Day 22 of the 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge is What is your greatest challenge and how do you plan to overcome it? My greatest challenge is ill health. I had poorly controlled asthma 4 years ago, and 2 years ago my asthma was stabilised but I was diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency the same week. I’ve written a few posts about the impact its had on my life, which you can read here, but the long and short of it, is it’s a life-long, disabling, life-threatening condition which can be pretty tricky to manage.
So I kind of already partially overcame the ‘challenge’ because I didn’t die when perhaps less stubborn or not as resourceful people would have done. That sounds fairly dramatic, but looking back knowing what I know now, I was critical a fair few times, I just didn’t know it at the time.
Drama aside, I’m not planning on overcoming my challenge of ill health. I tried to ‘get better’ for the past 4 years. At the start of 2016 I started seeing a new consultant and with that came the realisation that trying to beat my illness(es) is just not going to happen- it won’t get better or go away and trying to overcome it and be ‘normal’ was making everything a lot worse. It was tricky prior to seeing my new doctor, because medics were still telling me it was overcome-able before, so it wasn’t completely my fault that it took me a long time to get to that point.
What I learned this year is that you can’t wait for the ‘when X happens, I will….’ moments in life, because they either don’t come or they don’t happen in the way you think they’re going to anyway. I did that with my asthma- my asthma is better but I’m not doing the things I thought I would now. Other people do it with work, buying a house…. Life is what’s happening now. It might not be the way that you want it, but it’s still happening, so you can choose to wish for things that might never happen or you can work with what you’ve got and be grateful for that. That’s why I started my 30 things to do before 30 lists.
So I’m overcoming my challenge of ill health by (trying) not to overcome it. Which is not as easy as it sounds, in fact it’s bloody hard. I’m the type of person who works out plans to fix anything and everything (hence my blog name), but with this, I can’t. I won’t get better and I might not be able to do the things I planned out for my life which other people take for granted. It’s actually been better for me since doctors stopped telling me to ‘get on with it’, I’ve been able to make more of my own choices and I don’t feel like I’m chasing an unknown pipe-dream anymore. But it’s a bit like watching a train crash, I’m watching it unfold, I can’t intervene and I can’t change the outcome, but that doesn’t mean I don’t hope for things to change. I just have to wait and see the extent of the damage when everything stops moving.