Chronic Living in My 20s vs My 30s

Chronic Living in My 20s vs My 30s

I am just two years into my third decade of life, but I can already look back and see what a big difference there has been in the way I perceive and deal with living with a chronic condition. These changes are a result of my experiences, failures, successes and my slow maturation.

My Twenties

Being a young adult is an interesting phase of life. I was thrilled to be on my own and ready to paint the blank canvas of my life, but at the same time I was petrified and didn’t even know where to find the paint. Most 20-somethings are reported to have a mindset of being immortal. That is why they take risks, drive fast and make a variety of bad decisions.

It is hard to have those “normal” experiences when you go into your 20s knowing that you have a disease that has no cure. My mortality was always in my face. I knew that I had a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and a myriad of other terrible co-conditions.  This was coupled with the fact that I didn’t look like any of the other 20-year-olds I knew. I was overweight and covered in scales.

Blame it on the disease

But you know what the funny thing is? My 20s is when I completely ignored my disease. I shrugged it off and decided it was too hard to deal with, so I wasn’t going to deal with it at all. I wasn’t motivated to try to improve my health, because I was mad that I couldn’t be like my friends. It was easier to be a victim than to be an advocate for myself.

So that is how I spent a decade. If I didn’t get a job, or I wasn’t successful in school, I had an easy excuse. I blamed all my downfalls on this disease that I hated so much. It was my crutch. I can’t say I accomplished much in those ten years. The only light spots in that time was the birth of my boys.

My Thirties

I’ve barely scratched the surface of this decade, but I have already accomplished more growth than the previous 3,650 days combined. Facing the big 3-0 was a wake up call for me; something snapped in my brain. I got proactive about my health. It is an odd feeling to wake up and see gray hairs and wrinkles that seemed to have appeared overnight.

I no longer see myself as a victim. As I age, I realize that many others have health conditions just like me. Social media brings to light hidden struggles of old classmates and new friends. I came to the realization that everyone has struggles in life in one way or another. I don’t compare my situation to others, and in fact, I find myself having more empathy for what they are going through. When I was having a pity party, I wasn’t able to see that. I felt that I had it the worst and categorized everyone else into boxes that made me feel better about myself.

New found perspective

With this new-found perspective, I not only have been treating my body better, but I have put myself and my struggles out there to help others that are feeling the same way I did in my 20s. To a certain extent, I think everyone with a chronic condition must go through that period of time, a grieving of sorts at the loss of perfect health. I don’t feel shame for the years I spent in mourning, but I do wish I wouldn’t have spent so much time in that space, and I hope others can reclaim some of that time that I missed. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my 30s look like and am even more hopeful for the decades that will come after.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The PlaquePsoriasis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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