When asked about Lupus and you, how do your define yourself? Disabled, weak, incapable any words condemning you as less than normal? Or are you using words like survivor, warrior, fighter?
I spent most of my life after diagnosis trying so hard to be “normal” that I was not taking proper care of my body. I was still partying most nights, drinking heavily, not getting enough sleep, not seeing the proper doctors regularly. Which in turn would lead to constant flare ups to remind myself that I indeed was not intended for a normal life.
Then I became very critical of who I was based on my struggles in life and I began defining myself with terms like weak, disabled, sickly, anything that would make me seem like I had given up on my fight with Lupus. My mindset had determined that I was incapable to live my best life. As if I was not worthy of a normal life because I was sick and this is who I should be.
About a year and a half ago I began to change my thinking. I determined I was no longer going to be this sickly girl but I was a warrior, a lupus survivor. I was going to fight this disease and when I began to change my mind, it began to change my life. It wasn’t some drastic over night development neither so don’t see my words and think I snapped my fingers and instantly was a new person. It has become a process. A lot of trial and error with adjustments to my mental processes that include journaling, speaking about my mental health and lupus that have helped me transition from a weak sick patient to a strong Lupus warrior.
I’m no therapist. Not some worldly educated scholar but I know when I began to change how I perceive things, it benefitted me in the physical as well. I know I am a fighter so I have to fight to maintain my health, both mental and physical. Remove negative influences, replace it with things that uplift you. Emphasize your strengths, aim for your goals, and minimize your weaknesses to be the best version of you there is. Good luck and remember that it is an ongoing growth process. You don’t just wake up and become the butterfly. Trust the process.
Rosadela Durruthy is founder of She’s Got Lupus, a non profit organization aimed to improve the lives of those living with chronic illnesses by advocating for mental health, healthy living and raising awareness.