There are people with chronic illness that do not like being referred to as warrior’s; I respect that point of view. In fairness, I respect most points of view that don’t in any way hurt anyone or anything. To each his own, right? According to Google’s dictionary a Warrior is a brave or experienced soldier or fighter. I don’t know about you but as a person with a chronic illness I find that definition very relatable.
Here’s the thing…before I came down with CFS I was strong, super strong actually. That strength has probably helped me get through on the tougher days but it doesn’t hold a candle to what it takes to live each day with this illness.
This illness took me to rock bottom, kicked me a little further, but then thankfully it let me decide what I was going to do about it. When I chose life, living each day to the fullest, and being the very best I could be at spreading awareness my life changed. Am I thankful for the illness? No. Many people with chronic illness say they are thankful but as I’ve said before on here I’m not thankful. Maybe someday I’ll find that peace of mind, but right now I’m as mad as an angry hive of hornets about it. Maybe it’s that anger that keeps me going. Who knows… They say anger is really fear, and I’m not ashamed to admit I’m scared, very scared. On a daily basis I bury that fear and that anger deep in the ‘do not disturb’ recesses of my mind and it allows me to live a fairly peaceful existence. And yes, I realize that suffocating your emotions is unhealthy but let’s be honest, it’s survival at this point.
Last week I chose to do something I knew would have steep repercussions on my health. I say ‘chose’ lightly as fighting for disability income that you’ve been paying into since you were a teenager just in case at some point in your life you unfortunately fall ill shouldn’t be something you have to fight for where ultimately you are going to end up more ill because of it…and yet, here we are. The warrior in me said, “Let’s do this! Let’s go to battle.” The illness in me said, “This isn’t going to be good.” The strength in me shrugged and said, “Well, we’ll do the best we can.” The stress and turmoil pre-hearing, the increased insomnia, the stomach pain, all not healing for my body. The feeling of being terrified on the day of, very unhealthy. The experience itself, where my mind shut off and I was one wording a judge that I had waited almost two years to see and tell my chronic illness journey to mixed with the rumination afterword of how little I’d said, and mostly of the fact that he never asked about my illness or day-to-day life, awfully unhealthy. And now here we are a week later and I’m still trying to heal past it, mentally and physically.
Yesterday I contemplated, once again, going to the ER, which as a CFS patient you know isn’t going to go well. My doctor would have sent me straight away as my heart wasn’t beating properly and we’ve been down that road so I chose not to call her. Flares bring on, amongst other things, shallow breathing and an irregular heartbeat, feelings of chest pressure and chest pain. The ER does nothing. The thing is you never know if you are actually having a heart attack. I’m of the opinion that lying in bed weighing the pros and cons of an ER visit while waiting for my heart to steady is one of the things that makes me a warrior. I obviously won that battle as here I am, my heart did eventually steady out.
So, to sum up, when I call myself a chronic illness warrior, it’s not something I say lightly. The truth is in principle I’m a pacifist, but I’m battling on a daily basis, against my own body, to live as a normal of a life as possible. I miss my life like a fish out of water. It takes bravery, experience, and courage most people will never face to live this way. We all experience illnesses differently, for me it includes convincing my body that my growling stomach must be fed and that means making the way to the kitchen to boil water in the electric tea pot to make oatmeal and tea every single day, capable or not. It also means painting because rarely do I feel like I have it in me, it definitely means blogging as I literally never feel like I have anything to say that’s blog worthy or the energy to get it out here. It means going up and down the block with my son and the dog as often as I’m even remotely able so that my fibromyalgia pain doesn’t win the chronic pain war and bring me to tears daily. It means ignoring the daily exhaustion, dizziness, nausea, not being able to stand for too long, insomnia, cognitive issues, post exertional malaise, having to tinkle allll the time, all over body pain, eye issues, sound intolerance, throat issues, breathlessness, heart issues, unexplained out-of-range labs and so much more. Being a warrior for me means telling my brain that it’s okay to ignore all of that and find the best in each day. If that’s not being a brave or experienced soldier or fighter I don’t know what is.
Thank you for stopping by, I appreciate you took the time out of your day. For you chronic illness warriors, we got this! For those of you who don’t prefer that terminology, we still got this! And for those of you who stopped in even though you aren’t chronically ill, thank you.🌸
A few more of my little watercolors from the past week below. I’ve been a little off my game, but something is better than nothing.