This is a sponsored post by Age UK Mobility.
Acceptance. For me, it’s a word – a concept – that has changed my life. Over the past 8 years, I’ve dealt with a chronic illness that has threatened to consume me. Illness is often described like a “fight” or “battle” to be won or lost. And in a battlefield, acceptance is not an option. But, your body is not a battlefield. Your body is your home, and you need to love it.
I urge you today. Put down your weapons. Do what you need to do. Buy the walking stick, talk to the people closest to you, or even consider getting a stair lift installed. Accept yourself and your life will change.
I’ve learnt many things from my chronic illness – I’ve gained patience, empathy and strength. I’ve endured and I’ve fought, and now I accept it. Acceptance doesn’t have to mean resignation. It just means understanding that working against something is much harder than working with it.
I eat well and often. I exercise when I can. I try to avoid stress, caffeine, long days and sleepless nights. I surround myself with the things and people that I love. I cuddle dogs at every opportunity.
A huge part of accepting my chronic illness, was realising that I should treat it as I would any other part of myself. If a stranger came up to me in the street and asked me if I’ve ever had braces (I haven’t), if my tan is real (it is) or what my mum’s middle name is (Murray), then I wouldn’t feel compelled to answer them. Yet somehow, when strangers ask me about my walking stick or my health, I feel obligated to answer. Taking ownership of that part of myself felt like reclaiming part of my identity. And this really helped me to accept myself. Yes, I choose to discuss my health on social media. But that’s a choice that I am entitled to make every day depending on the situation.
When I need to reach the top shelf of the cupboard, I don’t feel disappointed or frustrated that I’m not 6ft.. I just climb up on the counter and find a way to manage. I remind myself of this to help me manage my chronic illness too. I accept what I can and can’t do. I accept that sometimes I need a little extra boost, or sometimes I just need to ask a friend for some support.
Acceptance seems scary, but it is worth the leap. I hope these words have brought you some comfort – no matter what you’re going through.