Is Being Selfish Necessary with Chronic Disease?

Is Being Selfish Necessary with Chronic Disease?

Have you ever sat back and realized how selfish you are? No matter what you do, you have to think of yourself first, and then you can worry about others. For me, it feels so foreign. I have always felt pride in being that person people can count on. The one that will always listen and be there however I can.  Now, it’s all about me, no matter how hard I try to make it not be. It took me a long time to recognize that it’s not that I don’t want to be that person, but more I can’t be.

When it comes to chronic illness you have to learn boundaries. You have to accept that your health will be affected by the smallest things. Maybe that means being selfish, but I’d rather take care of myself than be sick. People might get tired of the constant talk of new symptoms or the phrase “I can’t because of…”  but this is your forever. We can get better, no we will get better but we can’t pretend to be what we are not. We have to continually monitor our health and there are no short cuts.

A lot of times I feel like a bad mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter, etc. I want to be a stronger force in the people I love lives. I want to listen to crazy things happening or enjoy barbecuing together. I’d love to have energy for an entire day to shop and go out to eat. I want them to know I love them dearly, and try everyday to feel good, so I can get to those things. I have as many good thoughts as I can (because that’s the cure, right!?). I meet every negative with twice as much positives. I work hard to get better so I can be me. I fight to show I care. I get overwhelmed when thinking this might be the new me. The all about me, me.

This isn’t something I can outrun or hide from. I tried, and failed miserably. It only made my health worse. So, I guess the question is can there be balance between maintaining my health and relationships?

The last few years of dealing with all these ups and downs I’ve been taught many lessons. I learned to not be so hard on myself or others. I learned to be okay with not being in complete control of absolutely everything. I’ve accepted some relationships aren’t meant to be. I have accepted that I will always have to manage my disease. Most of all I have realized there are no mistakes, I was suppose to learn something from this, and I am so lucky I did.

I am not going to feel bad. This is the way it is. I love myself enough to know being selfish is what is necessary.  I can love my loved ones harder because I am taking care of me. Any other way just won’t work. Realizing it’s okay to put me first so I can enjoy my life and the people in it has made this whole process a little easier. Getting rid of the guilt has been a challenge that I continue to maneuver through. I’ve learned the best thing I can do is to keep pushing. I refuse to give in, I met each battle with the eagerness to win.

One day it will be second nature to me. I have to take care of me first, so I can love you harder. That’s just the way it goes. In reality everyone has to do that not just those with chronic illness. If we loose ourselves in caring for others we forget how to care for ourselves, and it will catch up to us. I guess the lesson is that it’s okay to be selfish. Not in the only about me way but the I need this so I can do that way. I am going to love me because I am worth it.

***wrote freehand with limited edits, please be kind***

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