The Hidden Blessings

June 27, 2012 at 11:42 am (Disability, Living, Living With Chronic Illness)

Sometimes being chronically ill is a good thing. And it can be bigger than being able to park when the lot is full otherwise, or not having to wait on the long line, or having people respect your need for a nap. There are some life experiences healthy people never get to have. This Cracked article sums up five great joys of being sick very well:

5 Great Joys In Life that Healthy People Never Experience.

I invite you to add your own in the comments. What blessings do your challenges bring you? What experiences would you have lost if it weren’t for disability? What lessons have your illnesses taught you that you would not have learned any other way?

For me, I learned how to accept help. I used to hate when people offered to carry things for me, because it made the assumption that somehow I was unable to do so. I would always get up and get my own drink so I didn’t have to trouble anyone. But over the last few years, I’ve learned how to accept and recognize gifts of service as being just as wonderful and heartfelt as physical gifts. Having someone come over and do my laundry is sometimes nicer than getting something physical I wanted. It took me a very long time to see that, and to love it, but now I not only receive service well, I give better service because of it.

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. EVCelt said,

    Great article… Cracked often has these wonderful bits of wisdom…

    #1 is totally true… when I got Lasik, it really was like magic. I had *peripheral vision*. For the first time in years (contacts had stopped being a good thing a while ago).

  2. Ninja said,

    While I don’t have a cronic illness, and by societies various definitions, I don’t have something that they would consider a disability. What I do have a condition that will dog me every day for the rest of my life – epilepsy.
    It took a great deal of time for me to acknowledge that I was having more problems than the “big stuff”, mostly because I didn’t want it to impact my day to day life.
    But, eventually, with the love and support of many of my friends and family of choice, I slowly moved into the realization that there *was* something going on. It was sorta minor, and it usually *knocks on wood* doesn’t lead to the “big stuff”. But it resticts me to a bed / laying down, in an attempt to calm myself, bring myself back to center, and really, just rest.

    And this was the part that I hated. *I’m* the one that helps others. *I’m* the one that is supposed to be there for someone when they need me. *I’m* the one that is supposed to protect and guard those that need me. I felt guilty that I was unable to discharge my (self assigned) duties.

    But, it’s part of my life. And in order to be able to complete my existence in this shell, I needed to accept that this is just the way it is, and to make the best of it.

    And now, even though I can be bed-bound for a short period of time, when it happens, I’ve been able to accept help from my partners, friends and family of choice, without feeling as much guilt and helplessness as I did before.

  3. AntB said,

    I think the best thing about it, is that when the pain is gone, life seems so good and fresh. You know the pain will return, but until then, every moment gets savored. I don’t think people who don’t have pain remember to savor the moments very often.

  4. Elise Harris said,

    I learned how good it can feel to be well fed and rested. Also I learned to appreciate the times when I am not in pain.

  5. JJ said,

    I just saw my GP last week, and it was time to ask for a Vicodin script. Every time I get a new doc I go though the same conversation. I fell down a flight of stairs in ’91, had back major back surgery in ’92 and I’ve been on Vicodin ever since. What some can’t grasp is when I tell them a bottle of 30 can last me six months or three days. When my back goes out, it really goes out!!! Sure the six months means it hurts here and there but the pure HELL I go through when it really goes out takes me right back to ’91.

    Over the years I have just gotten used to a steady hum of pain. Sometimes I feel none and I forget that I even have a problem. But just tonight when I was carrying laundry I got a twinge… Just a little reminder that my body has issues. I have some movement limitations where my left side just can’t do what the right side can.

    It’s been 21 years since I took that fall. I was only 23 years old when I had that life changing injury. The part that pissed me off the most was that I couldn’t bungee jump or go sky diving, both of what I wanted to do sooooooo bad. Bungee jumping was all the rage. Part of me is pissed that I was robbed of my youth, but the other part of me considers myself VERY blessed for it happening when it did. My brother-in-law is three years older than I am and two years ago he totally wrecked his back. He’s had to have cervical spine surgery, and is trying to avoid the lumbar (which is where my injury is). He is sooooooooo depressed. He had ALWAYS been very physical, very active for 45 years. Now he is sidelined and he couldn’t be more miserable. He is upset that he can no longer do X, Y, and Z. I never got to do those things, so I don’t miss them.

    So yes I am grateful when my pain is gone, and thankful when I get a twinge that it’s not a full-blown episode. BUT… I am also grateful that I don’t now have that overwhelming sense of LOSS, You can’t lose what you never had.

    JJ

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