With pulmonary hypertension, I have been through a variety of difficult days, including days when I feel I can’t fight this disease anymore. They are the days that make me question my own physical and mental strength. On these days, I think to myself, “How could it get any worse than this?” My hardest times have taught me that even though these days seem impossible to overcome, I always do.
I find that it helps to give myself reminders to keep a positive attitude and persevere. Following are some reminders I give to myself and to friends who struggle with all types of illness, whether physical or mental.
You’re not a burden.
Many times, I worry I’m a burden to others. It’s easy to isolate myself when filled with these negative thoughts. It’s better to talk about my hard days with people who care. If I don’t open up about my symptoms, I’m a burden to my own body.
You’re worthy of rest.
Taking time to rest doesn’t mean I’m lazy. When my body tells me I need to rest, I have to listen. Without the guilt. I constantly fight with thoughts that tell me I’m not doing enough. No matter how “lazy” I feel, rest is a crucial part of healing.
This too shall pass. Just because you’re having a physically terrible day doesn’t mean it will be like this forever.
It’s difficult to recall feeling better in the midst of having a tough day. When I feel as though I’m caught up with the emotional and physical energy it takes to push through these days, I try to remember times when it was better. I remind myself that I’ve struggled before and was able to get through it. It will improve.
Reach out for support. Your support system is there for you and wants to help you.
I find it helpful to talk to my friends who truly understand what it’s like living with pulmonary hypertension or congenital heart disease. This is the group that can say “I get it” and mean it. My support group has greatly expanded, thanks to social media. The unconditional love from family, friends, and my boyfriend have helped me overcome adversity.
You are still in control of your health.
Taking care of myself means I am valuing my health even on my worst days. That’s true self-love.
Focusing on the small victories will provide you with encouragement to keep pushing forward.
I put my focus on small victories throughout the day, like getting out of bed without assistance. If I put my focus on achieving larger goals when I’m not at my best, I set myself up for failure and disappointment.
It’s your body — you can cry if you want to. It’s OK to express feelings.
Never apologize for being sensitive and showing emotions. This is difficult.
There’s no need to compare your bad day to anyone else’s.
Just because people “have it worse” doesn’t mean my suffering isn’t valid. Comparison in any form will never help me feel better.
Remind yourself why you stay strong on your hardest days.
When I am feeling defeated by my hard days, I remember those who I fight so hard for and who give me the motivation to keep “hanging in there.”
It may be hard to realize this on my most difficult days, in the midst of a breakdown or physical pain. I always remind myself not to let fears, doubt, hopelessness, and sadness convince me that I don’t matter.
On the hardest days, it’s important to hang onto these small reminders. We must try our best to find happiness, hope, and positivity, even if it seems out of reach at the moment. That’s the true strength of those of us living with chronic illness. We know that there will be terrible days, yet we continue living.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.