It’s day 13 of NHBPM and NaBloPoMo! Thanks to everyone who has been following me so far! Wego health has provided a wonderful daily prompt for today:
Write about how being a patient or caregiver has changed you. How have your goals changed? Have your values changed?
I never really thought of myself as a patient. All puns aside about patients and patience, I’ve never identified strongly as ill. Sure, I get colds fairly often, but being cripplingly tired somehow felt like a pretty lousy excuse for an illness. Besides, most doctors didn’t provide very much help. I was going to reserve ‘patient’ for when I had a more “exciting” illness, and for when the doctors knew how to cure me.
As I blundered on, making my way through life, I realized that wasn’t going to cut it. I couldn’t have patience for becoming a patient (sorry, I won’t be able to stop). Yet even as I began going to the environmental health clinic for treatments by a team of healthcare practitioners, I still never really thought of myself as a patient. In retrospect, I think I didn’t want to see myself as ill, because ill=weak, and people had already seen me as weak, because I had no real explanation for my lack of energy or related illnesses. Also, I wanted to “beat” this thing myself, I was smarter and faster and better than all those other patients. Yet, through various appointments and workshops, I realized maybe I wasn’t all that special. There were some simple lifestyle changes I could make, and some thought patterns that were probably damaging both my emotional and physical health. Through mindfulness practice I learned to treat myself the way I would treat a person I loved, and I realized it was okay to need help. It would not make me weak, it would make me strong, assertive, and self-actualized.
However, I still don’t really identify with the word ‘patient’. Maybe it is because I have not been a patient for several years, or maybe it is because I have learnt to see my illness in a whole new light. I don’t even really think of Chronic Fatigue as an ‘illness’ anymore, but rather something that is a part of me, that I am getting along with quite well now.
My goals have changed a lot, I am still ambitious, but in a different way. I have always wanted to help others, but now I know better how to, because I have helped myself. I no longer want to have the most prestigious job in the most prestigious company, but spend my time appreciating and living my life, and hopefully helping a few other people along as I go.