What I Wish I Could Tell My Undiagnosed Self

6:00:00 PM

Each day it feels like I'm struggling with something new. Whether its making sure that I follow my pill schedule correctly or just trying to move around the house, my life has definitely gotten harder with each new diagnosis.

Honestly, it upsets me more than I'd like to admit. The decline of my health has flipped my life upside down and it's becoming harder and harder to manage.

Most days, I'm able to push through and accept the necessary changes that need to be made. I do my best to adapt to each obstacle and situation, but it isn't always easy.

I still have my days full of depression. The one's where all I want is to go back in time; back to before I started feeling lousy, and back to when I could do everything without a worry.

Of course, I know that's not possible. So instead, I mourn the life that I had prior to all the doctors, tests, and prescriptions and I try to make the best of my new life.

I've also had the idea of writing this blog post on my heart for a while now too. Not only to help myself move forward, but to make sure that other people in my situation know that they're not along. And if by chance, a healthy and able individual reads this, then maybe I'll be able to encourage them to live their life more happily too.

What I Wish I Could Tell My Undiagnosed Self...
1. Don't take your body for granted
Because I am you, I know you. I know that you say yes far too often, even when you know you shouldn't. I know that you want to make everyone around you happy, so you don't leave time for yourself. And I know that you will push yourself more than you should. It's important that you respect yourself and your wellbeing, and listen to your body. No more late nights and short hours of sleep. No more skipping meals or working yourself too hard. Do not take your body for granted, it might not always be there for you.

2. Say yes to fun
You might not realize it now, but there are times that you're going to have to decline invitations and regretfully cancel plans. Not because you'll be too busy, but because your body just isn't up to the challenge. So it's important that you enjoy every adventure and opportunity that you can when given the chance. Don't skip out on Project Graduation or that spring break trip. Don't fundraise for a mission trip and then skip it. Seek out every opportunity that you can and go for it. Say yes to fun.

3. Enjoy the simplicity of your life
I know that you think life is hard now, but it's only going to get harder. I know you hate when your mom tricks you into going to the doctors for shots, but it's better than the ongoing scans and procedures you'll have in the future. Enjoy the fact that you only have to see the doctor once a year for weightlifting physicals. Before you know it, your calendar will be scattered with appointments to see specialists, complete blood work, have surgeries and more. Don't complain that you have to get your eyes checked. Don't complain that you have to get a shot. Enjoy the fact that these appointments are minuscule compared to the rest of the available time that you have. Enjoy the simplicity of your life and your schedule.

4. Stop working jobs that don't make you happy
You don't know it yet, but you will be forced to quit your job. At first, you're going to be upset. Then you will realize that it's one of the best decisions you've ever made. You'll come to the realization that you've spent your entire life working jobs that you didn't like, just to insure that you would be able to survive. Little did you know, you are going to figure out what you want in life and it will provide you with happiness as well as financial stability. So don't accept a job just because you need the money.  Don't stay in a position just because you feel obligated to, you don't owe anyone anything. Stop working jobs that don't make you happy and begin applying for jobs that make you excited to work and create an environment that you want to work in.

5. Learn to accept help
I know you pride yourself on being independent and you hate relying on others, but you need to knock that off. There is going to come a time when you need help and you're going to be too ashamed to ask for it. However, that is only going to make the situation worse. Don't turn others down when all they want to do is help you. Don't feel like you are any less than or weak because you need to ask for help. You can still keep your independence by setting boundaries. Learn to accept help and more than that, learn to tell others how you'd like to receive help.

6. Educate yourself on physical and mental illnesses
Society has a stigma against those that suffer from physical and mental illnesses. Without knowing it, you have learned to believe what you have seen and what you've been told. While that's not a bad thing, you also need to make sure that you educate yourself as well. You can't just accept what society tells you. You need to be able to do your own research and conduct your own experiments. Don't fall into society's beliefs because you don't want to be different. Don't follow what everyone else is doing or thinking because you think that's what you're supposed to do. Be different. Educate yourself on physical and mental illnesses, so you can treat others the way they deserve to be treated; you're going to wish that someone had done the same for you.

If I could go back in time, these would be the most important messages I could tell myself, in order to help prepare myself for the life that I am currently living.

Now don't get me wrong, things aren't all bad. In fact, I wrote a post tiled, "Dear Chronic Illness, I Want to Say Thank You;" just to talk about all of the great things that have come from my diagnosis. However, living with one or more chronic illnesses is always going to be hard. There are a lot of life changes and sacrifices that come with each diagnosis and it's important that we are able to accept and adapt when need be.

If you could go back in time and tell your younger self something, what would you say?

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