I think one of the hardest things about having a chronic illness is trying to keep a positive attitude. On top of being tired because I’m in vet school, I’m tired because my body is trying to fight off thousands of spirochete invaders. It’s easy to become disillusioned that while I’m climbing up a cliff face inch by inch everyone else is running down hill, so envy plants it’s seed. Then the pity party rears its ugly head and I start to feel like my irritability is justified, so I don’t fight it as hard. Then if enough things happen to irk me finally I blow up at something stupid. And by blow up I don’t mean that I yell at people. Usually it’s just an edge in my voice and poorly chosen words. But its still unwarranted and hurtful and I always regret it afterward. And then comes the self-loathing and depression. I messed up again. I hurt someone else. Why do I keep trying? Everyone would be better off without me.
And so the cycle continues . . .
And the only way to get out takes a lot of work. Reminding myself that self sacrifice has a lot more forms than just dying for someone.
It means swallowing the harsh words even when I feel like crud and saying something encouraging instead.
It means being the one positive voice in the crowd even if I’m the sickest.
It means being glad that other people are healthy even though I’m not.
It means keeping going even though life seems more of a struggle than it’s worth. Even though I mess up and hurt people I also make the right choice sometimes and help people.
I have to remember that joy and happiness are not the same thing. Happiness is a feeling you get when everything is going your way. Joy is a choice you make when nothing is going your way.
I have to crowd out the unhealthy thoughts in my head with scripture and music so that Satan doesn’t take control.
I have to remind myself that I’m human and that I will make mistakes, but my God loves me in spite of them. In fact He loves me so much He bore the punishment for them Himself, so that I could be free.
Live loved, friends.