I love to keep busy. Ever since I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH) in 2017, I have been keen to fill my days and avoid the listless feeling that comes from having little planned.
In last week’s column, I wrote about my decision to take a step back from work. Now, I find myself in a bit of a life pause. I plan to find work that will be less stressful and more conducive to a healthy, happy life, but in the meantime, I have time and space to think, reassess, and breathe.
Normally, not having much to do would make me uncomfortable, but I am learning to appreciate the joy of having time to do things slowly and mindfully.
One of the most valuable parts has been having the time to look after myself physically. I have more time to cook myself nice meals and enjoy the act of cooking as a therapeutic and rewarding experience, rather than a chore that prevents me from getting on with the “important” stuff.
I’ve also been able to nurture some of my creative hobbies. I have spent time watercolor painting, which I loved to do growing up. Hobbies often fall away with the hectic nature of adult life, particularly if you work full time — but they are an important part of our identity and creative expression.
One of the hardest parts of chronic illness is that it can strip us of our identity. PH has taken away my career dreams and other activities I loved, such as running. So, it’s been important for me to focus on creative outlets, which help me rebuild my sense of self.
I also now have time to do meaningful activities I really care about, such as engaging with the PH community. I was isolated from this while working full time in an intense job. I felt disconnected and alone in the health struggles I was facing.
Interacting with other people living with PH is a really important part of processing my illness, which I’m still doing three years after my diagnosis.
It’s easy to live in denial when you fill every minute of your day. But slowing down and enjoying this pause has allowed me to reconnect with the reality of my condition in a positive and rewarding way. I look forward to using my newfound free time to create more PH content that those living with this illness will hopefully find helpful.
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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.
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