Category: Life lessons

Rest required

I have a few chronic illnesses, some that I’ve written about in the past…it doesn’t matter what they are, just know that they exist and they impact every facet of my life.

I recently defended my dissertation (Yay Me!!!) now it is time to focus on job hunting (Why me?) and this is where chronic illness is front and center.

So I’ve lived with these chronic illnesses for many years and I’ve achieved my educational goals…although things never went smoothly…and now I’m exhausted

I have important people to contact, cover letters to compose, and applications to complete…but I’m tired.

I’m not only tired from the arduous process that is a doctoral program…my chronic illnesses are screaming at me to pause temporarily.

My chronic illnesses are suggesting that I breathe, meditate, then rest. Sigh.

As many of you know, application deadlines and all the many things necessary for getting a job fails to account for the fact that your (my) chronic illnesses demand that I rest.

Some of you may even go so far as to say, if I need rest during the application process, I’m likely not able to do the job for which I am applying.

Then there’s others who would say that the PhD process is tedious and the typical person would need a break, so it’s not unusual that I need a break…in the form of a short rest.

The problem I often face as a result of being chronically ill is that I wonder if I’m being lazy or I really need the rest.

Those closest to me suggest that I simply need the rest, but even that’s not always convincing enough to stop my negative self talk

As someone with chronic illnesses, it is hard enough to deal with some outsider suggesting that you are lazy, incompetent and yet many of us, myself included engage in negative self talk when our bodies demand self-care.

I am someone who possesses chronic illnesses, but I’m also more than that. I am someone who needs accommodations, but I’m also more than that. I am more than any identifier I possess…if only I consistently believed that.

Control

My battle with chronic illness failed to teach me that I had little control of life.

The tiresome, tedious path to my PhD failed to teach me that I had little control of life.

When will I learn that I have little control of life?

When will I accept that I have little control of life?

Will I ever relax and enjoy life?

Selfish

Everyone has something happening in their life right now. I have to remind myself of that, especially when it feels like whatever is happening in my life is much greater than the occurrences in their lives.

At times I feel that way because what’s happening to me is guaranteed to be an one-time occurrence…or because what they are going through is something I feel they should be accustomed to by now.

I know I’m not the only person who falls into this way of thinking; but, it’s wrong.

Yes, everyone needs to take care of self and tend to their needs/desires; but that does not justify the selfish behavior

Chronic illness identity

Chronic illness warrior, chronic pain survivor, spoonie, chargie, dis-Abled, fighter, and all of the other labels used among individuals who face a myriad of long term illnesses….

It matters little how I refer to myself when I’m at a place where I feel there’s nothing I can do to overcome, conquer whatever my illness has brought to me.

The labels tend to carry little meaning when I’m facing the implications of my illness alone

They matter even less when I’m sitting in yet another physicians or alternative health professionals office and/or waiting room…

So why do I find such comfort in whatever label I choose for the day? Although it seemingly doesn’t change the trajectory of my chronic illness or the acknowledgment of my pain by others?

These labels may have little meaning outside of the communities they create which often transcends an individual’s immediate surroundings.

These labels thrive in cyberspace and it’s easy to see how certain events in the real world are crafted around these labels.

Personally, I’ve found them useful in cyberspace and I’ve enjoyed the disconnect in the connections I’ve created through these labels.

I consider it a disconnect because I only checked into these communities when I felt the desire to…otherwise, I stayed away.

Some years, I was connected to various chronic illness themed communities on a daily basis…I was even an administrator of one such community at one point

But once I received what I needed or at least once my outside support system stabilized, I relied on the amazing community less.

Now, I’m not a part of any particular community of chronic illness individuals. At times, I miss the relational aspects of the communities, I miss the feeling of being a part of something bigger, the feeling of not being alone…but for the most part I don’t miss it enough to immerse myself into any of these communities again.

It became overwhelming as I shared my story, my experiences with so many who could relate…it was sometimes overwhelming to witness the pain and suffering many of those individuals in these groups shared.

Now. I’ll mention various chronic illnesses or pains I endure, but I don’t want to be consumed by it anymore.

My illnesses impact every facet of my life daily…but my needs are different than they were years ago when I had to plug into the communities to maintain a semblance of sanity.

I’m forever grateful for the groups and the amazing people I’ve had a chance to interact with throughout the years of my intense involvement.

Push and Pull

I’m somewhere between out of steam and full of life.

Constantly being pulled in opposing directions; attempting to decide whether to lean in to this or that.

On one hand I am making significant progress, while at the same time experiencing major setbacks.

No one prepared me for the tug of war called life

I’m somewhere between out of steam and full of life.

Emotional Captivity

I warn myself – It’s Not Safe to be Vulnerable.

I ask myself – Why is it Unsafe to be Vulnerable?

I sense somewhere deep within that I need to be vulnerable

At least I need to be vulnerable with this individual whom on my days of clarity I love very much.

I find anecdotal evidence to support the anxious thoughts I have about vulnerabilities

I even find ways to suggest that being vulnerable with this person is far more dangerous than it is

Through the years I’ve created an emotional prison. I built walls around my heart in an attempt to protect it from the hurt I’ve witnessed others experience

Yes there were times that I’d allow extended visits to my heart so some have had access to it

But I have always been in an emotional prison of my own creation

Sigh.

Now I have to destroy the prison I created because my desire to fully love outweighs my urge to protect myself

I let this person have an extended visit with my heart and my heart enjoyed it very much

But then my mind reminded of the possibility of being hurt and I denied this person any future visits

Now it is time for my release from the prison and all I can remember is those moments that my heart felt free even while I was yet captive

This person makes me want to be free from all undue pain

This person makes me want to destroy my emotional prison and redefine what it really means to be safe.

Emotional captivity has cost me a lot, but now I’m ready to be vulnerable

Although I’m afraid of living outside of my self-made emotional prison.