• YOU are not your illness — brain food for chronic illness patients

    You were born healthy, maybe tiny, maybe early, maybe a little sick, but you thrived.  Maybe you had chronic infections as a child and seemed to get sick far more often than your friends, but you thrived.  Maybe you were born with an unusual heart defect and spent your early days in ICU.  Maybe you had some weird health complications that were inexplicable at the time, but you kept going.  You grew up, made decisions, tried new things, fell in love.  You became you.

    Yeah YOU!

    You are not your illness.  You have strengths, weakness, friends, ideas, silly preferences, likes and dislikes, aptitudes and attitudes, all of this is not your illness.

    You are a unique person with a unique immune system.  Your immune system is a lot like a soldier on a battlefield who is shooting at the enemy, but the enemy is wrongly identified. You have a bit of fratricide going on inside you.   You are not the illness, you are not the enemy, but for some reason, your immune system has identification errors.  So what.  Everyone has something to deal with. You just have a chronic illness.

    You are not your illness.  You are beautiful, unique, funny and strong enough to fight off the consequences of illness in order to thrive.

    You are not your illness.  It might make a rash on your face, but it is merely on your face, it is not your face.   It might make a mess of your skin, but you can take steps to reduce stress and increase joy.  It might take you down for a week or two, but you will get up, get moving and get better.

    You are not your illness.

    When you meet people, you introduce yourself as you, not your disease.

    When you set goals or love deeply, it is you that loves.  It is YOU that moves.

    Your illness is an anomaly. It isn’t fun, but it is strange and wondrous that the universe of your body is so complex. It’s a fighter. You are strong.

    You are not your illness.

    Your illness is an immune illness.  You have a faulty immune system, but you are not a faulty person.  The illness is not binomial. It is neither good or bad,  punishment or reward.  It is a mystery inside you.  You are not your illness any more than you are just your hands.

    Embrace the wholeness of you.  This is part of you that needs attention.  Take care of it, take care of you, but remember, you are not your illness.

      • Nancy

      • January 28, 2013 at 8:15 am
      • Reply

      Great ,great, great. What a beautiful post. It really motivates and urges us to think other than illness. Very impressive.

    • Great post Jesse.

      • Barbara Hartman

      • January 28, 2013 at 12:56 pm
      • Reply

      What a wonderful statement! Thank you so very much.

    • I will send this to my daughter. She has ADD/OCD issues but the message is the same.
      Thank you!

      • Thanks Sunny. I worked with a very OCD teacher. He is able to laugh at it. I hope your daughter is thriving!

      • Kate

      • February 8, 2013 at 10:38 pm
      • Reply

      Jesse, this column is full of power, beauty, and hard-won knowledge. A tremendous example of having something to say and saying it well.

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