Between the Extremes

If nothing else, achieving optimal adjustment to chronic illness requires ongoing flexibility. Trying to exceed your illness-imposed limitations will only result in increased symptom severity.

It’s critical to not adopt an all-or-nothing stance about your true functional capacity. Yes, regardless of how driven or motivated you may have been before the development of chronic illness, your life will never be the same.

It’s perfectly acceptable to get angry about this, to grieve your former life without limits. However, don’t remain stuck there.

Realize that even though you’re not capable of doing everything that you formerly accomplished, you’re still capable of more modest achievements.

As a case in point, I’ve finally accepted that I no longer have the capacity to be employed full-time. Honestly, I experienced a severe period of depression when I was first struggling to accept this unwanted reality. Thankfully, I’m in a much better place at this point. Yes, I have been forced to reinvent myself. I no longer have the physical stamina to be a driven workaholic. That’s actually a blessing, I’ve come to accept. My current lifestyle is significantly more balanced, allowing for a healthier mix of working, creating, relaxing, socializing, and engaging in self-care. In fact, I believe that my current achievements are actually of higher quality. They reflect engaging in a much more balanced lifestyle.

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