Permission to Thrive Chapter 6: Participate in Life
By April McGraw, RN. NOTE: April has taken the time to compile her experiences and life lessons as a nephrology nurse and person on dialysis into a book that she shares with the renal community free of charge for download. She has given MEI permission to serialize the book once a month in KidneyViews—and we hope you will share the link with others who will benefit from her wisdom, compassion, and empowerment. A course and workbook are in progress as well, so watch for those!
A couple of years ago, my sisters told me that I was not participating in life. My family agreed. After some reflection, I realized that they were correct. I would self-isolate without even realizing I was doing it by not answering the phone or returning texts. Unless I was going to work, I pretty much stayed in the house. Stay social and stay involved with family and friends. Accept invitations to attend functions and events outside of the house. Volunteering in your community is a great way to remain active and present. Additionally, you can continue to add to your support tribe.
Be confident and date if single. The right person will love you despite your scars and health status. Be an active partner in your marriage or relationship. Continue doing things that you enjoyed pre-chronic illness as much as you can. I love to tell people not to revolve your life around your illness but fit your illness in your life.
Based on your chronic illness and any other underlying conditions, you may have to adjust to how you perform some activities, but if you are able to stay active, do it. Plan for light exercising for 20-30 minutes a day, even if it is a walk around your neighborhood. Shutting down, and isolating yourself from the world, exacerbates feelings of loneliness and depression.