10 Truths About Being Chronically Ill

10 Truths About Being Chronically Ill

For Those Of You That Are Chronically Ill, This Is For You.
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Being chronically ill is very hard to cope with. It is even harder when very few people around us truly understand. For those who are chronically ill, this is for you.

1. I’m okay is the biggest lie you will ever hear come from our mouths.

If we felt good, believe it you would know. We would be jumping for joy. Or more or less having a panic attack because to be honest, if I didn’t feel pain, I would think I was dead.

2. We shouldn’t have to prove to anyone that we are sick.

"But you don’t look sick" is flattering, but really we laugh to ourselves because on the inside we feel like we were hit by a bus. Or ten. It’s nice to not look sick but believe me, without the effort of getting ready (and laying down to rest between showers and blow drying your hair), you would definitely think different. But no matter how we feel we almost always get up, dress up, show up and never give up.

3. We learn not to chase people.

We know that we are here, and that we are important. Like everyone else we shouldn’t have to run after people to prove that we matter. However, when you are chronically ill it is hard to keep the people who don’t try to understand close, and that’s when you start to find out who your true friends are. For me, it took time to stand up for myself. Not caring what other people think is the best decision I could have made moving forward. If someone can’t take the time to understand you or listen, then they don’t deserve to be your friend; especially when you will bend over backwards for them. We often care too much about other people. Next time you find yourself going out of your way for someone who truly doesn’t understand, ask yourself if they would do the same things for you. The answer is probably not.

4. One of the hardest things about being chronically ill is the mental aspects that come with it.

The anxiety, The PTSD, the fear, the paranoia--it can all make you feel crazy on top of being sick. You are not crazy, you are human and you are doing the best you can. Do not be ashamed of yourself to take time for you, to have a bad day, or to even need medication. We have been through a lot more than the average person, and you have every right to feel the way you do.

5. It is hard to explain to other people that just because we do things doesn’t mean we are better or have experienced a revival.

It simply means we had a decent day. What comes with leaving the house and getting out is much different than someone who is living a normal life. Getting ready exhausts us, we can barely wake up, the anxiety that comes with leaving, or the medicine regimens we take before we leave, none of it is easy. We fake it till we make it.

6. We cannot stand to hear people complaining about their job or school.

Most of us would give our right arm to be doing that. Staying home from school is not fun, I feel like a stay at home mom at the age of 21 without the being a mom part, and with barely any money. So next time you think about complaining about living a normal life think to yourself, what if that was all taken away? What if every day was consumed with living in chronic pain. Then you would realize to never take a day for granted.

7. We take things out on those that we love.

Talking about something you live and go through daily isn’t easy to talk about, your life is already consumed with the idea of being “sick”. Often times we keep too much in so we don’t feel like a nuisance, or so we don’t make our loved ones upset or scared. Bottling up these emotions sometimes can make us a little on edge. We get agitated and moody, we don’t mean it; we are doing the best we can and we love you for loving us anyways!

8. It is hard to except that you are incapable of being independent.

I don’t like asking my parents for money because I cant hold a full time job; and it is extremely hard to watch them dish out money on your health bills. We don’t like the days we are so sick that our moms are our nurses, and make us food and keep us hydrated. It is an awful feeling to need your Dad to carry you up the stairs when you are too weak to walk at 16 and 21 years old. We feel bad when our parents or a loved one has to drop everything to take us to the hospital. Unfortunately, when you are chronically ill you have to accept that being independent can wait until you are better.

9. We can’t do what everyone else does.

That is hard for most chronically ill patients to accept. We so badly want to live a normal life, and to live for what we have missed out on. Sometimes it is hard to make the right choice, but we eventually learn that sometimes saying no is the best thing we can do for our health. Stay up all night? Not a chance. When I had to pull an all-nighter for finals, I wasn’t just tired the next day. Everything hurt and I thought I was dying. Sleep is so important. Many of us cannot eat a normal diet and therefore cannot eat whatever we want. Go out every night of the weekend? Do remember I am a 21 year old in a 100 year olds body. We need our rest, even after just running errands for a couple hours or exercising. The smallest things exhaust us, and that is never fun.

10. We do not give up easily.

We have come so far. We continue to seek help, go to our countless doctor's appointments, receive our treatments; whatever it takes. Every day is a battle, and the end of every day is an accomplishment. We got through the day, no matter how bad it was we live for our good days. Staying positive is not easy, but we learn to do the best we can.

I recently came across the quote “In a world where you can be anything, be kind." Those words are so powerful. Kindness and understanding from people around us is what gives us the motivation to pull through, so please don’t ever forget that. Just being kind you are changing a frown to a smile, making someone’s day; or changing their life. Don’t think about it, Just do it. You will find yourself happier too.

Much Love & Stay Strong,

Tori Ashdown xoxo

Cover Image Credit: Ashdown

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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The Truth About Narcan, Insulin, And Who Pays For What

"Stupid junkies, I have to pay for my Insulin but they get Narcan FOR FREE. Can you believe that?"

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Naloxone.

Let's talk about it. Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan or Evzio is a "medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose." According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Naloxone basically reverses the effects of an overdose.

As you see on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and every other social media platform in the world, "junkies" get indirectly bashed, undermined, and in a nutshell, told that they don't deserve a place on earth.

The most common argument used by "non-addicts" is "I have to pay for my Insulin for my diabetes, but they get Narcan for free? Wow, our government sucks and the system is a joke."

For those of you that don't know, diabetes is a disease in which the body's ability to produce or respond to the hormone, insulin, is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine.

There are two types of this disease: Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes that result from a variety of different factors. Diabetes can be acquired through genetics but can also be personally obtained through lifestyle, depending on the type. Aside from genetics and being born into a diabetic family, you may also be diagnosed with diabetes as a result of physical inactivity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and being overweight. In other words, if you let your body go, don't work out or do some type of physical activity, let your high blood pressure go untreated, and eat unhealthy foods; you have a chance of developing diabetes.

Next, let's talk about prices.

On average, Insulin costs $200 monthly. This depends on the brand, personal insurance, coupons, and other factors such as organizations that help people get cheaper insulin.

Narcan nasal spray costs $130 for a two-time use. You can buy it at CVS Pharmacy (and other pharmacies) in states such as Ohio, Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin. Some of these states may require a prescription.

Now that you know that Narcan/Evzio isn't free, it's time to talk about other charges that are brought upon addicts when they overdose. If an ambulance is called, they have to pay for it. If they are sent to the emergency room, they also have to pay for that.

The idea that "junkies" get Narcan for free is something society has made up to make drug users feel even more guilt than they already do from having an addiction alone.

Believe it or not, most of us are addicted to something that can be fatal or cause illness/injury. If you eat processed foods or sugar ridden foods every day, chances are you have an addiction to sugar. The withdrawal that someone has from quitting sugar is similar to the withdrawal that one goes through from quitting heroin. You get a splitting headache, you have cold sweats, you are moody, and it makes you sick. If you drink coffee all day on most days and you try to quit, it results in an awful headache for a few days. The addiction to cigarettes and the withdrawal that people go through for that speaks for itself; we all know a smoker or an ex-smoker.

Instead of following social norms, degrading drug users and putting ourselves on a pedestal because we don't use heroin or another "hard drug," we should advocate for the health and stand up for each other. If you see someone on the street that you know is a drug user, pull them aside and pray with them. Help them find a better life. Recommend church, rehab, or any other ideas that may be at your fingertips to mention.

The moral of the story is this: we all have an addiction, hypocrisy is at it's finest thanks to social media, and we are all human. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you judge them. It doesn't cost a dime to shed light on someone's life, especially when they are in need.

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