Friday, September 23, 2016

3 Ways to Win the Chronic Illness Game

Quite a few weeks ago, my family and I were playing a game of Monopoly when it prompted this post. Engaging in such an activity remind me that chronic illness is, in a sense, like a game. In a body plagued with sickness, it seems as if it is a game rarely won.

For those with chronic illness, like myself, our bodies are always plotting against us. 

A caring doctor is sought and willing to help, but is at a loss as to how. 

A pill treats one symptom, but causes a new disease manifestation.

A medication cures a condition, but leaves patient prone to a lifetime of side effects.

A doctor liberal in prescribing treatment exists, but they have no desire for another complicated, chronic case. 

Socialization is imperative for mental health, but can be physically detrimental, even dangerous.

Sleeping all day heals the body, but disconnects us from loved ones. 

Chronic illness creates the most intimidating of opponents. And so, we anxiously await our turn to roll the die. Will the outcome be two steps forward or ten back? How is one supposed to win at a game that seems we are destined to lose?

Pace Yourself

In any board game, there are only so many movements depending on the dice. The number it lands on cannot be exceeded. However, the opportunity occasionally presents itself to move a lesser number of space or even to remain stationary.

This is comparable to life with chronic illness, which places limits on our lives. We must proceed with caution in order to advance. To gain progress, it is conducive NOT to test the boundaries of set restrictions...for the most part. Over doing it is rarely ideal when pertaining to health. Unfortunately, our health requires us to make a choice - go forward to full potential or stay in place with the forfeit of a turn. Pacing yourself is smart to obtain victory.

Keep Realistic Expectations: GO TO JAIL; DO NOT Pass Go and DO NOT Collect $200

Keeping realistic expectations is an optimal winning strategy. Going to jail and losing out on the collection of $200 is inevitable. Similarly, chronic illness sends our bodies to a hypothetical prison, a holding cell barred with pain and symptoms.

It is important not to anticipate a game without hindrances. Accept and expect that setbacks will happen. Use them for good. View them as tools for healing and self reflection, rather than an admittance of defeat.

Team Up With the Opponent: Collect $10 From Each Player 

Nobody plays alone. Whether it is a session of Monopoly or the game of chronic illness.

Trading, lending money, and bailing others out of jail are simple negotiations that are essential to winning Monopoly.

Establishing alliances in the game of chronic illness is possible too! Work with your body, despite the illness. Care for yourself to preserve health. It is a definite disadvantage to view the body as an enemy. After all, you each are participants in the same game.