Saturday, May 9, 2015

Chronic Illness: Are you walking in the storm alone?

Right now Tropical Storm Ana, the first named storm of the year, is barreling toward the Southeast coast. It's headed right for my area. In fact, Joe Cantore of The Weather Channel is reporting from one of our beaches, and you know if he's here . . .

In Christianity the term "the storms of life" is common and as I prepared our home - tipping over chairs, securing anything that could become a projectile, etc. - I thought of how it relates to living with a chronic illness.

Do you ever think of your illness as a storm of life? Is it like a slow moving hurricane or a deadly tornado strike? However we think of it, one thing is certain - it leaves behind a destruction of sorts.

The destruction of dreams and plans is one thing, but as so often happens, an extended illness can devastate our families and quality of life.

Matters are made worse when we have an invisible disability such as Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease and others. How many times have you heard people say, "Well you look fine to me." or "You're just using this as a way to get attention."

Ouch! Sometimes this hurts worse than the disease itself.

If that's been your experience, a group like Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) can be a lifeline. I stumbled upon it while writing an article for another publication. I promptly became a member. They offer encouragement, education and even have a social media program that allows us to connect with others - it's kind of like Facebook.

What a relief it is to hear other people's stories and participate in discussions with those folks who really "get us."

Storms come in and out of our lives, but disease can last forever. I don't mean to sound discouraging, this is just reality.  Coming to healthy acceptance helps prevent emotional devastation. I DO want to encourage you to reach out to IDA or another support organization that meets your needs.

It's not safe to walk in a storm alone.

Now you:  If your disease were a storm, how would you describe it?      

When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.
                                                                                                                     Proverbs 10:25

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