Lupus sucks. Anyone who is battling the disease will attest to that.
Several months ago, I was asked what changes I would make in my life if I could go back in time. My response was “nothing.” Then came the next question: “You wouldn’t change that you have lupus?” Didn’t I just say that lupus sucks?
I am usually quite happy no matter what life throws at me. I have my bouts of sadness and feel low like everyone else, but I eventually bounce back. Lupus has made some of those low periods last longer, but I have learned a lot because of my experience with this disease. Had it not been for my illness, some things in my life would have gone unnoticed and others I would have taken for granted.
Following are some lessons I’ve learned as a result of my illness:
- Ask for help and accept it. Before getting sick, I was an overachiever who needed things done right now. I was known as the “Hurricane in Heels,” and when people did not move at my pace, I thought, “I’ll do it my damn self!” Often, I did. I still struggle with delegating tasks, but now when I am overwhelmed I ask for help, and when someone offers it, I accept it and let them move at their own pace — most of the time.
- Mind my business. I have a new perspective. When I see memes that make fun of how someone is dressed, or their hairstyle, or makeup, or if it otherwise tears someone down, I find it mean rather than funny. I don’t know that person’s story. As someone who is often told, “You don’t look sick,” I have learned that things don’t always look the way we expect them to. The person whose clothes fit them poorly may have lost their home in a fire and the clothes were donated to them, for example. We don’t know their story any better than those who make judgments about what sick looks like know ours. I mind my business and my own story.
- I don’t have to prove myself. When I first got sick, I was offered all kinds of advice about how to cure this disease and cope with this battle — often from healthy people. I would try to explain to them why thyme tea or whatever they were recommending was not a cure. They would tell me that I was not open-minded enough to commit to it. I would feel the need to prove to these people why their advice was not a solution. Now, I simply say “thanks” and put their unsolicited advice in the garbage file. I know what works for me and what I am willing to do. I have realized I don’t owe anyone an explanation about my decisions.
These are some of the lessons I’ve learned during this battle. In some ways, lupus has mellowed me out, and while I don’t care for what it does to my body, it has taught me a lot about myself and how to deal with others.
Note: Lupus News Today 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 Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.