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(Trying) To Plan For The Future With Chronic Illness


As I wrote in my last post, I’m really struggling with thinking about the future.

I’ve now spent the best part of a decade having to change and adapt to the things that my body throws at me and how that affects my life, both personally and professionally.

Now I seem to be at a point where I’ve tried a bunch of stuff, made changes, tried more stuff, made more changes, and I’ve just ended up back in bed again. It just gets incredibly difficult and frustrating.

My poor parents have had to deal with several breakdowns over the last few days because of this. I think the biggest thing is that I had a job where every accommodation was made to try and help me work…and I still wasn’t well enough. And y’know, working from home bores me to tears most of the time…I’m a do-er.

I was very seriously considering going to law school part time (but mainly as a ‘fuck you’ to my body to prove I could) and after speaking to the head of the school, realised that the health-accommodations I would need wouldn’t be met. I think this is one of the most challenging aspects about conditions that can fluctuate so much.

I had a chat with a good friend of mine the other night and we were trying to figure out a solution, and we literally couldn’t think of one. Even if on a Monday I said I would commit to x hours that week, something could happen on Tuesday and I’d be unable to make that work. It makes me feel useless (when I know I’m anything but) and like I’m letting myself and other people down when I can’t do the work I’m supposed to do.

This has made sticking to my health management strategies even more difficult. If I feel horrific anyway, I don’t want to eat well or exercise, and go on a massive self-sabotage because at least then I have control over feeling even more crap. That makes sense to me, anyway.

After several days of freaking out, depression and tantrums, I’m trying really hard today to focus on things that I can do in the short-term as it’s better than just sitting in bed all day being sad about the seemingly lack of interesting anything in my future.

So, with that being said, tomorrow I am signing up for a part-time Front-End Web Development class at General Assembly, and I’m really excited about it. I’ve been wanting to learn to code for ages, but couldn’t bring myself to do another thing online. I am somewhat concerned about this course as it is in the evenings just off of Brick Lane, so not only will I have to travel for about an hour twice a week, it’ll be cold and I’ll be exhausted because, y’know, just existing is exhausting. But all I can do is try, and I feel like right now I need to be learning a tangible skill and just going out and doing something. I’m also thinking of taking yiddish classes, because I’m the coolest.

Today I also started a three day juice cleanse. While I don’t advocate juice cleanses for most people, I know that they really help me when I’m in the middle of a particularly bad self-sabotage to just not have to think about food and get back on track with eating healthily. It’s so hard to convince yourself to cook and look after yourself when you just feel like crap and even when you try really hard you just have horrid flare ups.

So this is my current plan. I don’t know how I’ll manage or how I’m going to feel, but all I can do is try. I’m still freaking out about post-course options (I can’t just keep spending money that I don’t really have on courses) but for now I’m trying to focus on doing something and hoping that will make me feel a bit better about everything that’s going on. But seriously, being sick is a full time bloody job. And it’s so expensive! I should be paid for this 😉

Happy (rainy and miserable!) Bank Holiday Monday, guys x I’d love to hear if you’ve been struggling with similar experiences and if you have any tips for those freakout times!

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If you’re in your teens or 20’s and are struggling with chronic illness, check out  my coaching services for a friendly face to talk to.


14 Comments on (Trying) To Plan For The Future With Chronic Illness

  1. Gursharn
    August 31, 2015 at 5:31 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Natasha,

    Its Gursharn from France!

    You are an incredibly determined individual, I wish I had even 5% of your strength, motivations and determination. It so sad to hear how the weather is really brining you down. I am so proud of you for signing up for code! You will enjoy your classes and go out with all the new friends you will make. I think of you a lot. You are a role model for all of us out their who are in good health and take it for granted and just don’t move our arses enough like you. I ask the Universe to give you the strength to fight this illness and achieve all your dreams. Lots of love xxx

    • Natasha Lipman
      September 1, 2015 at 11:07 am (2 years ago)

      That’s so kind of you to say and it means a lot. Thank you, Gursharn.

  2. jen
    August 31, 2015 at 7:55 pm (2 years ago)

    I definitely freak out! On the one hand you want to plan for the future to prove you can get on with life but then on the other hand, it puts pressure on you to actually achieve those things! i can’t sit still at all!

    • Natasha Lipman
      September 1, 2015 at 11:06 am (2 years ago)

      So true, Jen! And then when you think “ahh screw it, I’ll do it anyway” your body is like…nope!

  3. jackie
    September 1, 2015 at 10:38 am (2 years ago)

    I can so identify. There is so much I want to do and yet I have to plan for each small thing and plan in recovery time also. My heart aches when I see other people doing so much.

    Good on you for taking on the coding course

    And thank you for letting me know I’m not alone :-)

    • Natasha Lipman
      September 1, 2015 at 11:06 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, exactly! It’s so difficult.

      Thank you so much! I’m really excited :) Let’s just hope I’ll be able to manage it…

      Yay for not being alone. (gentle) spoonie fist bump.

  4. Emma
    September 1, 2015 at 2:46 pm (2 years ago)

    I just had to say that sometimes, just reading something like this blog is all that keeps me sane. Living with a chronic condition when all around you are normal… well, it’s far from easy. I’m still learning to deal with the should I push myself/let myself rest question. I definitely get the freak-outs and the giving in, trying to be more positive though and look for the silver lining. Sure I may be sofa-bound but hey, I can watch that awesome film I didn’t get around to!
    Good luck with the coding course – I really hope it works out for you!

    • Natasha Lipman
      September 1, 2015 at 2:50 pm (2 years ago)

      That really means a lot, Emma. It is really difficult to find that balance, isn’t it?! I find that there’s only so far I can push myself (which is my natural instinct always) before I really suffer. The problem really comes when you’re trying to do anything and just everything requires pushing! But I like your positive slant – and there are infinite numbers of films and books to keep us entertained. Hope today isn’t too bad of a day!

      • Emma
        September 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm (2 years ago)

        I hear that! I think a lot of us are naturally bubbly types who *want* to DO!! We’re not so good at sitting around. :)

        Today is mostly an oh my god I can’t keep awake day. The big question is do I give in and go to bed or try and exercise. Choices choices!


        • Natasha Lipman
          September 1, 2015 at 2:56 pm (2 years ago)

          Exactly! Ahaha – I know that feeling 😉 I’ve done some work (in bed), went for a walk and am planning on spending the rest of the day in bed 😛

          • Emma
            September 1, 2015 at 3:39 pm (2 years ago)

            😀 I’ve made it through to an acceptable quitting time. Now it’s lie-down time!!

          • Natasha Lipman
            September 1, 2015 at 6:06 pm (2 years ago)

            Yay! Enjoy!

  5. Erin
    September 10, 2015 at 11:19 am (2 years ago)

    Hello Natasha!
    I follow you on Instagram, and have to say, despite what your body is making you cope with, you are a force to be reckoned with! So pleased to see you are persevering and trying a coding course- I’m hoping you find the right balance there- it’s a testament to your determination to keep carrying on! Thank you for your inspiration & the positive but realistic approach to living with & managing a chronic illness. All the best! xx

    • Natasha Lipman
      September 10, 2015 at 11:20 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much, Erin! That means a lot 😀


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