Not sure this one will get published. May remain in draft limbo. My mind is not being very nice to me today. I was cleaning pine needles and weeds out of my succulent garden; and, out of nowhere, my brain started in, “You are the odd one. After you’ve been with people, they all agree you’re kinda weird. If a group gets together and you can’t make it, when your name comes up, everyone rolls their eyes.”
i called my husband and, through my tears, asked if those things are true. He assured me I am loved and liked by my friends and family.
I’m sure I’m projecting my own insecurities. Sometimes, inside my head is an exhausting place to be. I’ve been crying more easily and, instead of bringing relief, I’m finding it pitiful and needy. I’ve always equated being needy with weakness, an unattractive quality.
I had a really good stretch of mental health wellness, with negligible symptoms of depression, for a decade and am so surprised to find myself wading through the muck again, while simultaneously trying to unwind the barbed wire wrap of anxiety from which I’ve had extended vacations, but from which I’ve never achieved true, long-term disentanglement.
Although I have been in pain for 11 years and received the diagnosis of fibromyalgia about seven years ago, I find myself just now coming to terms with having a chronic illness. Both of those words have shown themselves quite clearly.
As long as I kept working, fibromyalgia was just another in the list of medical history I’ve accumulated over time. Granted, I was only working three days a week but those were some long m_____f______ days. It was a struggle to make it through full shifts. The four days off were spent “recovering” from work, or so I thought.
Along came the virus, which resulted in me being home full time. Turns out I didn’t feel shitty on work days because I was working and I didn’t feel like crap on days off due to being on my feet from 10 to 7 the day prior. Off work for a bit more than two months now, I realize I feel pain, nausea, fatigue, light headedness, muscle cramps, leg weakness, etc. intermittently over every day even though I’m able to pace myself, delay things on my to-do list, and lie down when needed.
It’s not just that I have fibromyalgia. It’s not just that I have a chronic illness. What I’m accepting is that I am chronically ill. That may sound like a distinction without a difference, but it feels to me like I’ve gone from trying to carrying fibromyalgia in one of my bags to just going ahead and wearing it, no longer thinking I might be able to shelve it if I try hard enough.
I’m not giving up on feeling better, and I’ll continue doing what I can to improve my condition; but I am not going to be surprised and disappointed every day when I don’t feel well. At this point, the repeated sense of defeat when symptoms occur may be worse than the illness itself. Somewhere along the way, I got the idea that how well or ill I am is a measure of my value. When I have periods where I’m able to be active, things are good. I get things done, usually overdoing it despite my husband’s admonitions, and I am proud of myself. Conversely, when I’m moving slowly and spending increased time in bed, I am the opposite of proud. It is humbling, which is not a bad thing in and of itself. I must, though, uncouple my self-worth from my physical wellness or weakness.
Gonna let this one marinade overnight before I decide whether or not to post this. Feeling vulnerable.
I’m going to publish this post. I started this blog to document my experiences with depression and anxiety. If this one doesn’t fit, I don’t know what would. Besides, most likely, no one will ever read it! 😂