Hey everyone, how’re you doing? I really hope you’re all keeping as well as possible during what is such an insanely worrying, bizarre time.
I’m fashionably late with this one. I drafted it at the start of the month yet here we are, right at the very end, and I nearly forgot to publish it. It’s not related to coronavirus and I decided to leave it ‘as is’, the way I originally wrote it. This is for the A Chronic Voice March link-up.
I don’t tend to admit to being scared. But I have been, and I am. I’m overwhelmed. I won’t go in to the reasons as they’re all related to the current virus situation but it’s not been too good, and I know I’m not alone in that. Please feel to reach out if ever you need someone to talk to. And please hang on to a little hope everyone, because that’s more important than ever right now. Sending love to you all.
STAYING at home, maybe even in bed, nearly all day every day may sound like a luxury. It’s not. Since my first surgery in 2015, my health went downhill and nerve damage took hold. I lost a lot of my ‘old life’ very quickly. Not being able to sit ‘normally’ in a regular chair means I’m propped up in bed for much of each day. Not being well enough to go out or do the things you used to do isn’t much fun, but it’s the new ‘normal’ for many with chronic illness, disability and/or chronic pain.
I’ve come to appreciate comfort of being at home and to see the joy in the small things day to day. When your options are limited, you can either get frustrated all the time or come to some degree of acceptance, working with what you’ve got and making the most of it. Of course it’s challenging. There’s no romantic notion of luxury when your bed becomes your dining table and your office.
For many of us, we develop certain ways of DOING things, methods and routines to make life more manageable. Best laid plans are often made to be broken with the unpredictability of health issues, and yet some of us need that control, that ability to plan.
These ways of doing things can give us a little structure, confidence and comfort amidst the chaos and uncertainty.
I’m not always good at BEING the chronically ill person. It can be beyond frustrating when you’re sick of being sick, and fed up with the limitations on your life and what you can do.
You just do your best to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. It’s still a bitter pill to swallow some days. We’re all human, just doing life and figuring it out along the way. Whatever your struggles, it’s okay to accept that nobody and nothing is perfect.
Acceptance of illness, pain or the situation you find yourself in is not easy. It’s a continual learning curve, an ongoing masterpiece and evolving work-in-progress.
To keep moving forward, you need to look at what you’re TARGETING each day. Celebrate the achievements, no matter how small. Set manageable goals, whether it’s having a healthy meal, a shower or a small walk, or the larger, more long term goals like learning a new skill, taking up a hobby or writing that novel you’ve always dreamed of making a reality.
The goals, no matter what they are, give you something to aim for and work towards, just don’t put too much pressure on yourself along the way.
Leaving the house or doing something sociable can involve a process of WEIGHING up the benefits versus the costs. Any time we do something, we pay for it afterwards; pain, exhaustion and worsened symptoms are all stark reminders of how much it costs us do the things we want or need to do.
Sometimes we feel we want/need to say no but we worry we’ll let someone down, leading to more guilt and more burnout. In some cases, saying no is the best thing you can do for yourself as it’s putting self-care into practice.
But then sometimes the costs are worth it when weighed up against what we could potentially gain; a sense of achievement, some happiness and enjoy to make the day brighter, or some memories to treasure. Those weighing scales certainly get a lot of use.
Would you agree with any of these? Do you perhaps share some of these experiences yourself?
Stay safe & as well as possible.