A Bad Day vs. A Bad Life
How many times have you been in the throes of a flare and uttered the following words; “I hate my life”? I was guilty of doing just that for the first twelve years of living with psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, and endometriosis. Five years ago, I discovered that my life wasn’t really bad, but instead, it was the pain-filled moments that I had to endure that were bad.
Was my life really bad?
Overall, my life wasn’t bad. I married my prince charming, we have two wonderful children, and reside where I had dreamed of living since I was a child. We have food on our table, a roof over our heads, and beds to sleep on. However, the pain from my illnesses clouded my mind and blinded me from the good in my life. By listing all that was good in my life I realized that I was having bad days, not a bad life. This is something that I have to remind myself of every time I am flaring or struggling to do something that used to come easily to me. During a severe flare I remind myself that it won’t last forever, this isn’t how I am going to spend the rest of my life, and that it is just one or several bad days. Even if it does extend past what I expect it to it is important to remind myself that this period in my life doesn’t define my entire life. While my good days now outnumber my bad, it wasn’t always that way. Had I permitted those bad moments to define my life I would have never enjoyed the few good days that I did have.
One reason I struggled with accepting that I was only having bad days and not a bad life was because of my unrealistic expectations. I expected my life to be perfect, void of hardship and pain. The thing is nobody’s life is perfect. Everyone experiences some type of struggle and pain (emotional or physical). I had to acknowledge that my life before my chronic illnesses invaded my body wasn’t perfect before I could accept my life with them. There is always going to be some kind of trial, dilemma, heartache, or physical pain that I am going to have to face and endure.
One day at a time
When I stopped allowing bad days, weeks, months, or years to define my entire life, I was able to not only recognize the good but to also find peace. My life isn’t easy, it involves a ridiculous amount of physical pain, and is often chaotic, but it is the only life I’ve got. I am not willing to waste whatever amount of time I have left on this earth pining for a life that I will never have. Instead, I will get through the bad days the best that I can, make the most of the good, and remind myself that a bad day doesn’t make for a bad life.
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?