Rethinking what success looks like in life with Cushing’s disease
Taking care of yourself and your needs is an accomplishment to be proud of
Weak. Pathetic. Useless. Worthless. I’ve found myself staring in the mirror, calling myself all of those names. Coming to terms with Cushing’s disease and its effects on my body is an ongoing battle, especially because the disease is ever-changing. I can have no symptoms one day, and then be completely bedridden the next.
For a long time, I thought my illness made me weak. When I saw other people my age reaching toward certain successes, particularly ones that required physical strength, I’d feel inadequate in comparison. My thoughts would flood with negativity.
“I can’t do that.”
“I’m not good enough.”
“That’s not for people like me.”
I was wrong — in so many ways. I’ve only recently realized that my illness actually makes me stronger. I’m working multiple jobs, which a lot of people do, but I’m doing it through migraines. Through leg pain. Through hormonal issues and visual problems. It reminds me of the lyric “Anything you can do, I can do better,” though my version is more like, “Anything you can do, I can do while in excruciating pain.”
There’s a lot of pressure in our culture to be successful, often through major accomplishments in our career or personal life. I have mixed feelings about this type of success, but I’m focused on embracing the fact that I don’t have to be useful to be worthy. I’m enough as I am. I might not make as much money as someone else, and I might work fewer hours than others. My lifestyle is a little quieter, a little softer than it used to be.
I once believed that I had to constantly give my all and burn myself out to reach my goals. That’s not only a harmful mindset, but it’s also physically impossible for me.
Therefore, I need to adopt a more holistic view of my life and my achievements. Success includes health. Success includes happiness. Success includes friendship and love.
I have a wonderful marriage. I have great friends who cherish me. My lab results are better this month than they were last month. All of that is absolutely what success looks like!
I can do everything that I used to do; it just looks a little different now. Instead of a full-time job, I work multiple part-time jobs. This gives me the flexibility to sleep in and take care of myself on rough health days. Instead of running, I now do floor yoga for exercise. It’s better for my joints and helps me build my strength.
Mondays are my toughest days because I have my Mounjaro (tirzepatide) shots on Sunday nights. Therefore, Mondays are filled with face masks and long baths. Taking care of myself and my needs is success.
I want to be a writer, hopefully publishing my novel one day. I want to buy a house. I want to be an advocate for the Cushing’s community and use my platforms to help other people. My definition of success may be simpler than most, but I’m working every single day to achieve my dreams.
For anyone who needs to hear it today: You are successful as you are. You are worthy, and you are enough.
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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.