? I had forgotten what it felt like to have muscle strain from laughing, and I had forgotten what it felt like to take a spontaneous adventure.
And all of these thoughts prompted the ultimate question, how can I be happy?
I created a Bucket List, which I prefer to call “My Living List”, and in 2016 I plan on achieving one or more things from my list and continuously adding to it.
I invite you to write one too.
I am sure that there are a handful of things that you wanted to do before you got sick, so tell me what is stopping you from achieving?
Being Chronically Ill?
Maybe some of your dreams are a little out of reach because of your current circumstances, but I assure you that there are small things you can still do. I also know that we can’t plan things, as our symptoms usually don’t cooperate with plans. But, there are small, exciting, uplifting things that you can still dream of doing.
You deserve to be happy just as much as a healthy person.
Your goals don’t have to be big or adventurous. They can be something small like getting up and out of bed, taking a few steps outside, writing a blog, doing something independently, laughing more… or you can take a leap and write your craziest, most daring dreams in hope of achieving them.
I began with a mixture of both.
There is no timeline on when the goals have to be achieved, and the best thing is that you can write blogs about your separate achievements! Share them with the blogging world! The blogging world is fantastic, so connect, make friends and help each other achieve your little goals!
I do suggest though that you don’t make the goals generic and all about your illness. Of COURSE we all want to be illness free, or manage our symptoms better, but the entire point of this is to focus on things that make us happy and give us confidence. Instead of writing “finding a cure for my illness”, I broke my goal into much smaller chunks and said “have one week nausea free”.
You have to keep your symptoms in mind, but don’t let them stop you from living. Take everything one day at a time.
I surprisingly feel much livelier already having this list to guide me through the year.
I have horrible symptom days like today, but I am really pushing myself that little bit more to get out beyond these four walls and the shadows of my illness, and live.
Take the time to sit down and write a list. Do it with a loved one, or on your own. Grow your list and start crossing these dreams off day by day, so when the end of 2016 comes we can both look back and not feel regret.
Instead, we can stand together, proud, for making the most of every as many moments as we possibly could.
Remember that if you choose to post your list to your blog, please tag “mylivinglist” so others can find you! Happy 2016 to my loyal followers. May this year bring us all better health and happiness.
Here is my own personal list that I will continue to add to:
- Get my Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care
- Get back to work casually or part time
- Go for a half an hour walk alone
- Go for an hour walk alone
- Do 10 Minutes Workouts for a month straight
- Complete the 30 Day Squat Challenge
- Start Bachelor of Early Childhood Education
- Finish Bachelor of Early Childhood Education
- Try and say yes to going out, unless you are having a 10/10 bad symptom day!
- Get a job in Childcare/as a teacher
- Write a Children’s Book
- Publish a Children’s Book
- Spontaneous Getaway
- V̶i̶s̶i̶t̶ ̶a̶ ̶F̶r̶u̶i̶t̶ ̶F̶a̶r̶m̶ ̶
- Go to a park full of beautiful trees
- Dressup for a fancy dinner
- Sleep in a tent, under the stars
- W̶r̶i̶t̶e̶ ̶a̶ ̶b̶l̶o̶g̶ ̶e̶v̶e̶r̶y̶ ̶d̶a̶y̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶s̶e̶v̶e̶n̶ ̶d̶a̶y̶s̶ ̶
- Hit 2000 Followers
- Drive for an hour
- Drive independently
- Tolerate more vitamins and less unnatural medication
- Dance to Flo Rida’s “Sugar” Hiphop Routine
- Go overseas
- Don’t hold onto negative energy and hate
- Makeup and hair makeover
- Have professional photos taken
- Go to dinner with Childcare girls
- Go to dinner with Red girls
- Go to dinner with Spotless girls
- Have one week nausea free
- Have one week dizzy free
- No alcohol for two years
- Be able to say “I feel better in the stomach”
- One more piercing (eight as a total)
- Tattoo to signify strength
- Go to three football matches
- Cook something organic and yummy
- Volunteer at Royal Children’s Hospital
- Start Foundation for Invisible Illness
- Visit my overseas blog friends
- Visit a shopping centre alone
- Go to a spa retreat
- Conquer a Ferris Wheel (when less dizzier)
- Sing for an audience
- Read an entire novel
- Visit the zoo
- Donate toys to Christmas Tree
- Move out of home
- Start Pilates
- Don’t go to sleep angry!
- Have all of my certificates framed
- Eat one of those fancy burgers advertised everywhere
- Dye hair entirely blonde
- Go camping
- Eat waffles (gluten free waffles?)
- Walk barefoot on a tropical beach
- Pay for someone else’s groceries
- Learn more Italian words
- Catch a train or bus independently
- Be confident to take a photo of myself every day for thirty days
- Romantic kiss in the rain
- Attend as many birthdays as possible
- Meet someone famous
- Eat from a Food Truck
- Write for a magazine
- Learn to swim
- Refrain from using Social Media for a week
- Have one specialist say “you have made improvements”
- Be healthy enough to donate blood
- Visit the snow
- Go to a Dressup party
- Cut out coffee from my diet entirely
- Make/try Kombucha tea
- Hit 100+ Facebook page Followers!
- Write fifteen poetry pieces
- Make a difference in someone’s life
- Laugh until my chest aches
- Grow Strawberries!