Who pushed me out of this perfectly good plane and where’s my parachute?

chronic illness can feel like you're pushed out of an airplane without a parachute
Chronic illness sucks. It can feel like getting shoved out of an airplane by some prankster you didn’t give permission to. These things just aren’t supposed to happen. We’re supposed to have complete control over our lives, right? Besides, you’ve done everything right. How did this happen? Why did life do a table flip on you like a WWE wrestler putting on the best show of their life?
People that probably get hit the hardest are the achievers. The overcomers. The invincible, you can’t get me down, success-driven type people. Those that welcome a challenge and have fun showing others how it’s done. The people that can deal with everything… until they can’t.
Getting hit with chronic illness can feel like the end of the world as you know it. Even though you are normally the one that makes change happen, you got left out of the decision making process on this one. Not cool life, not cool. You may feel like there’s no escape to this personal apocalypse. However, I’m here to tell you there is hope. You can overcome this, too.

The connection between physical and mental health

But first, you may be asking, how does physical health cause mental health to suffer? How do I know if my mental state is unbalanced?
Changes in our physical health can cause a lot of emotional upset. After all, it is a drastic change from our norm, right? These changes can make us feel depressed, anxious, and angry.
All of a sudden you may start feeling misunderstood or lonely. Maybe you feel like a burden or a failure. Maybe you just don’t want to adult today. Not to mention the extent of “I don’t wanna” regarding all those other pesky obligations. That’s normal for everyone right? In reality, those are all signs of depression.
You might find yourself worrying you can’t do things like you did before. Or maybe you worry about the possibility of being embarrassed in public when your health decides to clothesline you to the ground. Maybe you worry your body will betray you tomorrow and keep you from getting to work, doing chores, or being the partner you want to be. Even though that’s as annoying as a mosquito in your ear, it’s still normal right? As a matter of fact, no, it’s not. That’s anxiety.
Maybe you’re bitter. Maybe you’re resentful that you’re stuck on a spinning teacup ride you can’t get off of because the control-man just won’t shut it off. Maybe your blood boils at the thought of having to use an assistance device in the store. Those motorized carts seemed like great fun in childhood, right? Not so much anymore. Regardless of how normal those feelings seem, those are signs that you are angry.
Without a doubt, all those feeling suck. In the past you could just push and push until you broke through the wall, but now that wall is reinforced with seemingly impenetrable steel. How do you get through this? Sometimes the best answer is the most obvious one that we just can’t see… Let’s go around it. We can still achieve the goals on the other side without breaking our bones and crushing our souls.
Let’s return to that perfectly good plane you got forced out of. How do we survive that?!

How to survive being pushed out of a plane

You’re probably only focusing on the fall, the impending crash, the wham bam no thank you ma’am. You may think, “I can’t float without my chute. I’m scrambling to find it but this fear is making it impossible, I can’t even feel my hands!”
The problem is… you’re only focusing on being powerless because your health gives you freedom and independence. What if I told you, parachutes are for rookies and normies? You don’t have a parachute because you don’t need it. You have wings.
Loss of health doesn’t mean you lost your power, too. We all have unending power tucked away in hidden places. Counseling can help you discover those golden nuggets hidden in those nooks and crannies.
To clarify, you are powerful. Just because you lost full health doesn’t mean you aren’t the powerhouse you’ve always been. You still are that impenetrable force of life. Besides, this is another thing you can add to your list of “I overcame.” Seeing that you’ve always been the achiever, you will continuing achieving in spite of life throwing punches at you. You’ve hit back before, right?
Better yet, what if this time you added a teammate to be in your corner? Counseling can be the space where you become revitalized. The welcoming and calming office environment can help you recharge. Regardless of all the chaos happening outside those walls, everything is still within them. You are doing something for yourself. You deserve some peace. Taking that time to sit with an understanding therapist is the first step to taking your power back. What are you waiting for?
The time to hesitate is over. Now is the time to learn to use your wings and take your power back. Schedule an appointment with me today either through the client portal or call the office at 770-283-8386. I can help you take control of changes in your life again.
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Nadya Clontz is a licensed associate professional counselor at Empower Counseling Center LLC. She helps ambitious over-achievers pick themselves back up after life has drop kicked them to the ground. She loves helping people find their new normal so they can thrive — even if life didn’t turn out how it was planned. 

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