"When you sow hope in the failure, you are simply creating a victory." ~ unknown.
I know that I set myself some pretty gigantic goals last year, many of which I have failed. Miserably. I was determined to do and achieve so many different things last year. I even started back at work, but within a month of working, I soon found myself flat on my face again. Between last year and now, I have encountered set back after set back.
I sought treatment for Endometriosis pain, which required surgery. Around the same time I developed arthritis pain in my back, chest and ribs, and as a result, I spent six months trying to qualify for stronger drugs after blood tests and scan results didn't prove my pain.
For the last three months, I've been adjusting to my new drug Humira and am slowly trying to cut down my dosage of Prednisolone. So, when I look back on last year, it's no surprise that I'm left feeling a little defeated.
But, I have two choices- I can look back on 2011 and dwell on my mountain of failures, thereby magnifying them and causing me to think my entire life is a failure. I can focus on what I don't have- a bachelor in early childhood education, my health, the ability to work more than one shift a week, the energy to have more of a social life... the list goes on.
Or I can focus focus on what's going right and learn from what isn't. I can celebrate the small victories, even though they might not seem like much.
To be honest, this year scares me. Most days it seems I'm swimming against the tide and the thought of giving up is mighty tempting. Although, with everything I haven't achieved, I have gained the wisdom to succeed. It's the driving determination behind my desire to dream big this year (which I'll post on later).
So I'm choosing hope. I'm sowing hope in the failure by celebrating the things that I have achieved despite chronic illness, no matter how trivial or mundane they may seem to a healthy person.
Here's a short list of what I've been successful in and what has been a success this last year:
- Getting my license. It's hard to believe that I've nearly had my license for a year now. Thanks to school work and then chronic illness, it took me six years until I felt I was able to attempt my driving test. There is never a day that I don't take driving for granted. I worked hard through the pain and the frustration of fatigue and brain fog; and to now have my license (and my own car) and manage to drive despite CFS, is nothing short of amazing.
- Blogging. I think this blog has been pretty successful. It has grown more than I could have imagined this last year. It could have flopped, but it didn't, and that's all thanks to you amazing readers who take the time out to read my rants, support me, encourage me, inspire me and make me smile. Blogging for me has been a lifeline. I've found a successful coping strategy which helps me to avoid spending too much time in the ditch of depression. I'm so glad I listened to the quite voice inside me that whispered keep going when all I wanted to do was quit when brain fog made blogging difficult, and when it felt as though I was writing to a brick wall. Turns out more people are reading this thing than I thought. From the emails and comments I have received over the last two years- hundreds of people have felt less alone in their struggles with chronic illness, encouraged, uplifted, inspired and motivated to live creatively having read this blog. I have even heard from many people who have friends with chronic illnesses, and they are reading along to gain a better understanding of what it is like to live with a chronic/invisible illness. Success!
- Healthy eating. So, I can always eat better. There's no hiding that I love baking sickly sweets, but overall, I think I've done a pretty good job at eating healthy. I think my health would be much worse if I didn't strive to make healthy choices and allow myself to eat crap all the time. It's quite tempting to eat crap when you feel like crap! As you know, I am addicted to fruit. Some days I eat more than five pieces. That's how much I love fruit. I try to do juicing and fruit smoothies daily and I've even cut out caffeine to and I have survived.
- Craft studio. The progress has been slow, but I am finally closer to reaching my dream of having a craft studio. It is officially all set up (photos coming soon)! All that I have to do now is work on getting my supplies organised, and invest in some storage stuff. My craft studio is nearly complete. This will allow me to work towards another dream- selling my handcrafted goods and maybe even try to get a little craft business happening, who knows!
- Hobbies. I've really taken my hobbies to a whole new level this past year. I have experimented and created more than I have in previous years. My love for baking, blogging, cardmaking and nail art has grown immensely. My hobbies have been something to turn to when I'm feeling low and frustrated. In essence, being creative is what helps me cope with chronic illness- success? I think so!
- Exercise. I've had my ups and downs with exercise. It's a love/hate relationship. Over the last six months I've been trying to get more active- even if it's just a slow walk around the shops. I'm now managing a 15-20 minute walk twice a week. Of course, if I'm having a bad week, I don't do as much. Even though I can feel quite shocking the next day, I'm doing it. Walking around a beautiful lake really helps with depression so even though it causes me a bit of pain and fatigue, it's beneficial. I'm much more active now than I was over a year ago. I am making progress, oh yes I am!
- Humira. It's still early days, and I am yet to wean myself off Prednisolone but after eight months (it felt like eternity), my back and chest pain is finally under control. Thank the Lord! Some of the side effects from the drug are slowly subsiding too! Significant success.
- Laparoscopic sugery. Out of all the surgeries, my one last year has been the most successful. I have never had such amazing relief from my Endometriosis symptoms until now. Yay for non-disabling periods, no ovaries stuck to my bladder and no pain when peeing!
- Social media. Ok, so I'm not the most tech savvy person on the planet. Before blogging and even before I joined facebook, I hardly used email! So I've done pretty well to set up a blog, and figure out facebook and twitter all on my little lonesome. I still really don't know what I'm doing half the time! Somehow I have stumbled my way through and have collected 223 twitter followers, 197 facebook fans and 199 blog followers. For a girl who doesn't know what she is even doing on social media some days, that's pretty darn successful!
I definitely need to take more pride in how far I have come and have more faith in how far I can go. Sometimes it feels like I'm not improving because progress is oh so slow, and it's usually one step forward and two steps back, but I am going places baby! So there, any one who thinks that what I have achieved isn't amazing and isn't good enough can go jump off a cliff.
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