Perspective. This is a word I seem to use more in my vocabulary since my illness. I will say, “I have a shifted perspective on things.” And that is quite the general statement, but what my illness has given me is a shock in perspective for one’s health, which I can then extend to other aspects of life.
I was suddenly the sickest I have ever been in my life. And hopefully ever will be. And I was more sick than many people will ever experience. But I was not as sick as others I saw in the hospital. I received many comments about my positive attitude and almost astonishment at my outlook on things. And I know my perspective allowed me this. Even though for a few weeks I was bedridden in the pulmonary unit, I knew there were other patients who were more ill than I was. Once I was walking again, doing my laps around the ward, I would see other people who were completely immobile and hooked to machines for them to breath. And it allowed me to focus on the positives that I still had with my situation.
An analogy I find my myself using, is to imagine someone who has never had a headache before. If they were experiencing a headache for the first time, they would probably be very concerned and worried, because their BRAIN is hurting. And that is really serious. Bur for anyone else who has already had a headache, we know that the pain subsides and it’s really not that big a deal. But to this first time headache person, they would be taking it much more seriously.
Now, I am not sharing this to call anyone out who has done this before, because again, it’s all about each person’s unique experiences, but when I see people complaining (yes, I am calling you complainers 🙂 ), on social media about HOW SICK you are (ex. flu or cold), the first thing I think is, “Suck it up and be thankful. Oh dear. You have a RUNNY NOSE. My lungs were dying.” But, I would have never had this significant of an outlook had I not been through this health journey.
It’s hard to make judgements on your life, having not experienced something to change it.
I have been wanting to write about this topic for months now, and finally today I got the nudge to do so. My bestie has a super bad chest cold right now. And she shares with me how her lungs are so congested and she can’t breath normally. And all along I just tried to provide my sympathy and support quietly. Because I know she really isn’t feeling well and she admits she is a suck when she’s sick. But today it was really great to hear her acknowledge that she knows it must seem out of place for her to be complaining about her lungs, when I literally couldn’t breath before. But we find in the humour in it, and that’s what I adore about our friendship so much. And I offered her my oxygen monitor.
Right now I have a sore throat and my voice is raspy. Arrine has a stuffy/runny nose and a cough. And I would rather not feel sick and rundown, but I have been given the blessing of having an illness to compare this to. And if my lungs not working never got me down, a sore throat sure as heck isn’t gonna get any complaints out of me!
So maybe even if you haven’t experienced a really challenging health issue or other emotional struggle in life, you can still remind yourself that even when you are feeling your worst, unfortunately, there is most likley someone worse off than you. And maybe that will make you think twice before complaining about your whatever…Focus on the positive.