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    "Be Patient with Yourself"


    Being patient with yourself is hard, especially when you have a chronic illness. When you have high expectations for yourself, you expect good results and quick results from whatever you do. But as we all know, that is easier said than done. I've always been really hard on myself. It comes from wanting to do my best, being a perfectionist, and wanting to please everyone. I often judge myself so harshly that it negatively affects my sense of self and contributes to a cycle where I never see myself or anything I do as good enough. I have been trying to learn how to break that cycle lately.

    School, my chronic physical illnesses (EDS and POTS), and my chronic mental illnesses (depression and anxiety) are the major stressors in my life. Although academics usually come easy to me, managing school with several chronic illnesses can be a challenge. Likewise, managing one chronic illness is even more challenging when you have others to worry about. The most accurate analogy that I can think of is having multiple toxic friendships at once. Imagine that you have to deal with not one, but many toxic friends. Then, imagine that those toxic friends talk about you and interact behind your back to compound the amount of petty and hurtful shit that you have to deal with. That's what it's like to have multiple chronic illnesses. And when you try to add having a normal life to that-you know, having a social life, school or work, maybe even some hobbies-the juggling act gets even more difficult.

    This semester was another one that I thought would break me. My depression and fatigue had gotten worse than they have ever been in the 10+ years I have struggled with these illnesses. I was losing motivation and productivity at a faster rate than I ever had before, and the physical and mental effects of both of these illnesses were crippling. I really did not think that I would make it to the end of the semester.

    In the past few years, I've developed many coping skills for living with mental and physical illnesses. And I'm proud to say that most of them are healthy. But the longer I struggle with these issues, the more I realize that I need to do more to accommodate myself and be able to do my best while still feeling my best. As you can imagine, it's fucking hard. There are so many things as a twenty-something and a college student that I wish I could be accomplishing, so I often feel at a disadvantage because my illnesses get in the way of me being carefree and living my life to the fullest. It often feels like I'm settling for less by accepting that my body or mind won't be able to handle certain challenges or even enjoyable things.

    Considering the negative impact I see my self-talk having on my already existent obstacles, I am trying to learn how to be patient with myself. Affirmations like the one above from @recipesforselflove help me remember that I am, in fact, doing my best, and that I need to be patient with my progress. A lot of the time, we don't see immediate results from our efforts. But as the semester is coming to an end, I'm realizing that you have to be patient with yourself and the world around you to get what you want, and sometimes need. I am still working on how to cope with the time in between. How do y'all stay patient during times when you are struggling? What are some of the strategies you use to get you through this time?