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3 Things 2020 Taught Me About My Chronic Illness

For me, the new year has always signaled reflective thoughts and the need to create an action plan to ensure future success. For so long it seemed to me that going into the new year without defined goals was setting myself up to fail or being too passive with how I live my life. If 2020 taught me anything about how I want to live, it was the importance of being able to adapt to sudden changes in plans and being thankful for the life I live. Cheers to reflecting on 2020 and making strides for abundance in 2021.

I learned that there is power in community

2020 was the year that I shared my Hidradenitis Suppurativa story online with hundreds of people that I have never met before. While this was seemingly a daunting task, it was also cleansing to release my experiences in an effort to help others. Throughout the year, I spoke virtually with many people who shared the same experiences. Throughout the year, I gained a wealth of information that would help me to battle Hidradenitis Suppurativa every day. I found joy in meeting other warriors, speaking words of positivity to them, and how we encouraged each other to keep fighting. This sense of community has even helped me to find joy and comfort in my experiences and to own them in a special way. 2020 was monumental in showing me that I am not alone in my experience.

It’s okay for flare days to temporarily stop my show

This one was more challenging for me to accept, but quarantine honestly made this concept a little bit easier for me to handle. I am sure that many of us can relate to the excruciating pain a flare can cause making it extremely difficult to do simple tasks like walk or move our arms. In 2020, I learned to acknowledge the pain and to act accordingly. If I needed a rest day, I made sure to find some time throughout the week to do so. If I needed a mood boost, I engaged in an activity that helped to uplift my thoughts. I am choosing to leave the mindset of being tough and able to do it all in 2020. Yes, I am a warrior, but I do not have to fight all of the time.

There are options that exist to make the fight easier

For a long time, I decided to take my flares as they came and to deal with them in the moment, no matter how bad they might be. In 2020, I learned that this is not sustainable in the long run. I learned that I do not have to subject myself to such pain unnecessarily because there are options that exist to make my fight easier. So, whatever that new thing is that I may want to try be it diet-related, treatment, or even therapy, I am going to do it 2021. I deserve it.

I am saying all of this to say, that in the year of 2021 my approach will be simple, to live in the moment and enjoy every bit of it—chronic illness and all.

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