What exactly floats your boat? Do you even know after years of struggling with a chronic illness? Your interests might have changed after a journey of illness and you might not know it. Explore your options. Examine your dreams. It is fun to do this whether you are at the end of your journey with chronic illness or still in the heat of the battle. Dive in, see what floats your boat.
You will have your own interests and dreams. You might not even know anymore what they are. After spending years homebound or bedridden, you might have forgotten or even given up on them. Your interests and dreams might have changed. They might have grown in depth as you have grown through your illness.
Whether you are still confined to bed or are back up on your feet, you are able to pursue your interests and dreams.
While you are ill you can still have thoughts, at the very least. Revisiting your past dreams can be fun. Which ones are still burning desires inside of you? Which ones need to be rekindled and which ones need to be shelved? Do you have new dreams? Being ill for extended periods of time changes us. We grow, we are transformed from our health experiences. How has this changed your dreams for your life?
If your body allows you out of bed, what can you do to explore your interests and your dreams? If you are bed-bound, what can you do from there?
Quantum physics was a bizarre interest of mine that I was able to explore at the very beginning of my health battle. Just before my brain significantly shut down I started learning about quantum physics. I am not the most scientifically minded but I had a tremendous interest.
There were times my brain could not begin to understand it or process any part of the science. There were other times I used an audio-book on quantum physics to lull me back to sleep in the middle of the night so I would not think my troubling thoughts. My eyesight became so poor from my illness that I had a few years that I struggled with reading books. YouTube videos worked perfectly for me. My brain does not wrap around anything more than the basics so this would never become a lasting pursuit.
Gardening is always everyone’s grand suggestion when one is ill. Why is that?
I started a garden. It was great for a couple years. I was able to get outside and feel like I was accomplishing something. Then I started getting better physically but something odd happened with my walking and I could not step without shuffling my feet. So gardening had to halt immediately. I had to accept that I would have to clean it all up later. I would be able to get back to simple gardening but realistically, it was too much for my body while going through a chronic illness.
On and on it all goes. I have explored all kinds of different things while homebound for five years. It takes that kind of exploration when one is figuring out how to spend their life after the illness. I can guarantee I will not become a Quantum Physicist or a Master Gardener. It was through those early years of chronic illness that I figured out that I wanted to use my health experience to serve others.
It was fun to find out what floated my boat. Not one moment of wasted time. I completely rested when that was necessary and I daydreamed a ton. During those years at home or in bed, we can explore and investigate. Using our minds like that can result in great joy. Adding the joy relieves some of the times of worry, sadness, frustration over the illness.
You are still a person. A real, live person who has dreams and interests. Do what you can not to lose that during illness. Easier said than done, I know.
What has your body allowed you to explore during chronic illness? What dreams and interests have you pursued during this time?
Maribeth Baxter, MBEC
Donations accepted to serve others on their chronic illness journey. Maribeth Baxter, MBEC provides voluntary certified health coaching services to the financially limited during their time of crisis.