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  • Writer's pictureHolly Chameli

Am I Getting Better? Or, Am I Just Used to Being Sick?

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

I remember in 2013 lying in bed dreaming of being able to do one simple thing:  grocery shop with my kids.  That probably sounds ridiculous, but grocery shopping with my two little ones was a simple activity I’d taken for granted up to the point I could no longer do it.  When you’re bedridden with a chronic illness, you begin to look back fondly on even the simplest of things you can no longer do that you once took for granted.

Each week during that time, my mom would drive me to and from my doctor appointments.  And each week on the drive there and back, we would pass the same grocery store.  I always wondered as we passed if those people going in and out with their kids appreciated what they could do.  I wondered if, while they were stressed navigating other shoppers, a crowded parking lot, the poor weather, they appreciated their ability to be there doing it.  The thought made me feel very empty.

Over time, as I improved, I was eventually able to get back to the grocery store.  At first, I went just a few times with my mom, and it was difficult.  We went on random days because my health was unpredictable.  I’d waddle through a few of the aisles wrought with brain fog and depleted of energy, using the shopping-cart as a walker.  Gradually, over more time, I went alone. And then, finally one day, I progressed to going alone with my kids.

Wow, what an accomplishment, right??  It truly was.  But, for some reason it didn’t really feel that way.


I’d slowly developed a very self-defeating habit, one which you may have developed as well.  I was always moving the bar on myself, such that I would rarely feel good about where I was in the moment.


I’d slowly developed a very self-defeating habit, one which you may have developed as well.  I was always moving the bar on myself, such that I would rarely feel good about where I was in the moment.  I still felt sick when my goal was to feel well. So, I was always losing, even when I was making progress.

In the beginning of my recovery, I would beat myself up over not being able to get out of bed, drive to the store, walk down the aisle, and purchase something–however minimal.  Then, once I’d gotten over the hurdle of being able to GET to the store, I would beat myself up because I could only traverse a single aisle, relying heavily upon the cart to get around.  Then, when I was able to navigate more aisles and also bring my children with me, I would beat myself up for having to walk so slowly to get through the store.  No matter where I was on the spectrum of recovery, I felt I was a failure because I was always struggling.

I was not stopping to appreciate how far I’d come or acknowledge that I was truly in the process of getting better, rather than getting sicker.  I was too consumed with what I could NOT do.  And when you are consumed with what you cannot do, you are going to be in a dismal mood.  Your body will then respond in kind to your negative self-talk and feel even more run down and sick.  It’s a destructive cycle.

Don’t fall into this cycle.

We are all faced with enormous hardships at some point in our lives.  Whatever the hardship you face today, go easy on yourself.  Life can be VERY DIFFICULT to navigate.  There are no user manuals telling us what we should do, what course we should take, or how we should react.  We’ve only got our faith, our own good or bad judgment, and hopefully the help of friends and family to get us through.  It’s hard!!

It is so important to congratulate yourself along the way as you work through your problems.  There are going to be MANY small victories on your path to well-being.  Take notice of ALL of them.  They will likely be slight at first, but you will know a victory when you see or feel one.  Don’t minimize it.  If you haven’t been out of bed in months but are able now to walk to your mailbox, however slowly, pat yourself on the back.  If you find you can now open a jar of pickles without pain in your hands, pat yourself on the back.  If you can hold a conversation with someone without forgetting the words, pat yourself on the back.  If you can get through a day without letting thoughts of defeat fill your head, pat yourself on the back.  This is all progress.

Yes, you may still be very sick.  Yes, you may still have a lot of challenging days ahead and work to do, but that’s part of the journey and the recovery process.  Keep your chin up and keep at it, remembering to only move that bar after you’ve taken the time to reflect on your progress.  Those little victories are your body’s way of telling you that you are getting well, and THAT is something to celebrate.

LIKE WHAT YOU READ? Check out Holly’s new book, "The Healer Within – My Recovery From Chronic Lyme, CFS, and Autoimmune Disease," detailing how Holly got well when doctors left her for dead. Her 8-Step Recovery Plan can help you regain your health and your life.


And LIKE her on Facebook at “The Healer Within You”


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