"Where there is creativity, there is hope." ~ Donna Karan

When Chronic Illness Gets You Down

by - Wednesday, December 21, 2011

(via google)

Since I've been ill, I've found that this time of year really gets me down. Bad. Don't get me wrong, I'm not some Grinch that hates Christmas, I love everything about it. Shopping for Christmas gifts excites me to no end, although, the pain and fatigue do not. I adore Christmas crafting, gift wrapping, great food and I could go on and on...

'Tis the season to be jolly. This I know. I can be jolly. I can get wrapped up in the excitement of Christmas. My latest blog posts are proof of this; but no amount of cheerful Christmas carols, pretty presents and fabulous food can change the fact that deep down, I'm sad.

The fact that Christmas is so close means that next year is just around the corner. Next year. The future. Another year of being sick. Another year of going around in circles. Another year of the same old boring stuff. I don't know if I can do another year of this.

Chronic illness has got me down in the dumps. Again.

It doesn't help that I'm also struggling a little with Humira side effects and that all the university courses for next year are being advertised. A reminder that I'm twenty three (and a half, if we're being precise) with no qualifications or experience to my name besides retail, and, had things not gone all pear shaped, I would probably be a kindergarten teacher right now.

With next year looming, I find myself longing to do the course that I so desperately want to do.

So here I am again getting my hopes up, looking at the study options and trying to work out a way to somehow cope with study in an attempt to pull myself out of this ditch. I also feel pressured to "do" something next year, and, of course I want to do something, but as much as my mind wants to do something, it's whether my body will follow through that's the problem.

Being ill at a young age can be challenging. It's challenging at any age, but when you're my age- staying at home isn't acceptable. I'm too tired doesn't cut it.

I know that people just want my life to be better than what it is, but they don't realise that I feel pressured. Pressured to do what I can't do yet, and this makes me feel like a failure, like my good enough just isn't good enough.

When it comes to thinking about what I'm going to do next year, I feel overwhelmed. Thinking about next year gets me down. What am I going to do? Where is my life going?

The only place my life seems to be going at the moment is down the drain. Five years, now going on six, of my life lost to stupid illnesses that doctors don't even know how to treat. Years that I can't get back- years that are suppose to be the best years of my life.

The idea of study next year excites me but after looking at my different options- the possibility may not be a reality, and, for another year, I'll have to be OK with that. It's not the study itself that's necessarily the problem (well aside from frustrating brain fog)- it's the study load, the deadlines, the inappropriate class times for a chronic illness sufferer, and keeping at something week after week when I don't have that sort of energy. Oh and there's teaching placement too- working full days teaching kindergarten and primary school children is challenging enough for the healthy.

There are days when I think I could surely manage some part time study, but then there are many days when I think I'm even foolish for entertaining the idea. That said, my options for next year are:

#1. Study a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education part-time at a university in the city: I'm not being negative but I know that this isn't even a realistic option for next year. I've already tried this option three times over the years and failed (and I was even feeling better than I do right now back then). The work load was too much and the travel to and from... not even worth contemplating.

#2. Study a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education part-time online: This seems like a smart sensible option, right? The lecture times won't be an issue because there are none, and I can study at home around pain, fatigue, and side effects. Sounds great in theory, but there are still assignment deadlines and what's worse is that the actual campus is in another state so getting help may be much harder and make it more difficult and stressful for me.

Although the good thing about this course is that teaching placement isn't until second year, so I'd just be at home studying for a year without having to work... but the problem is I don't want to struggle through a year of study only to find out I'm still not fit enough to manage placement. A year of hard work wasted? No thanks.

#3. Study a Certificate III in children's services full-time at a tafe twenty minutes drive from home: I'm pretty bummed they don't offer this course part-time. It might just be doable part-time, but then again there is the issue of placement. Full time it's only three days a week for six months... yeah not really realistic at the moment, but maybe in the future.

I really didn't want to resort to a tafe course when I worked my butt off to get into university. I'd much prefer a degree because then I can work as a kindergarten teacher but I'm now looking at tafe options because the study load will be much more manageable, and it will qualify me to work in childcare centres or as a nanny. Not what I wanted, but it's the next best thing.

The thought of next year scares me, but I've made it a goal to at least sit down with a disability officer from these courses to see if they can make any exceptions for me, like make placement more achievable for me. I'm hoping if I bat my eyelashes and smile sweetly, they'll change the whole course structure just for me. Miracles happen, ya know.

Going by previous years- I've been basically told that I am crazy for even considering studying education with the health issues that I've got going on. But I keep hoping. Knowing that with each year that passes, I'm another closer to achieving my dream. Hope is what keeps me going when chronic illness gets me down.

When chronic illness gets you down, you hold onto hope like never before. You learn to dream bigger, better. When chronic illness gets you down, you fight with gratitude- you find the smallest and simplest of things to be thankful for. You focus on what you can still do and you celebrate the smallest of achievements for what they are- amazing accomplishments. You delight in the good days and learn from the bad.

When chronic illness gets you down, you learn to thrive in the tough times- you get your creative freak on, adapt and find new ways of achieving things. When chronic illness gets you down, you pick yourself back up and carry on, knowing that you're one day closer to health. When chronic illness gets you down, you choose joy and pursue the power of your limitless potential.

*** Post script: It has taken me over two days to draft this post and a few frustrating hours putting it together for publishing. Oh the joy of fatigue and brain fog. And I want to attempt study. Ha. Ha. HA! A girl can dream, right?


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