Learning to accept your lupus
A diagnosis of lupus remains with you for the rest of your life. And, a diagnosis of lupus also includes periods of feeling well mixed with periods of feeling ill. That is why learning to live with lupus involves making some changes -- physical, emotional, spiritual -- within your family, within your profession, within your social circle. In many cases, these changes will extend to how you define yourself.
But it is important to understand the significant difference between viewing yourself as a person with a chronic illness and viewing yourself as a chronically ill person. People who view themselves as chronically ill are allowing the disease and its limitations to take away a large part of their identity. People who view themselves as having a chronic illness are accepting the reality of lupus as one part of their identity.
You may find a source of strength and growth in the knowledge that you have a chronic illness but also a life beyond it. You may realize that living with your illness has made you more understanding of others whose lives are affected by sickness and pain. You may feel a greater appreciation for things you used to take for granted, such as the love and support of family, or hobbies, work, and activities that give you pleasure.
You may also find that your life and your identity are improved and enriched by sharing your experiences with others who have lupus, whether you volunteer with a local lupus support group or chapter, or help people with lupus in your community by listening or lending a hand.
You may even discover that sharing the knowledge of what to expect from a life with lupus, and what can be accomplished despite lupus, can be a powerful lesson for yourself as well as for others.