I look like a normal person. Most days I’m lucky enough that I can perform like a normal human being. But what most people cant see is the struggle that people with invisible illnesses and chronic pain endure. I have chronic migraines and at least one autoimmune disease.
To be honest, I don’t like these labels. I would rather just say that I have to work hard to feel well enough to function. But people don’t take me seriously without the label - because they cant actually see the pain. It would be easier if people could see me crying myself to sleep at night after having a migraine for 38 days straight or intentionally skipping out on meals with family because i know i will get sick from the food they prepare for me. Is it fair? No. Is there something I can do about it? Yes.
A few things i do to make myself feel better when i’m in a pain cave:
the biggest and most important thing that anyone can do that suffers from pain is changing their mindset. you can choose to sit in your misery or you can choose to try to get better. if you think you will get better, you just might!
over the last year this has been my number one thing i have been working on. If you have been in a cycle of sickness with not a lot of light at the end of the tunnel this should be something you should look into. Energy work, therapy, meditation, journaling, reading personal development books, etc. could all help! You need to find what works for you!
this is a no-brainer for anyone with chronic illness. you have to slow down and rest your body in order for it to heal. Minimum 8 hours of sleep during an acute episode. No exceptions.
Squeaky clean diet
You cannot expect your body to clean itself up and run optimally if you are feeding it junk. This is one of the hardest things for people to do. When you don’t feel good its easier to drive thru somewhere or get uber eats vs making something nutritious at home.
I may lose some people here… zero/ very minimal alcohol, little added sugar, lots water, all the veggies (i mean ALL kinds not just the tomato sauce on your pizza), fat, and protein
I have lot of resources for food options if you need good ideas on where to start.
Highly underrated for healing but having someone at home or around that supports you when you are not feeling well is important. The people who stick around in your life after all of the mean and selfish things you have probably done to them (i.e. yell at them for no reason other than that you’re in pain, not be able to show up for things because you cant get out of bed, etc.) deserve a freaking gold medal.
find the rockstars in your life and hold onto them forever. If you don’t currently have these people in your life join a group of people going through the same things as you, join a gym, go to a cooking class, get a pet (dogs ruuuule)!!
walk, swim, sit to stand 15 times an hour, power lift, spin, whatever you can do to move your body.. do it. i know when you don’t feel good the last thing you want to do is move but it could be just what your body needs. I’m not talking about when you have a migraine so bad you cant see but when you are having better days go for a short walk or whatever you can do during that time of wellness.
Movement is also good for cognitive function - revert back to the fist bullet point “mindset”
I have always been good at setting boundaries but i do know others really struggle with this one. Here’s the thing - if you are living with any type of chronic pain or autoimmune disease i’m sorry to tell you but you are going to have to say no sometimes. Over stressing my body throws my immune system into overdrive and sends me down a spiral of not feeling well for a days maybe even weeks! Saying no to the late night out saves me from being miserable for the next week because my body is recuperating.
I’m not perfect. I still struggle a lot with pain but these things have really helped me over the years. Celebrating small victories and taking charge of your life by starting to incorporate some of these self care ideas is a good way to get started.
Keep moving forward you guys. It gets better. Promise.