There are days when having a chronic illness feels like too much to handle. Days when the physical symptoms and discomfort make it seem as though my own body isn’t connected to me, and the emotional toll is too much to bear.
On these days, I give up control and allow my “frustration voice” to become loud in my mind. When this happens, I don’t use my oxygen as I should and I fail to take medications. I give up control when I go out more times than I know I should and wonder why I feel so awful the next day. I give up control when the only emotions I dwell on are frustration, anger, and sadness. If I am feeling too weak due to the mental and physical toll, it’s easier to tell my body, “You win.”
Even on my hardest days, there’s a place inside me that continues to fight, despite an overpowering voice in my head that says to just give in. This is where my “fighting voice” comes in. When it feels impossible to keep pushing forward, I have to remind myself of the things that I still have control over.
Feeling a sense of control over my life allows me to think more clearly and motivates me to pull myself back up after an emotional breakdown. The greatest type of control I have over my conditions is the choice to take care of myself, even on my hardest days. My fighting voice tells me to use my oxygen as I should, take all medications at the appropriate times, slow down when I need to, and find ways to feel happiness.
When I am stuck in the middle of emotions, the frustration voice and the fighting voice conflict My frustration voice is the side of me that is so overly fed up with how I have been feeling physically. It’s the side that tries to convince me that there is no point in doing what I am supposed to do if this condition is never going to go away. It’s the part that makes me think “screw it all, I might as well just do what I want and live how I want.”
In these moments, I convince myself that I am taking control back by not wearing my oxygen and not taking my medications. The fact is that an act of rebellion — whipping off my oxygen cannula and refusing to take necessary medications — makes me feel a false sense of control. By doing the wrong things to my body, I am letting my condition have the best of me. Not only am I falsely gaining “control,” but in the end, I am just hurting myself. Ironically, I am not in control at all.
The fighting voice inside me reminds me of exactly what I need to do to keep pushing forward. It reminds me to slow down and think about how I should be caring for myself. When I use my fighting voice, I am thinking of all the benefits that oxygen brings to my life.
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I am thinking of gaining back the ability to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without seeing black spots. I am thinking about the medication that is working by reducing the workload of my heart, even if I can’t notice an immediate relief. I am thinking about the importance of slowing down and finding happiness in the small things throughout the day. My fighting voice allows me to feel content with staying in and watching movies with my friends on a Saturday night if that’s what my body truly wants me to do.
Even though on some days the frustration voice is louder than others, I am always brought back to reality with the help of the fighting voice that is still within me. It’s the one that saves me from being stuck in a state of despair and depression. On the days when I start believing in a false sense of control, it reminds me that the real control is in choosing to do the right things for my health. The fighting voice, even if it’s quieter on some days, is always there. It’s up to me to listen for it.
Do you have days when you feel as though you are having trouble remaining in control? Do you notice a frustration voice? What does your frustration voice try to convince you? Do you have a fighting voice that helps you gain back a sense of control? Join the conversation in our PH News forums.
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.