Limitations of life are typically defined by fear or moral base, our physical body doesn’t always come into play until we are hit with something like chronic illness. The presence of if we want to do something or if we should do something, based on illness. It now sets our limits. Our personal definition of limits is very different. We define our personal limits based on how we live life. As chronic illness takes over our physical capabilities, slowly or quickly, we discover limitations of life are now dictated more by our body. Some of us don’t really understand limitations of life until we have chronic illness. As chronic illness shifts within our life, our definition of limitations shifts with it. Some limitations can be constant, but some limitations can be temporary. We learn to redefine it because if we don’t it consumes us with a stress of incapability.
Our body or cavity becomes more defined. We know what is happening, we still are the same person mentally as we were before, but our awareness of our body becomes more apparent, especially when we try to push our boundary limits. Our personal limits can be going to work, maintaining your job, maintaining friendships, going out in certain types of weather, consuming different foods, going to different places, being able to do the dishes and so many other examples. It can be any gesture of life. When we realize a limitation, not by choice, but by body it can be the worst feeling. We face them head on at the moment, which especially depending on our activity this can be extremely challenging. When we realize our limitations are more recognizable then we desire, that is when we can get a choice to take care of ourselves, even when it is overwhelming and frustrating to figure out a rhythm. When we are able to recognize the challenging moments within our life, we are able to recognize us and figure out a plan to move forward with everything. Below are a few ways to help you face limitations and help redefine them to fit a life you still desire.
Personal Experience: One of my hardest limits I found with chronic illness are the ones that affect the day-to-day aspects. I so enjoy cooking and with all my nerve pain throughout my body, it had affected by fatigue in my arms, so my arms started having tremors, which meant I couldn’t hold a cup without two hands or hold a utensil. So I had to give up something that not only I loved, but I had to ask someone to help me with the basics needs of living. It was extremely frustrating and overwhelming, because not only did I know it was happening, it was so visible to everyone around me. It created definite limits to my life and it required me to ask someone for help. It was a stretch of my patients and taught me a lot within the process of how to maintain my emotions and not get frustrated by what is happening with my body. Thankfully this limitation only lasted about a year, I found treatment for the tremor symptom alone. It was one of my successes within this health journey. Although I may have found a treatment to cover up the symptoms, if I don’t do the treatment it comes back right away, along with when I have been in a lot more pain my tremors come back. So it isn’t an everyday symptom, but it still occurs. I am faced with limitations every day from symptoms that have and can’t be treated. Almost every day I am reminded or discover a new limit, but my desire is to live a life I love, despite the limitations.
Ways to help redefine the definition of limitations to your personal life:
The “can do” and “sometimes can do” list.
This is a concept that has got me through almost all of my limitations. Create a list of things that you love that you know you can for sure do and then instead of creating a list of things you can’t do, create a list of things sometimes you can do. This is a list of everything that isn’t on your “can do” list. Maybe it is simply a mental list that you make to yourself, maybe it is a list you share with others especially the ones you live with or your caregiver. No matter where you have it or how you hold it, it allows for you to not get rid of all the things you feel you can’t do. The “sometimes can do” is a list intending to say I may not be able to do it now, or in certain moments, I may not know when I can do it if ever, or I can’t complete this task during symptom flares. It gives yourself permission to not use the word “can’t,” along with allowing you to give yourself permission to also say that your symptoms are not in a good place to complete a task now, but you could get to it later.
Finding a moment of peace within the overwhelming realization.
When finding ourselves in an overwhelming amount of upset and realization about our limitations, maybe even a new limitation, pause within that moment and figure out a way to ground yourself to take a minute to figure out what your limits are extracting the emotion from the situation, as much as possible. Then step forward and try again, if you keep finding yourself in that place, don’t give up hope just know that this moment is not the moment to evaluation your limits. This moment doesn’t define your limits. When you find yourself in this situation make sure to step back and figure out how were your symptoms when you stepped into this situation, try again at a point when your symptoms are better to see if you can do it and then maybe put that task on the “sometimes can do” list.
Learning a new language for yourself.
When we readjust our thinking about what limits mean to us, we often discover that our personal boundaries have now shifted. We let the ones that we know we can rely on in, we push the people we can’t deal with their stress away, and we figure out how we can care for others and reshape our relationships. With this we learn to ask for help, we learn to say no in a stronger way (since our health that relies on us to not deal with unnecessary stress), we put ourselves first saying we have to take care of us first, we learn a whole new vocabulary. You will define and redefine this as you learn what your limitations are.
Understanding that limits, like our health are constantly changing.
As your health shifts and your chronic illness develops into one thing or the next, we learn to redefine what our limitations are and what it means to have limitations. We will constantly be changing our vocabulary of what our body can and can’t do. Patients can be one of the hardest things to do, but it can also be the most helpful tool, to understanding what is going on within your life.
You may find yourself in a moment that you’ve done a million times prior, that can’t seem to stick in that moment, let go and allow yourself to find yourself doing one of the above to figuring out if you are redefining your limits again.
What is your best life tactic that you find helps when discovering a new limit?
T r u l y , L i n d y