Limitations...

People who live with chronic physical illness are no strangers to the word "limitations." Although all human beings, including those who do not live with chronic physical illness have limitations, the limitations are usually not acknowledged or experienced as a reality until one has reason to do so. Just like with the reality of death, most people do not want to think about the reality of human limitations, but this is something that people who live with chronic physical illness cannot avoid. In fact, many people with chronic physical illness may be completely tired of hearing about their limitations. It seems as if just when it seems that the concept of limitations has been discussed to no end, a new angle on the topic of limitations arises.

Living with a chronic physical illness can be a constant process of adjustment. One may think that he or she has come to accept the life changes that come with living with a particular illness, shoving the reality of limitations into the background, until suddenly a new adjustment is necessary, exposing the reality of one's limitations all over again. For example, imagine being diagnosed with a chronic illness which requires one to alter his or her work schedule. One may feel the need to resist these necessary changes until he or she realizes the need for an adjustment and accepts the alterations necessary. At this point this person may feel good about his or her life situation and may experience his or her limitations as something that has been dealt with and now put aside. But what happens when after a year or two that same person's symptoms change or worsen? This person's current system of dealing with his or her limitations may no longer function as needed, making the person's limitations something that again needs to be addressed.

It is not easy for anyone, chronic illness or not, to accept that humans are not capable of doing everything. People who live with chronic physical illness inevitably have to learn to accept this reality through a fluid process. Learning to live with human limitations is not something that happens after a one time adjustment or event. Rather it requires an ability to be able to accept a constant evolution in how one's limitations impacts his or her life and in how one will cope with these changes. This is not an easy thing to do and can follow with an enormous amount of frustration, anger, sadness, and even depression. It takes incredible strength to just acknowledge and accept that another adjustment in necessary, and to then get to working on it. One does not have to go through this process of coping with limitations alone.

See the limitation, accept, adjust...but you do not need to do it by yourself! Express your needs to others (e.g. your employer, partner, family, or friends). Ask for help with the adjustment. Speak up...you are not annoying, a burden, or a nag. Your needs matter. Talk to a professional. You do not have to get through this transitions alone.