two friends walk a dog and chat arm in arm

Encourage, Lift, and Strengthen One Another

I think we all need to be there for each other, but especially for those with chronic illnesses, asthma or otherwise. How often have we read on social media that someone feels alone or isolated because no one understands what they are going through? Chances are there is another person who can relate.

Finding support from others with asthma

A work colleague once asked me if I would like to go out for lunch. I politely declined. Going out for lunch at my place of work meant a short ten-minute walk to the nearest food outlet, and my lungs just were not capable of that at the time. It turns out that if I had just told him what the issue was, he was in fact quite happy to turn that short ten-minute walk into a 20-minute walk--he had asthma, too!

This person has gone on to become one of my best friends. While we haven’t physically seen each other in over a year, he is so supportive of everything, but especially my asthma. This experience taught me that I shouldn’t be ashamed of what I can’t do, but rather I should be open about my illness and be grateful for the things I can do. It is much easier to feel comfortable and confident trying new things if there are other people on hand who can spot your warning signs and know where you keep your medication.

Encouragement goes a long way

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the worse my asthma got, the more I became isolated and I began to develop anxiety. I’ve met some wonderful people since starting CrossFit, the kind of people that will get up at 5 AM to meet you at 6 AM for a grueling workout, that will give up their own evenings to hold my hand through a full class, and that will carry me out for fresh air when the exercise gets too much.

My inner voice has often been full of negative self-talk. Having someone who believes in us can be the difference between success and failure. Get yourself someone who will shout “You can do this!” just before you attempt something difficult.

But support doesn’t need to be from another person--it could be your pet dog! I do not go running without mine. He stops me from feeling anxious and gives me the confidence to venture further from home as I am not running alone. He is so happy to be out running alongside me and has no idea how important he is.

We can support each other

I’ve never been a patient person and taking the time to recover and heal has been a struggle for me. I would like to get up and go, and I’d rather not have to think about potential asthma triggers I might face, but I have recently found that the best way for me to move forward is to have a support system I trust. A doctor who listens to me, a dog that keeps me company, and friends that believe in me even when I don’t.

I am using this moment today to tell anyone reading this, that I believe in you, that I want the best for you, and that I will be there to support you if and when you need me--just reach out.

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