Friedrich Nietzsche, the famous German philosopher wrote, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how“.
People who have a purpose in life can bear any conditions or situations they are confronted with, however adverse. This was true for people in Nazi Germany. This was found true in the experiment carried out by the young doctor in an old-age home in the US.
Dialysis patients can be quite depressed. The diagnosis of End Stage Kidney Disease can come as a huge shock. Their lives are turned upside down. Several dreams are shattered. Amidst all this is the process of dialysis itself, the co-morbidities of kidney failure and the diet and fluid restrictions. In India, there is the added burden of the financial devastation that families undergo.
It is quite natural for people to be depressed.
However, despite this, some people not only survive for long but thrive. They live cheerful lives, are full of energy and live every day to their fullest. What differentiates them from the others who are tired all the time and go about their life like it’s a huge burden and often think about suicide?
It’s that they have a purpose.
What is a purpose? A purpose is something to look forward each day. It is the reason you get out of bed every morning. It could be your work. It could be a hobby. It could be service to others. Everyone needs a purpose in their life. The purpose does not have to be permanent. It can change from time to time. But everyone must have a purpose at all times.
Even healthy people need a purpose. Dialysis patients, even more so. Healthy people often do not have trying circumstances as dialysis patients do. But if even they need a purpose to live a meaningful life, then it is obvious that people who have to be hooked to a machine for several hours every week and have to think twice before sipping from as much as a glass of water, need a purpose all the more.
So, what can we do? The best option is to work. If not full time, part time is also a great start. Try to do something you enjoy. If you are unable to find work you enjoy, get started with anything. The fact that you have something to look forward to everyday will give you a lot in return.
If work is not possible, then develop a hobby. Think of what interests you. A musical instrument? Learn a new language? Cooking? Pursue that. Even something as simple as tending to a vegetable garden can have benefits as shown in the US old-age home incident I linked to above.
We Dialysis Patients tend to make our lives revolve around our disease. We need to realise that life need not be about this alone. Granted, we have a lot to worry about. However, we need to try to include other things in our life. Like work, family, friends, exercise and so on. This is where purpose comes in. Some people have a purpose like, “I want to get my daughter married” or “I want to see my kids grow up”. Perfect! This is also fine. Anything that keeps you going. Anything that gives you the motivation to live.
So, remember, we should find something to look forward each day. Be it work, a hobby or a responsibility. We all need a reason to get out of bed each day. Being on dialysis does not mean that the disease takes over our entire life. If we allow it to, it will. So be mindful and find something else to think about. For your own sake. For your own sanity. For your own life.