You may feel pressure to accept yourself and your health condition every second of every day, especially if you’re open about how it affects you. But no matter how you approach life with your condition, you don’t need to live in a constant state of self-acceptance. It’s OK if you struggle to accept your health condition — and it happens to almost all of us.
It’s OK if you need time to grieve the life you lived before your diagnosis. It’s OK if you feel like making different health decisions wouldn’t have landed you with a new label to carry. It’s OK if you can’t seem to believe that you have a diagnosis or feel sad, frustrated or angry that your condition affects you along with many others. The grieving process may take weeks, months or even years, but no matter how long it takes, let yourself process your emotions. You deserve time and space to move through every stage of grief without your own judgment of your feelings.
It’s OK if you’re having a hard day and hating life with your health condition. It’s OK if you feel like you took 10 steps backward on the road to self-acceptance and feel stuck in a place of self-hatred. It’s OK if you feel sorry for yourself as your symptoms flare up, and you desperately want a life that doesn’t make you feel like a professional patient. Whether your hard time lasts for just a day or stretches longer, remember that it’s natural and won’t last forever. You will have bad days, but they don’t have to define your journey towards self-acceptance or the ways in which you advocate for others with health conditions.
It’s OK if you worry about others’ ability to accept you with your health condition, even if you’re surrounded by people who care. It’s OK if you have moments when you doubt your ability to find love or friendship or fear that your loved ones will walk away when they learn the intricacies of your condition. It’s OK if you have moments of mistrust and self-hatred as you struggle to cope with changing relationships as your health shifts. You are surrounded by love and support, but those moments when you believe otherwise don’t make your fears any less valid. You won’t feel this way forever, and your health condition may eventually make your relationships feel deeper and more fulfilling than ever before.
Self-acceptance matters, but in life with a health condition, it isn’t everything. It’s OK if you struggle to accept your health condition — living with an illness or disability is hard, and acknowledging the struggle is perfectly fine.