The problem with a Chronic Illness is that often it isn’t going to get better. And that is a mighty big realisation to come to. Unlike with a cold or a minor injury, there is no pill or bandage, your Dr can’t help very much and will almost despair at the sight of you, there is no “7-10 days until you begin to feel better”.
In my last post on Thursday I had had a rough couple of days. Yesterday was not an awful lot better and I found myself talking to a friend who has only recently come into my life but is already someone I greatly admire and trust who herself suffers a medical condition that has her in pain I can’t even imagine.
I was moaning and venting to her, talking about how recently I’ve found myself in a rut – not necessarily physically but mentally. Generally, I am able to dig deep, find a meaning to everything, find the positives and on the days I can’t do that, I can find the grit to just push through, feeling pride at the end of the day knowing I did it. But the last few weeks I’ve just felt “Bleh”.
I can find positives, but I feel neutral towards them. Sure they’re great, but maybe I’d like them even better without the daily doses of pain and other crappy symptoms? I started this blog in the hope of pulling myself out of that rut by expressing myself and don’t get me wrong – it has helped – but I’m still not quite at 100% Me.
There are a few obstacles in my way, not least that for the first time ever I’m suffering insomnia and I am a total baby when tired. My temper shortens and I cry at the drop of a hat, something as small as not having milk in for breakfast can turn me into The Incredible Hulk or a blubbering mess with absolutely no guarantee which of those reactions I’ll swing to at any given time.
So I spoke to my friend, which helped. Admitting I felt so cruddy lifted its own weight. After speaking to her I spoke to G too.
I told my friend how much I admire her. From what I know of her condition, it must be absolutely excruciating and yet to look at her, speak to her, you wouldn’t know. It was only whilst telling her about my Endo a month or so into knowing her that I found out how much she suffers, she hadn’t told me previously and I never guessed. She just carries on her day to day jobs at the yard (I know her from the stables), looks after and rides her horses, willingly gives her time and effort to help others and she never complains. She is cheerful, funny and bright – I have yet to ask her a horse related question she doesn’t have the answer to! She is the epitome of not being defined by her condition – I want that.
I was telling her I want to reach a point I accepted my condition but wasn’t defined by it but I feel this is a long process with so many obstacles.
There is the initial revelation of “this is my life now”, the knowing it won’t get better (that is where I was camping out on Thursday). Then there is the point you grieve your life, that is to say, you grieve losing something you had before, it encompasses the loss of who you were but also, your future life, the hopes, dreams and ambitions you had that may now be limited (this stage can be seen in About my good day (and the scary Monsters)…). After that it’s deciding with the first two stages dealt with…how are you going to move forward? What perspective are you going to take? My choice can be seen in most posts – I want to find positives to take away, perspectives that make everything easier or give a reason for suffering. Once you get through all this (and bounce through all the stages a million times because you do keep going back to them) you face another obstacle – everytime you make that choice, move forward empowered and as happy as you can be, your condition will throw you a curve ball. Life in general will for that matter and some Life curve balls will be harder because you already have that little bit more than most on your plate. And all of a sudden you feel back to square one – you’re overwhelmed, frustrated, you’re sad and grieving, making decisions about how to move forward.
The last few weeks I’ve allowed myself to become trapped in this situation without taking any steps to move forward. I’ve allowed myself to wallow a little bit more than I should, I’ve been focusing on what I can’t have rather than working with what I do have, I know this but it’s difficult to pull yourself out when mentally, you’re drained. And physically.
Currently I seem to be living in flares. This week has been a tough week in which my stomach has hurt like hell and bloated to a size I didn’t realise it could bloat to! The week before I had horrendous tiredness and nausea, the week before that I suffered the worst pain I had in a year. When I really think about it, that one cramp three weeks ago that stopped me right in my tracks, mid ordering my tea, is where this little pit started.
It was such a mundane evening, no indication pain was coming throughout the day until maybe 30 minutes before this one cramp hit. To be caught out, away from home, unable to move or walk, well that for me was a curve ball. I have always felt comfort in that even on a bad day, usually I can push through, grit my teeth and make it home (to where the good drugs are!). That day sucked.
So now, I need to accept that yeah, it wasn’t great, and sure I feel a bit rubbish at the moment, but feeling down is just making matters worse.
I’ve bought some herbal tablets to hopefully help me sleep, I’ve downloaded a bunch of 90’s feel good songs on to my Spotify and today I rode my horse, and I rode well, because I was not letting Endo take another day.
I’ve also started binge watching Friends on Netflix because hell, watching Friends is the ultimate feel good medicine! #theywereonabreak
I can’t thank my friend enough for listening to (well, reading) me rant. Nor enough for coming to the yard last minute today as soon as I had decided “Yes, I will ride!”. Ladies like her, that have “Got this!” are a true inspiration.