In recent years, I have heard the words “you’ll get used to it” more times than I can count. It’s as if my body and mind are programmed to adapt to whatever may come next.
Trying to adapt to what life throws my way prompts a range of feelings. At times, I feel that hope is out of reach. In other moments, hope has allowed me to keep pushing on.
With so much about my health and treatments unknown, I have no choice but to accept changes when they happen. My “normal” is constantly evolving, for better or worse. Talking about the emotions caused by physical and mental pain, finding a silver lining in each change, and trying to stay as present in the moment as possible have helped me to adapt and to accept whatever occurs.
Dealing with major physical changes has been one of the hardest things to adapt to and to accept. Seeing the physical signs of exhaustion when I look in the mirror, noticing my weight on the scale gradually decreasing, and feeling fatigue deep within my bones make some days really difficult. I have learned that I don’t have much control of how I feel on most days. I don’t control the good days, and I certainly can’t wish the bad ones away.
I can more easily accept the condition of my health when I am honest with myself and others about how my body feels and what changes I’m experiencing. Pushing my physical pain, discomfort, and fatigue to the side doesn’t change anything. If anything, hiding within my feelings isolates me further and causes more bodily stress. It’s comforting to talk about how I feel physically and about the challenges I may be facing as a result. Often, the biggest obstacle I face in terms of my changing body is my own mind.
When I experience physical or mental changes, my mind can either leave me feeling defeated for days, or it can be a great tool in changing my perspective. When something unpredictable happens in my life, my immediate thoughts shift to a negative mindset.
I think about what I might be missing out on as a result of the change in my “normal.” I concentrate on all that is still ahead, and I let my mind slip into a state of anxiety, panic, and discouragement. During these moments, it is helpful to acknowledge that I am stuck in this pattern of thinking. Allowing me to see where my worries and frustrations are helps me to move through them.
I try to ask myself, “How could this new version of ‘normal’ end up helping me? How can this better assist me in reaching my goals? How is this helping my physical state and taking less stress off my body?” Something that seems scary might turn out to be something I really needed. Focusing on the silver lining in each situation and trying to find the good in it allows me to be more present and shifts my focus from worrying about things that are too far in the future.
The truth is that everyone’s life is constantly changing. Nobody knows exactly what each minute of the day will bring, and sometimes life can throw some serious curveballs. With chronic illness, my “normal” constantly shifts and changes, bringing about new mental and physical challenges. When I’m open and honest with myself and others and try to focus on growth, I can better accept each changing “normal.”
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.
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