Anyone else have an after Christmas hangover, not the alcohol one, but the overexertion one? What’s
not funny is that I spent the day on the couch in my jammies, like literally the entire day. If you are a ‘well person’ and you’re reading this, my brain feels like when something wakes you mid-sleep and you don’t know what year/month/day it is. If you have a chronic illness, I’ll just say brain fog with nearly zero visibility. But I’m remaining loyal to my goal of blogging on Tuesdays so my apologies in advance as I stumble through this blog post, mumbling and trying to remember what I just said.
5 Things I wish I knew before getting sick:
Energy is not an endless supply
Honestly, I never even really contemplated energy. When you are a ‘well person’ you rest, you’re energized, or you exercise, and you’re energized. Given that this is no longer the case for me, I’m left asking myself if I had known my energy would be depleted overnight when this illness took hold of my body would I have done anything differently…yes, overwhelmingly, yes. I would have prepared myself as best as possible mentally, and so many times in life when I said ‘someday I will do this or that’, I wish I would have just gone ahead and done a lot of those things. I’m not one to ruminate so these days I focus on the energy I do have and each day I try to pace my way through, doing the delicate dance of not using too much energy, but also doing as much as my body will allow. Every day is a marathon for those of us with CFS, and many other chronic illnesses, and it’s entirely up to us not to collapse at the finish line of the day. There are days when breathing feels like more energy than my body has, yes, just breathing. As a chronic illness warrior I convince myself these days will pass and tomorrow will bring me a bit more energy, so I rest, in place, I wait, I wait for energy, for more life to come back into my body.
2. ‘Things’ are not important, which is funny because I’m not even materialistic
I’ve never really been materialistic. Don’t get me wrong, I like to have nicely made things, but I’m not trendy, I’m more timeless. All the things I thought I needed the day I got sick (I don’t even remember what they were) I now realize, I probably didn’t. I guess to be blunt, when you are literally begging your body to take another breath, praying you’ll wake up in the morning, it just doesn’t matter ‘what’ you are surrounded by, ‘who’ yes, but ‘what’, no.
3. Happiness really is in the now and it’s not tied to external sources
Happiness…controversial topic, everyone has their own needs and wants, and many don’t even want to be happy, but I do. I’ve always been naturally happy, but I’m an introvert, so not overtly, but inside, peacefully, quietly happy. Even given my nature I was still under the impression that things or people had the ability to make me happy, deeply happy. I’ve learned that things and people can help you feel temporarily good, but my happiness is mine alone. When the things are gone, when the people are gone, I’ve learned that it’s up to me to find my own happiness. To take that one step further I’ve learned that feeling good and happiness are not the same thing, at least for me. My joy or happiness that I bring to myself honestly feels so much better than the temporary joy brought about from external sources. Kind of difficult to explain, so I apologize if I’m not making a lick of sense, I guess I’ll wrap this one up with one of my favorite quotes.
Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.
4. Most of the people you are “there for” won’t be “there for” you
Gosh I wish this wasn’t true. Even to this day. When I say nearly everyone walked away, I’m not trying to tug on your heart-strings, but they did and it’s tugged on mine. I’m a helper and a listener and as such I just kind of assumed people would be there for me if I ever needed them. I’m also not one to ever ask for help so I had never tested this theory out. Unfortunately there are givers and takers in life. In my life I was surrounded by a disproportionate number of takers. The silver lining is that they are all gone now. 🙂
5. Good health is a very precious gift
The human body is amazing! The fact that everything works perfectly for so many people is really unbelievable. I didn’t realize that; I totally took it for granted. I think had I known, had I understood, I would have been kinder to myself. Had I known I completely lacked self compassion I would like to think I would have worked on it. I would have slowed down when I was tired. I would have mentally processed the blessing of my body providing me good health. These days, each and every day, I’m thankful for simply waking up in the morning. As my neighbor in his 80s says, “Today is a good day because I woke up.” I get that on a whole new level now.
So that’s about it for today folks. If you are still reading, thank you you are a compassionate soul. 🙂 My brain has officially gone Ker plunk!
Here are a few more of my little watercolors. WordPress is 0% cooperating so here are a few, I’ll do the rest next week when I have more energy to figure out what I’m doing wrong. 😉