What's the difference between a victim and a survivor?

It starts with switching off all those voices. When people tell me they know just what I need to do and it'll make me all better. (Something true friends ever do.) When they think they know more about my illness or my experience than I do. Which they don't. They haven't walked a pace in my shoes let alone a mile... They are just taking a sneaky opportunity to judge me whilst sounding like they are trying to help.

So those are the first voices I have to block out. In a way, the easiest. Then I have to work on the voices inside me. The ones that tell me I'm so terminally unique... No one can relate to me because no-one else is deaf/blind bipolar with fibromyalgia and a few things too minor by comparison to add to the list. I could tell myself that but that just leaves me sad, mad and anxious. So instead I tell myself that I am more than my labels, more than my illnesses and I can relate to any being on the planet just because we all have that in common.

And I could tell myself that there's nothing I can do to help myself. But today I'm on bipolar meds that work so I'm not biochemically depressed and I know that however small it may be, there's always something I can do to help myself. I can't stop my sight from continuing to deteriorate from legally blind towards full black, or improve my hearing, but I can wear hearing aids and use my accessible computer and bless the fact that this year we had the money to buy such amazing technology. I could sit and worry about when the money goes away again... But just for today I choose to be a survivor and not a victim and I won't let myself dwell on my fears.

Choosing to be a survivor and not a victim is a constant choice I have to make. Some days I falter... I even take the odd day off just to indulge in feeling like a victim. But never two days in a row. It's a personal rule. I can't afford it. Maintaining a survivor attitude is the one essential thing for my health and well being that I have the privilege of knowing I can do. Having lost so much, I refuse to lose that too.

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