Making Treasured Memories, At A Cost

As you may or may not have guessed, I’m a stereotypical introvert. I prefer books over happy hour, and large groups of people, for the most part, leave me longing for solitude. For all you extroverts out there who may be curious of why this happens, first of all, I’m sometimes jealous of you 😊, and second, social situations are draining because I’m paying attention to each and every person in the room and often investing energy in analyzing them. I don’t know why I do that, I just know that I always have. As a child I was labeled ‘shy’, but really, I think I was introverted. I used to hide between my mom’s bell bottom pant legs (hey, it was the 70s), peeking out to determine if these were people I wanted to invest my time in (yep really). The ironic part of it all is that one-on-one I’m often very chatty. At least I used to be. Now my brain doesn’t populate words, thoughts, sentences, information, or sometimes much of anything, like it used to. Recently I was watching the Bill Gates special on Netflix and he was asked something like what’s your biggest fear, to which he replied something like losing my mind/or brain power. And in that moment, I thought, yes, me too, me too. Except his introverted mind is still going strongly, meanwhile I’m over here trying to keep up with conversations.

Why I am even writing about this? Well, last week, I had the pleasure of visiting with two (in one week!) ladies my heart holds dear. Have you ever noticed it takes a break in routine to reassess how you’re doing? My first visitor was my aunt, and our visit was truly lovely. Mentally though I could feel myself struggling to keep up, especially as fatigue set in, I was losing thoughts left and right. Over the past few years, I’ve learned in those moments, to just enjoy the time and not get so wrapped up in the inner frustration of knowing my mind is slipping. It was such a delight to see her and I tried to just focus on those precious moments, plus I did apologize for my forgetfulness so hopefully she understood. I don’t think healthy people always notice us struggling, but those of us with a chronic illness, we know where we were cognitively and where we are now. We know when our brains are giving us nothing, so instead of conversing we simply nod and say thoughtfully ‘mm hmm’. It’s hard not to get mad at my brain, but how can I truly be mad, after all it still reminds me I like chocolate about 30 times a day, I guess maybe it has different priorities. 😉 My second visitor was a quick, but lovely visit with a childhood friend I haven’t seen since the mid-80s. Social media has kept us connected for years, and we do chit chat here and there via IM, so it was so awesome to give her a hug and see her beautiful smile. I’ve mentioned here that my childhood was rather tumultuous, and she too was a part of that so there’s a kinship or sisterhood there, an unbreakable bond, as survivors. It was wonderful to see her. As predicted though, between the two visits, they took me straight to Flaresville, hard, and fast.

I’m not sure about other illnesses, but with MECFS we are always assessing the output vs. repercussion. Will it be worth it? We can’t always determine how bad the flare will be, but we often know one will come. We push, we pay. It’s that simple. I would argue that when it comes to social interactions, introverts pay a little more than extroverts because social interactions were already draining. On the flip side of that, my heart absolutely aches for extroverts with MECFS. Why? Introverts don’t mind curling up, and enjoying the quiet, it’s how we rejuvenate. Extroverts need social interaction to rejuvenate, and with this illness that’s not something that’s as easy to tolerate. Although I can’t pretend to know, it would seem social media is a blessing for extroverts with chronic illness, allowing them to fill their cup as much as possible.

MECFS is a cruel illness, there are just no two ways about it. Humans thrive in communities, where they are not lonely and isolated, and where they are active. Unfortunately, this illness keeps the human body from normally rejuvenating energy, emotional or physical output often comes with a hefty price tag. The night after visiting with my friend I woke up in the night internally trembling, gasping for air, feeling like I was going to faint (if you’re thinking anxiety, nope not anxiety). Why? That’s just something that happens when I overdo it. But why? I don’t know. Someday I hope to, at the very least, know the cause. In this moment, all I do know is that for the last 72 hours I’ve been neck deep in symptoms that have kept me primarily quietly resting in bed. And that’s what needs to be understood about this illness. I had two quick visits, days ago, and I’m still wiped out. I can’t just shake it off and keep going because it makes it worse. My legs feel like I’m barely able to pick them up or move them, my head aches with pressure, and I generally feel pretty awful. I share this not for your sympathy, but to share the reality. In reflection though, I would NOT trade anything for those two treasured visits. This flare will pass, thankfully the cherished memories will stay.

Thank you for stopping in today! Hoping today is treating you kindly, and whether it’s Autumn or Spring where you are, also hoping you are comfortable. A few more doodles this week as I follow along with World Watercolor Group’s daily prompts (seaside.spoonie is my IG acct). And now… I must find some chocolate. 😉

18 thoughts on “Making Treasured Memories, At A Cost

  1. As a child I was an extrovert, but as I grew older, especially as I developed chronic illnesses, I became more of an introvert. Most people don’t realize how exhausting talking can be, and while I love having deep conversations with my loved ones, I don’t always have the energy for it.

    Sorry to hear you’re still wiped out from your visits. That’s such a difficult part of illness – even when we’re able to do something simple like chat with a friend, we still pay for it. Glad you have some nice memories to cherish!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true. Who knew listening was actually using up energy? And then when it’s used up who knew you just turn into a mindless human blob, at least it feels that way. Certainly something only relatable to those of us who have been in those shoes. Thank you for stopping in! Hoping all is best as can be with you.

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  2. I hid under the tables at preschool and everyone thought I was an odd little girl.
    I was an introvert and didn’t even know it, that word didn’t get used often back in the 70’s and 80’s. I tried hard to be an extrovert for so many years. Sigh.
    I get it, I call it paying the piper. Everything I do, I have to pay it back. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, introvert really wasn’t a thing until the 2000’s seemingly. The first time I heard it someone had suggested my son was one, which he totally seems to be. I think so many of us introverts try to be more extroverted. Unfortunately with chronic illness there’s no energy for us to do much more than try to get day to day. Hoping today has been gentle with you. 🌸

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  3. I’m glad you had those two visits, but you’re absolutely right about needing to weigh up the costs and repercussions. It’s sad but true and the effects of even the smallest of things that others can take for granted (like going for a coffee) can potentially be huge. I love how you put it with how the ‘flare will pass, thankfully the cherished memories will stay’, that’s so beautiful and true. I hope you can continue to rest and recuperate over the weekend (with plenty of chocolate at hand). Beautiful doodles as always; is that a macaron I spot by the teacup? I had my first macaron last Christmas, and some of the flavours are surprisingly delicious with such an interesting texture!
    Caz xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Luckily they both came to my home, but yes it’s the smallest things we’d never have thought twice about.

      And yes, that’s a macaron. 🙂 Aren’t they yummy!? I’ve only had one, but it was delicious. Before I had one I couldn’t imagine what all the fuss was about, but one bite and it all made sense. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved reading that you were able to spend time with two people you care deeply about but, it made me mad that you have to suffer because of wanting to behave humanly. It is the cruel part of many chronic illnesses, it takes a toll on our humanity, even those of us who are introverts, wanting to spend time with a kindred spirit every now and then………..if those who are well only realized the true sacrifice we make when we choose them………I think they would be so very much appreciative of the time we are able to spend visiting.

    Thank you for your willingness to share your struggle, it definately helps to know that you are not alone. I am just sorry this happens to you.

    I hope this makes sense! It’s been a hard couple of weeks….

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  5. I started some new supplements and am reacting to them (hoping that once the reaction passes the supplements will then start working as in the past that’s usually the case — the more I needed something the more I reacted upon starting them!) anyway so I have had severe brain fog, and horrible ‘conversation tracking’ lately.
    I find it so frustrating and then I realized that if I just offer a ‘disclaimer’ to those who know me well enough to know my struggles — then when my husband starts to tell me a story about his day and I apologize in advance ‘brain fog is really bad today’ then he and I are both less frustrated — because then he realizes it wasn’t that I wasn’t listening (I was trying!) when I muddle the details and can’t remember what he just told me. Sigh. So I think I can relate. In the past when that would happen I would get down on myself and try to hide it and not be open about it.
    Point being: I think it’s great that you are sharing this!! Awful that you are going through it, though. From what I know of mast cell issues — this is typical, any little thing or way that we ‘overdo’ it can cause stress at the cellular level. Which, obviously you knew, haha, but it helps to have affirmation that others also share in this in some ways.
    Hang in there friend! Love all your drawings today. (as always!) 💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find it so interesting that so many of us deal with such similar issues yet doctors continuously insist our symptoms are unique or impossible. Ah well different topic for a different day. Hoping you’re supplements do as they should and help you. Thank you for stopping in and sharing your experience and compassion! 🌸

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In my case doctors told me, repeatedly, that I had an anxiety disorder which was causing all my symptoms! Sadly I believed them and tortured myself even further believing something really was wrong with my mind: before I realized that something else was going on.
        So I particularly liked the affirmation in this post where you said something about your internal trembling and faint feeling ‘NOT’ being anxiety. Can totally relate. It can look similar, and might seem like a panic attack but this physical junk we are going through is something different than what originates in a true ‘panic attack’ that originates merely from ‘anxious ways of thinking’. I’ve had both kinds of panicky feelings and I now know the difference. It is hard to explain but there is a very real difference!
        Hope this week is better for you friend! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m much like you, Mishka – a (surprisingly chatty) introvert who always found people exhausting, but especially so now I’m sick. It’s cruel to have such payback from what should be a happy visit. I am very glad you got two special visits, and hope the payback eases swiftly and gently. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is cruel. It’s not like I’ve gone and vacuumed (no longer able) or something. I simply sat on my couch.

      On another note, loving your homes new look!! So fun to watch the before and after. 🙂

      Hoping you’re having a peaceful weekend and thank you for stopping in and sharing your compassion. 🌸

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your blog and your artworks are so beautiful. I deeply resonate with this post – when we only have so much energy in a day, it forces us to deeply consider how we will use it.

    I sometimes wonder if my chronic illness partly came about from living so far from my authentic self (saying yes when I meant no, pretending to be extroverted when I’m really an introvert). I definitely feel better mentally and physically when I’m honouring my true personality and preferences!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kindness. I’m sorry you too are on the chronic illness journey. So many of us seem to ponder what was the hair that broke the camels back. One thing is for certain we begin to learn how to better care for ourselves in this sink or swim environment of chronic illness. Thank you for stopping in to read my ramblings. 🙂 Hoping today has been kind to you 🌸

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes self-care is no longer a luxury but a necessity and that can only be a very good thing. Thankyou. I look forward to hearing more of your journey. It’s a blessing to find kindred spirits along the way!

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