Ups and Downs – Living with Lupus

My health has been unstable for the past few weeks. I know this is the nature of the “beast”: on-going lupus flares, body pain, lots of meds … but this time they all came together at once, and I felt dragged into a very deep hole.

Self-doubt

It is easy to tell others to stay hopeful, but much harder to be hopeful. It is difficult to keep a positive attitude when multiple lupus symptoms are back, lab results don’t look good, and new meds join my routine.

I immediately felt the impact of self-doubt: What am I doing wrong? Would I ever get better? Why is this happening again? What do I need to learn?

I have always heard that good things happen to good people, so why is this going on? I know life is not a walk in the park. We get sick, our hearts get broken, we lose people we love, careers fall apart. All these painful experiences heal, but leave scars.

Living with Lupus

Lupus has been consistently teaching me self-awareness, resilience and patience, all of which are areas I need to improve. Having to look inside, finding my inner strength, and adjusting my habits while constantly moving forward has shaken me to my core.

Maybe it is the cold weather, wet winter, or the germs floating around everywhere. The point is – I thought I was getting a break from my long flare phase. However, last week, while having fever, body pain and facing the fear of having to go to a hospital, I felt empty inside, lonely, and sad.

It is surprising that believing things will not improve, made me immediately feel helpless and depressed.

Big Finding

The mind rules.

It took me a few days to take ownership of the situation, to be aware of my thoughts and to ask for help. This was the first step to redemption – to leave the negativity and the dark side behind.

Surrounding myself with people who care about me, and asking them for support, made the world of a difference in my recovery path. Once more, life taught me – love heals.

Love and belief are powerful weapons against despair, pain, and depression.

Loving Myself

Changing my mindset, from “everything is bad and won’t change” to “I had been through this before, and it will pass,” was extremely encouraging and uplifting.

Looking for friends and family to give me emotional strength made a huge impact on my mood. Coming back to daily, short, self-compassion meditations helped me to re-center.

By no means am I looking at my life as ideal, but despite of my situation, loving myself and accepting love from others helped me to put things in a different perspective. The problems didn’t change; I changed the way I look at them.

As I learn to rise from my falls, I become stronger and readier to take on future challenges with a smile on my face. Pain is not a choice, but suffering is. Falling is not an option, but standing back up is.

Everything passes, good and bad times. As people say, every day is a new beginning.

Please, share your thoughts on how to face life’s highs and lows with others and with a positive attitude. There are lots of people who can benefit from it, including myself!

 

Yours truly,

Hope

 “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” ― Sheryl Sandberg

 

Hope was diagnosed with lupus in 2013.  Since then, she has learned more about her condition and is exploring ways to feel better. Before recently changing her life aspirations to focus on the lupus cause, she worked for several years in the technology industry, holding different engineering, marketing and leadership positions. She is Brazilian, and lived in the Silicon Valley and in the UK. Now, the lovely state of Oregon is her home.