The Beginning of a New Year with Chronic Disease
Some resolutions are common to all: Work out more, eat healthier, make grandiose changes, or check off an important goal. And with resolutions comes the comical attitude that many of us will fail to carry them out for more than a few weeks. However, as cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, we sometimes make resolutions that are more serious. Being healthy affects those in our networks — our friends, partners, and family. We feel a certain pressure to be the “healthiest” CF patient we can be — as if it’s always in our control.
This year, I have all the standard CF resolutions. I want to focus on physical exercise (again) as a way to increase lung function and general fitness. Putting more time into working out has benefitted me tremendously, and I hope to continue to improve my exercise. Like others, I also want to make more time to eat healthier. And listen to my body and react when things don’t seem quite right.
However, my newest resolution is to be patient and understanding with myself. So much of CF is fighting to stay healthy. At times, it seems like that extra push of time and energy is to stay as healthy as possible for others in our lives. However, as with all “normal” people and CF people, we will get sick. For me, sickness is often taken as defeat. I let down myself, my family, and those countless hours of treatment were a waste. In the past, I’ve let myself spiral into bad places mentally. It becomes a positive feedback cycle as my self-loathing only leads to me feeling crummier.
In chronic illness, things take time. I can rationally talk myself out of any situation, but that doesn’t resolve the emotional response. That’s why I want to practice patience, self-care, and self-kindness this year. I hope to do this by paying greater attention to my triggers and learning how to ameliorate bad feelings before they fester. I want to find healthy distractions that can allow me to process things slowly rather than all at once. I want to focus on being optimistic in my fight against CF, and let the hope give me excitement for the future. CF isn’t going anywhere in my life. It’s taken me years to come to terms with having the disease, but more work still needs to be done. The often forgotten world of mental health and chronic illness is where I hope to focus my resolutions this year. With self-kindness comes more stability.
Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.