chronic pain/illness,  gratitude

How I Get Through “One More Day” The poem that knocked my socks off and how I get through the bad times

Dayum!

Drop the mic!

I read this poem on Instagram this morning and it was one of those that just knocked my socks off.  I immediately Googled to find out the poet and his (yes…HIS!) name is Reggie Nulan and you can find him on Facebook here along with so many other brilliant poems that he’s written.  I’m a new fan!

The poem spoke to me, particularly right now, because I’m currently riding out a flare and haven’t had one this intense in quiet awhile. All this week I’ve literally felt like I’m doing “whatever it takes to get through one more day.”

I don’t normally claim to be any kind of ‘warrior’ any longer, though,  as I’ve learned to peacefully live with my illness along with the pain and other symptoms that go along with it.  I fought it (or tried to!) for years and it brought me nothing but misery.  With every failed new treatment, medication, supplement, doctor, etc. I would just go deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of depression and feeling like a failure.

So the word warrior for me makes me feel at war with myself, and I don’t want that.  I don’t want to fight ME anymore.  I’m not keen on survivor either as that language makes me feel like I’m merely existing…..and I work way too hard to feel like I’m merely surviving.

Today I much prefer thriver, or the new one I came up with in my group yesterday…..

….ready for it?….

…Chronic Queen of Badassery!!!

Oh yeah, that’s how I roll today.  I’m a CQB.  lol

Today I ride the waves and wait for the storm to pass.

I’ve become an excellent surfer of the waves during the storm.  Instead of trying to fight it warrior-style like the old days (which led me down a very dark path….see my  bio  if you’re new to Gratitude Addict), I wait.  Patiently.  I know it’s temporary….not my illness, of course, but the intensity of the flare.  It will pass…it always does.  I don’t want to make it worse by fighting it.

I practice self-care.  I rest….a lot.  I say ‘no’ when I cannot do something and no longer feel guilty for doing so.

I write (obviously…ha!) which has become an unexpected therapy for me.

I stay connected with my beautiful community at “Attitude of Gratitude with Chronic Pain”  as I know far too well how easy it is to become isolated and believe that you’re unique and that no one understands.

And that would be bullshit.

There’s a ton of people who understand and they are all out there feeling EXACTLY the same way you do.   And they need to talk….just  like you do.  Even if you feel like you don’t need to…you DO.  Not reaching out and isolating is the enemy of chronic illness thrivers (aka CQBs).   There’s a saying that’s said often in my 12 Step fellowships (leave it to me to need multiple fellowships!) that goes, “My mind is a dangerous neighborhood that I try never to go into alone.”  So, so true.

But those of you who know me or who have followed me for awhile should not be surprised at my number one tip for getting through any bad time in our lives.  It doesn’t have to be a flare of a physical nature….it can be any time where you just feel like you are doing “whatever it takes to get through one more day,” like the poem reads. We’ve all had those moments where we feel like we are just putting one foot in front of the other and don’t know how we can possibly make it.

That tip, of course, is gratitude.

When I keep gratitude at the forefront of my mind and my heart, it keeps me grounded and at peace.

Today I’m grateful that I can accept things for what they are.  I’m grateful that I live in the age of social media where I’m easily able to stay connected to ‘my peeps.’

I joked with someone yesterday that I wanted a saw so I could cut my legs off, as the ache is so deep and unrelenting. And then I realized how grateful that I am that I do have legs and that they take me where I want to go and how many people in this world would kill to have legs.

I’m grateful for my family, especially my Rob who is an angel beyond measure.  I’m grateful for my sense of humor which is most definitely one of my top coping mechanisms.

I’m grateful for the use of my hands as I type this and I’m grateful for my mind that I can (sometimes…ha!) find the words that I want to write.

I’m grateful for my medications that quite possibly keep things from being worse.  I’m grateful for clean drinking water to take the meds and food to nourish me.

I’m grateful that I have power and that I’m not in line of any hurricanes or dealing with any earthquakes like so many of our fellow peeps right now.

Hell…I’m just damn grateful to be alive.  This life offers so many blessings and I’m not going to let this bad stuff keep me from experiencing all of it.

THAT’S how I get through “one more day”….peace and love, like the poem says….but also a big ol’ heaping spoonful of gratitude.  Without a grateful heart for what I have today and what I’ve been given throughout my life, I would have no reason to want to keep doing “whatever it takes to get through one more day.”

And I do.  I wanna see what’s next!

And if I’m lucky enough to be granted that one more day, I’ll be grateful for that too.

Lauren has lived with lupus & fibromyalgia for 18 years & is the founder of the FB group, "Attitude of Gratitude with Chronic Pain (AoG.)" Also a recovering alcoholic, Lauren discovered the power of GRATITUDE during her recovery for that as well as in dealing with her chronic illness. In 2016 she embarked on her "Gratitude Project" by writing an essay on one new thing that she was grateful for every day on Facebook for the entire year. It was that project that sparked the website gratitudeaddict.com and she's currently writing a book called "Attitude of Gratitude with Chronic Pain" based on how living with the intention of gratitude has changed her life with chronic pain as well as the lives of the thousands of members of AoG. Lauren also sits on the Board of Trustees and is Social Media Coordinator for Chronic Pain Anonymous. #GetYourGratitudeOn