Today’s prompt was a tricky one for me, as tooting my own horn is something I find incredibly difficult. I gave up playing the trumpet aged 8 for starters, so to try and get a tune out of it again now at 31, well it would just be disastrous.
I always was shy and unassuming, but since my diagnosis my lack of self-confidence took a major nosedive. I was suddenly thrust into the murky depths of an illness I couldn't begin to understand; my body had changed in seemingly every way possible, I felt physically and mentally unappealing, and my outlook on life had changed almost beyond recognition seemingly overnight. It was terrifying.
Sometimes it still is.
Occasionally I'm hit with a stark reminder of how much my life has changed since Crohn's slithered into it, and in those moments I feel the fear and panic I did back then all over again. I regress 7 years in an instant and my panic at the unknown is palpable.
So, in answer to WEGO Health’s question, I’d say one of my proudest accomplishments has been overcoming my fear, and entering the world as a ‘diseased’ person with something more than just trepidation; something like enthusiasm and courage.
I've learnt, (slowly), that living day to day with a chronic illness is something that requires a lot of work, both mentally and physically. That I must learn to listen to my body and accept that sometimes it might be best for my health in the long term, to slow down.
I've learnt that there is no shame in admitting you need help, and that accepting that help isn't a sign of weakness, but one of strength. An ‘accomplishment’ to someone with an incurable and chronic illness can be something as small as making it through a full day without needing a nap. Or managing to go out with friends and not feeling utterly exhausted after an hour. That may seem poultry to some, but to me it's a little piece of daily encouragement that helps me to keep my head up when I feel at my weakest.
This post was written as part of WEGO Health's Activist Writers Monthly Challenge - #HAWMC