Why Creating Dreams Is Essential For Your Wellbeing In Living With Chronic Illness

chronic illness living well with chronic illness Feb 07, 2023
Creating Dreams with Chronic Illness

"Dream big, because what if it comes true.”

Don’t you love it when some inspiration pops up in your YouTube feed? It’s a quote from Pink’s Icon Award acceptance speech.

You might be thinking, “Fine for Pink to dream big but I’m living with chronic illness!”

True. Living with chronic illness makes us different. It can be a struggle emotionally and physically to get through each day. You don’t have enough energy to fill your mind with dreams for your future.

Dreams can also trigger the loss and grief experienced in living with your illness. They remind you of how much your life has changed. How much YOU have changed.

Dreams that once inspired you, now seem impossible. Those dreams were for life before chronic illness. Life without chronic pain and exhaustion. Each of your dreams assumed good health. But we know in living with chronic illness, this is no longer a given.      

This realisation of lost dreams hurts. You’re not living the life you planned. You feel left behind. It’s not fair.

If you haven’t downloaded the quick reference guide, you might be asking “Why tell me to keep dreaming?”

👉 For your free guide click this link >> Dealing with the STRESS of ILLNESS

 

Dreams are vital for your mental health

I learnt this the hard way.

Being diagnosed with MS in my 20s was tough. Life was just beginning. Having finished two degrees at University I had recently started my corporate career. Living inner city. Overseas holidays. Nights out with friends. Life was good.

Plus, I was a goal-setter. I had so many plans and dreams for my future. But when diagnosed, and then experiencing countless admissions to hospital and rehab, my life became dominated by MS.

Soon my dreams for the future began to taunt me. In my mind, all my dreams assumed good health. Promotions. Postgraduate studies. Buying my own home. Travel. Even meeting a life partner.

I began to hate my life. My chronic illness was ruining my life. But worst still. I could no longer see how my dreams for the future would ever come to fruition. My life was filled with a sense of hopelessness. Which can be a dark place to find yourself.

When diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer I nearly slipped back into this darkness.

I was frustrated that another diagnosis was impacting my everyday life. But also, the plans I had for the coming year.  2022 was going to be a year filled with camping adventures. We purchased all of the gear. Had our ute fitted out. And we were planning our trips away.

Cancer quickly put a stop to that. Instead, I was stuck at home needing to isolate. My diary was filled with medical appointments. I had to conserve energy to keep working and pay the bills.

Fortunately, I was able to stop myself from spiralling into darkness by drawing on my experience with MS. I kept reminding myself that...

 

Dreams create the momentum to get through your toughest chronic illness events

The exact same thing happening when an MS relapse in 2003 saw me back in a wheelchair and having to learn how to walk again. But this time I faced a new level of dependency. I was unable to use my hands. Basic functioning was beyond me. I had to relearn how to hold a pen, cutlery, and even a toothbrush.

At times the fear of not regaining my functioning was paralysing. When I lay in my hospital bed at night I gave myself permission to start dreaming. Instead of worrying about my legs, hands and what may be. My attention was diverted. I found myself falling asleep imagining an overseas adventure.

At this stage, I didn’t know where or how. What mattered was this provided me with the motivation I needed to get through the daily grind of rehabilitation. Intensive neuro physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

A story for another day, but 2004 confirmed the importance of giving myself permission to dream. I regained my functioning and celebrated good health with an adventure of a lifetime. Volunteering with World Vision Romania. Spending time in a day centre for children with special needs. An experience beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

Lesson learnt.

 

Dreams will encourage your emotional healing

You may experience many ups and downs in living with chronic illness. Emotionally it can be a struggle.

I knew in living with Stage 4 breast cancer my life would never be the same. But I didn’t want to remain stagnant. Nor did I want to stay frustrated at having to isolate. I could not dwell on how my plans for camping adventures in 2022 had been derailed.

My energy was precious. And I needed to channel it into processing the trauma of this diagnosis. But to also discover ways I can live well and balance the demands of two chronic illnesses.

I knew that I needed to start dreaming again. In the absence of dreams, my emotional wellbeing would suffer.

Not only would dreams create the momentum I needed to get through the stress of doctors’ appointments, scans and treatments. But also the fear of an unknown future. I needed something to look forward to.

I gave myself permission to dream again. Not worried about detailed plans. But focussing on creating more space for my health.

Remember what Pink said. Dream big, because what if it comes true?

Luckily I did. Instead of googling campsites, I started to research rural land for sale. We went for country drives. Getting a feel for different areas. Giving ourselves permission to dream of the perfect place showing up.

 

 

Guess what? Now we are starting 2023 with a brand new adventure. Camping is back on the agenda. But on our own private oasis. We came across the perfect block that ticked all of the boxes. Surrounded by Australian bushland, this will be the perfect space for my healing.

I’m beyond excited. Which is a great feeling to have when living with a chronic illness. Who knows, the stars might align for a permanent tree change.

You are living with a chronic illness. Give yourself permission to dream.

Remember…

❤️ Dreams are vital for your mental health

🧡 Dreams create momentum to get through the toughest moments

💚 Dreams will encourage your emotional wellbeing

 

And as Pink says "Dream big, because what if it comes true"!

 

 

Are You Ready to Reclaim Your Life?


If you are living with a health challenge or supporting a loved one who is the good news is...

You can start your own Hurde2Hope® journey today by accessing this FREE on-demand MindsetMasterclass.

In it, you'll discover the exact three mindset shifts that have empowered me in my life with MS and now stage 4 breast cancer.

I'm so excited to share these insights with you! ❤️🧡💚