The Gift of Illness

The Gift of Illness
No, this article is not an attempt at satire or humor. It's not a 'gift guide'. It's about the life lessons I've learned from my illness.

Over the past few years, I’ve come to look at my illness as a bit of a gift. I’m trying to see the positive in it, although it’s not always so easy to do.

I use to take great pride in my health. Despite an eating disorder (bulimia), I believed that I was invincible (teenagers can be so silly, sometimes). I drank pickle juice and vinegar to cut fat, took diuretics religiously and believed that I wasn’t doing anything to destroy my health.

I didn’t honor my body. I made bad choices in other areas as well. I ate too much sugar and drank a lot of regular soda, which is nothing but liquid sugar, of course.

I also hated the world. I was angry all the time. Fight the establishment. Fight the power. Fight my parents. Fight, fight, fight.

Anger and stress were my best motivators. My mother warned me that I’d make myself sick. Ha! I laughed at that. And I didn’t think I was a daredevil.

Silly girl.

That was me before my illness (and motherhood) struck.

I had been raised a Catholic, but had abandoned my faith. Prior to that, I had abandoned the faith in myself. I was a sorry little girl. A miserable one too.
Then, I got sick. I began to see the world differently. I appreciated the leaves and the trees more. I stopped to smell the roses, as the old cliché goes. I learned that the embrace of your child and unconditional love does exist.

I learned that I am capable of great things if I don’t shy away from them. I learned that I have to take care of myself. (Okay! I’m still learning that one.)
I haven’t returned to Catholicism and don’t wish to. I have found faith in myself and in others. I have learned that vulnerability is NOT a bad thing. It’s not weak. In fact, admitting that you need help is often the strongest thing you can do.

I’ve learned to rely on those around me and cut loose the dead wood (people I can’t and shouldn’t rely on). I’ve learned who my true friends are and how much people do love me.

I’m a better person since I got sick and I’m grateful for that. I can still wish that I didn’t need Fibromyalgia to teach me such significant life lessons, but, at least I’ve survived to tell the tale – and I’ll continue to do so.

Happy Holidays – Ramadan, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Diwali and Yule.

My resolution for the next year is to try and celebrate them all every day. These are the times that make life worth living. The spirit can soar even if the body can only crawl.

You Should Also Read:
The Secret Gift of Illness
The Gift of Illness - One Man's Comment - The Gifts of Serious Illness

Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map

Content copyright © 2019 by Deanna Couras Goodson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Deanna Couras Goodson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Veronica E. Thomas for details.