If You Love Someone Living With A Chronic Illness, This Is For You

If You Love Someone Living With A Chronic Illness, This Is For You

We know it isn't easy, but we appreciate it more than you know.
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To those who have stuck around:

We know that it isn't easy to love us. We know it can be hard and stressful to be significant others, best friends, co-workers, parents, children, siblings to us. We know the toll it takes on you. I promise, we do notice that it is difficult on you, but that you love us anyway. We know that you have to make sacrifices for us and compromise quite a bit and we are incredibly grateful for it. We aren't always the best at thanking you or acknowledging everything you do for us. Sometimes we are in too much pain or under too much stress. I promise, we are thankful and we know that we couldn't do it without you. Your time, energy, and unconditional love does not go unnoticed. Thank you. Thank you for every day, thank you for every moment, thank you for the rest of our time together.

To those who left:

It would be easy for us to be bitter. It would be a lot easier to just tell you where to shove it, but we won't. We will just thank you for leaving, instead. Thank you for leaving when you did, because we do not have time for people who aren't in our lives for the right reasons. We don't have time for half-ass relationships, guilt trips, or negativity. Thank you for showing us the kind of people we don't want to surround ourselves with. Thank you for also reminding us to be grateful for the positive, loving people we do have.

To those who doubted us:

We do not need your validation. We know what we go through, we know our pain, we know our bodies. I hope that one day you will have the opportunity to gain perspective and understand that just because our pain is invisible, just because we look and act “normal” does not mean that we are not suffering. Your doubt in us made us doubt ourselves so many times and left us feeling isolated and lonely. All you needed to do was be there, listen and support us with every hardship or decision we made. This doubting, while hurtful and toxic, made us stronger.

To those who want to love us:

Please know that loving us isn't a walk in the park. We may be tired, sick, or in too much pain sometimes. We may seem flakey, but in reality, it's our health that is flakey. We promise, we are so much more than our bad days. If you can see past that, and love us through them, then we will happily accept you as a part of our lives. But please, don't get involved if you don't think you can handle it.

To ourselves:

Look at you- you have been through so much. Friendships, jobs, relationships, hobbies have all been affected and maybe lost. But you're still here. You are more than the things you have been through, the pain you experience, the amount of surgeries, medications, tests, the diagnosis, the plans you have canceled, the things you can't do, the scars, the tears- you are more. You are not defined by all of this. You are no less strong, capable, intelligent, loving, creative, charismatic, brilliant. You are still all of these things through your pain and that is pretty damn incredible. Don't forget that and don't sell yourself short. You still have so much to offer to the world. Thank you for being here.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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7 Ways To Calm Your Mind, Body, And Soul During An Anxiety Attack

It is OK not to be OK.

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Everyone gets anxiety attacks whether you will admit it or not. Seven little things that help me find my inner peace are ones I feel everyone should be aware of.

1. Try the "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" grounding exercise.

Answer these five questions out loud for sensory awareness:

What are five things you can see?

What are four things you can feel?

What are three things you can hear?

What are two things you can smell?

What is one thing you love about yourself?

2. Try out this breathing .GIF.

Breathe In Help GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

3. Listen to a song that reduces your anxiety.

4. Use some lavender oil.

Rub it on your temples.

Put some on your wrists.

Inhale.

*Calming.*

5. Tense up your muscles (and then relax).

This may sound counter-intuitive, but just give it a try:

Start tensing at your toes and move up through your body — legs, abdomen, arms, neck, and jaw. Hold it for four counts. Then, relax your muscles. Feel the tension melt out of you.

6. Download an app on your phone.

There are my top apps for helping with anxiety (and they are FREE):

"Recolor" (a coloring book app).

"Wordscapes" (like a crossword puzzle).

"PicrossLUNA" (kind of a play-off of sudoku).

"Words With Friends 2" (just like Scrabble).

7. Reach into your freezer and grab an ice cube.

Just one of many distraction methods.

Reach into the freezer and grab an ice cube or an ice pack.

Hold it firmly in your hand.

Place it on your toes.

The idea is to distract your mind from anything else.

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