“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”
For the majority of my (reasonably) young existence, I let my suffering grow within me as bitterness, which poisoned my soul. Spending each and every day angry with the world and at any type of God there may or may not be was no way to live. At first I would lash out at others, as I didn’t know how to control my pain and rage, which subsequently pushed people away and made for more personal suffering. Eventually all that hatred turned inward, and I punished myself for my suffering. I figured that there had to be a reason why I would end up so horridly ill, while others went about their young lives with such a carefree, invincible attitude. I came up with so many reasons to punish myself – sometimes just to know I could still feel. This negativity towards myself did not advance my life in any way, as people still could not deal with my constant focus on my suffering (as it had become all I could think about)…
Over the last year, I have tried my very best to transform my suffering into a creative force. In many ways, I think I have succeeded. No one has called me a pessimist in months, nor have they had to tell me to be easier on myself. I haven’t been beating myself up mentally or physically. Instead, I’m trying to turn that suffering into knowledge – through learning, reading, writing, and drawing. I feel as though a million pound weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, simply by accepting myself and my limitations, and realizing that I can only be as good as my best on any given day. I’ve figured out what I want out of life, and now my job is to chip away at those goals. If I can help any person who is struggling in that similar dark place of suffering, my life will have a purpose. My stories are my job. My poetry is my job. My art is my job. It may not pay me any money, but money is hard to achieve when suffering is involved. I have learned that there is more to life, and as a result, I am (for the most part) peaceful.
Now those of us with chronic illnesses are never going to be able to give up the shit that weighs us down, which is really unfortunate. It will always make us depressed and frustrated and in pain. That we cannot change. But we can let a little bit of the anger go, in favor of loving the people we love and the things we love for as long as we have.
Can any of my fellow chronic illness friends relate to this quote?