Being diagnosed with a chronic illness is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. It changes everything in your life and often those changes are challenging, upsetting and difficult to live with.
Your life becomes staged between various doctor's offices, pharmacies and hospitals. You move from one medication and therapy to another, forever searching for the thing that will alleviate your symptoms and give your days some peace.
Life with chronic illness is hard, and if you really need an excuse to fail then chronic illness is an easy one to use.
Yet, there are people around the world, every day, doing amazing things despite their chronic illness, and achieving all manner of successes.
If you need celebrity examples just look at:
Sir Steve Redgrave, five times Olympic Gold Medalist, who suffers from ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. Or Michael J Fox who lives with Parkinson's yet continues to act and advocate for the Parkinson's community. Halle Berry, Best Actress Oscar winner, who manages her incredible career, despite Type 1 Diabetes.
There are many more celebrity examples and thousands more of ordinary people doing extraordinary things whilst also living with chronic illness.
Are you one of them, or are you using your chronic illness as an excuse to fail? The warning signs are:
You hear yourself saying, "I can't because I have (insert chronic illness issue here)"
It's easy to use chronic illness as an excuse to not do things, and there's no doubt that chronic illness makes many things challenging, but if you want something badly enough there's always a way.
Yes, it might require planning, implementing workarounds and some complex juggling. Perhaps you need a certain level of medical help, perhaps you need to undergo a new treatment or surgery. Perhaps the hurdles seem endless. Yet, if you really want something, you CAN do it you just have to want it badly enough.
Just look at Michael J Fox again. He could have surely decided to never act again after his diagnosis. He has the perfect excuse because who would ever imagine that a guy who can't control his body movements, could possibly act in top TV shows? Yet he refuses to use that excuse. Here he is in 2014 acting on The Good Wife to great acclaim. That must come with its challenges, but he's doing it anyway.
You've convinced yourself you don't have what it takes, because of your chronic illness
The irony is you absolutely have what it takes, and the fact you're surviving with chronic illness shows it.
You manage your way through the complexities of the healthcare system. That's no mean feat. It takes determination and persistence; qualities that are essential requirements for success.
You also have incredible resilience, being constantly knocked down by a new symptom or medicine side effect, yet you always get back up and continue with your day to day life.
Success is about pushing through the falls, and you've got that down.
If you could just see how strong and amazing your chronic illness has made you, you will quickly realize that you are built for success
You convince yourself that you don't have the energy, you don't have the time
Even healthy people use these as an excuse to fail, so you're not unusual, but the truth is, there are only two types of people, no, not the chornically ill and healthy.
There are those that do and those that don't.
Success is relative and attributed to someone achieving what they set out to, getting to the end of their planned journey. Some people will set themselves a path and race down it to success. Others set their path but stroll down it slowly and cautiously, taking much longer.
However swiftly or slowly that path is navigated, the end result is the same: success.
Don't let the speed at which you're able to travel deter you from your path. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep doing, just one thing at a time, and you can be sure you will not fail.
Your chronic illness doesn't mean you can't be successful. Just keep believing, keep doing and always pick yourself up after every fall. You've got this, and you're not alone.
Read more for women with chronic illness at www.lottieryan.com