No matter what part of the Cushing’s journey you are on, self-care is extremely important.
I have put together a list of reminders that helped me cope with Cushing’s disease. Even though I have recovered from Cushing’s, I only have one adrenal gland, so I often get tired if I don’t practice self-care. The following list was useful when I was sick and it continues to help me now, especially when I am overwhelmed with life.
- Let go of expectations: Releasing the expectations people had for me, and the expectations I had for myself, was quite the challenge. I tried not to get down on myself for having symptoms, just like I tried to remember that my symptoms were not my fault. Expecting too much of myself in the realms of work, school, family, and my social life caused unnecessary stress while enduring an already stressful illness. It was hard to let go of ideas of what my life should be and how my illness hindered me. I also kept comparing myself to healthy people living their best life, but I realized that I needed to undergo treatment so I could heal and know that, one day, I would feel better and live my best life as well.
- Forgive yourself and others: I know this sounds strange, but it seems many Cushing’s patients I have spoken to can relate to feeling guilty. I felt that I deserved to be sick and lived in shame for a while. I felt that I was a bad person because I could not control my stress levels. Of course, looking back, I know that doesn’t make sense: Illness can happen to anyone. It’s not my fault I am sick. I also struggled with feeling misunderstood, especially before my diagnosis. I didn’t understand why I felt so bad. People I met would often mirror what I was feeling inside, but I had to remember that people are only capable of understanding things from their perspective.
- Don’t give up on yourself and your health: There was a time when doctors told me there was nothing wrong with me. I was so discouraged that I stopped looking into my symptoms and felt hopeless. I gave up on myself. If I had become my own advocate sooner, I would have been diagnosed, treated, and healed.
- Know you are not your illness: Your symptoms may have control of your body, but you have to remember that your illness is not you. Try not to get down on yourself for what your body cannot control. Remember that you are not your disease. You are a human being with a purpose, whether it is to love, be loved, create, advocate, or inspire.
- Turn your attention to positive stories: Positive stories reminded me that I was not alone and gave me hope that I could get better after treatment. It’s hard to focus on the positive when in pain. It’s human nature to fall into the trap of negativity and helplessness, but I am a believer in manifesting positive things that can help my situation. I have seen the power of positive thinking work in my favor. Whatever bad situation you are in, know that you are not alone. Be optimistic that there will be better days. Wholeheartedly believing that will give you some peace of mind.
- Healing comes in waves: Some days can be worse than others. I had to make peace with everything happening to me and accept there would be good and bad days. Once I got the surgery I needed, I felt worse, but with patience and some time, I eventually healed. Remember that nothing can last forever.
For some reason, we were chosen to experience this journey. I am thankful for the good and bad days, but the bad days truly help me realize how strong I am. I hope these reminders help you, too. Remember that the best version of yourself comes after your worst journey.
Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.