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A new normal

Posted Dec 10 2010 7:35am
Someone posted this article on another blog that I read. It's all about the stages of adjusting to a chronic illness. The stages mentioned are denial, fear, anger/frustration, grief/depression and then eventually acceptance. I really like how the writer describes each stage. I also feel like I continually go from one stage to the next.


I wanted to share an excerpt that really spoke to me:


" I love how Bruce Campbell says that acceptance involves the willingness to build a new life.   He discusses a great analogy on acceptance from one of his self-help groups.  The woman wrote an essay, “Welcome to Holland” , where she says that having CFS was like planning a trip to Italy but when the plane lands, you’re told “Welcome to Holland.” 
“Holland!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy.” But there’s been a change in the flight plan. You have landed in Holland. And there you must stay.
The important thing is that it’s just a different place. You must buy new guidebooks. You must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would not otherwise have met. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there a while, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.
So, welcome to Holland. Along with the patient in your life, you have landed in an unexpected destination. You have experienced the loss of a dream and are challenged to adjust to a different type of life than you had planned. You have probably lost some companionship and, instead, may have taken on new responsibilities. But, like the person in our class, you have a choice to dwell on what you have lost or to seek out new possibilities.
This is not the life I signed up for. I really struggle with acceptance because I don't want to believe that this is how I'm going to be for the rest of my life. Instead, I try to focus on accepting how I feel on a daily basis. Instead of thinking, I'm never going to be able to have energy again. I try to think, today I may not feel well but I will try to make the best of it and hopefully tomorrow will be better.


My faith has really been challenged through having CFS. I am constantly repeating Jeremiah 29:11 over and over again: "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." It's so hard for me to trust and let go of all of my worries and fears. I find myself planning things for when I feel better. I try to plan when I'll be able to have a baby, when I'll be able to go get my masters, or when I'll be able to exercise like I used to. But when I'm filling my brain with these thoughts, it doesn't do me any good. Because then I'm constantly thinking about what could happen and not thinking about what I can do. I need to get used to this being my new normal.


So have I fully accepted that I have CFS? I don't know! I guess it depends what day you ask me!


I highly recommend that you read the whole article:
http://www.fightingfatigue.org/?p=8806
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