It’s been very hard spending so much time alone while being so severely ill.
I’ve known since I was very young that I think a lot. Actually, some would say that I think too much. I might be inclined to agree.
My thoughts have become very circular in some difficult moments: is my illness a boomerang of bad karmic energy that I deserve as payment for something terrible I did in the past; how much longer can I possibly live like this; what if the doctors can’t “fix me”; and how can I possibly continue to do this alone?
These thoughts take me dangerously close to the edges of a rat hole I know it’s possible for me to fall into under the right circumstances. I have to work hard to keep my mental health healthy and some days I just barely come out on top. Some days it feels like it would be easier to give in, but the choice I make instead is to not fight against my thoughts and feelings so hard because it adds to my physical pain and causes me additional psychological and emotional pain.
I’m trying, instead of thinking so much, to accept this challenging experience for what it is. At the very least, I don’t blame myself for being sick anymore. At the beginning of all this, as irrational as I knew it was, I tried to figure out what I could have done to avoid getting sick. Even after I learned that my illness most likely resulted from a rare congenital condition that could never be prevented. I try not to wish my illness and the accompanying excruciating pain away because it requires a significant investment of my energy. Energy that I need to function at the most basic level some days. I also try not to blame anyone else– not even the doctors who misdiagnosed me at the start of all this.
Hardest of all, I try to be present with the pain. Being present means: noticing how the pain is changing my body and my mind; moving my body in ways that don’t aggravate my pain– not always successfully; and moving slowly, carefully and deliberately in every physical action I make so I don’t drop things or drop myself– again. It also means I try not to feel guilt when after doing very little I’m so exhausted I need to nap in the middle of the morning, afternoon and/or evening– like I did for about three hours in the middle of writing this entry.
The final thing is something I’ve always done but I work at even harder now. I work at being grateful for the people who love and support me. One of the ways I do it may not, at first glance, seem like gratitude but I work at allowing them to help me because I’ve never been good at asking for or accepting help. And I need help now like never before– even if I can’t always admit to it. But I can admit that each time I reach out to someone I can feel a shift in myself and I feel a little less alone.
Today I leave you with some thoughts from the Queen of Soul,
Aretha Franklin – Think