A woman creates a barrier of light against tendrils of darkness while holding a small version of herself.

Setting Boundaries With Chronic Illness

I don't know about you, but this is possibly one of the hardest sides of living with a chronic illness that I have dealt with so far. For those that don't know what setting a boundaries for yourself is, it means learning what does and doesn't serve you best and then implementing those changes into your life, by letting others know what lines they can and cannot cross.

Boundaries allow you to respect and take care of yourself. But when you've never had boundaries in the first place, it can be a really hard thing to implement as people don't always like change.

How I set boundaries

About 6 months ago, I moved overseas so I could get a good grip on my health without having to worry about anyone else. It has changed me. I do things now because I want to, and I don't do things that I used to as they never served my health.

I have implemented many new boundaries for myself, by saying no to situations that don't suit me, being super clear to others about what I need, expressing my feelings, and communicating these new boundaries. Basically, I've learned a bit more self-respect.

It's not always that simple

That sounds simple; and at times, it has been simple. I'm in a new country, people don't know who I am, and I don't know who they are. I can honestly be whomever I want to be at this point. The real test is when someone from your old life walks through the door, and resembles the life where you never had boundaries for your health.

My old life wasn't about looking out for my kidneys. It was built on fitting in, drinking, thinking I was the healthiest person alive and I can do what every other person does. I wanted to prove I wasn't that sick and my life isn't as bad as my blood tests were showing. So, as you could imagine, setting new boundaries for someone from my old life was honestly one of the most freighting things I've ever had to do.

I needed to be so confident in who I was and why I had put new boundaries in to prove I wasn't going to crack. I would normally crack in my old life and give up my beliefs to make someone else feel better about theirs. But this wasn't the case anymore. I was doing something for me because health is my number one priority and sometimes you need to be cruel to be kind.

Feeling misunderstood

Honestly, some people couldn't understand where I was coming from and that sucked. It takes someone going through the same thing to understand situations sometimes. I can be like that too. To me, the importance of setting boundaries, is to set up a life that supports my health and who I will be for as long as I live. People will learn who you are and learn to act accordingly.

If they can't come to terms with who I am now, they are no longer for me.

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