Not So Great Expectations

Update on searching for a purpose:

I’ve been working to accept that chronic illness and pain are here to stay and affect everything. I am leaving the past behind, so thankful that I was relatively healthy for so many years. It may be putting the horse before the cart, but I’ve made plans to get a tattoo in a couple months, marking the beginning of a new chapter in my life. It’s also a reminder that I choose life, regardless of thoughts I have to the contrary. There is no need for debate on that going forward.

So, I got that far in untangling this knot. The most difficult part of moving on has been letting go of giving of myself to others. In my husband’s arms, sobbing again, I lamented, “I have nothing to give!” That. Right there. I believe that is the nexus. It is more difficult for me to accept that I am limited in what I can do for others than it is to deal with the pain and sickness of fibromyalgia. Peace will be achieved in direct relation to feeling like I am okay and worthy of love just like this, in my current situation.

My psychiatric ARNP, my massage therapist and my best friend urge me to find a counselor. My primary doctor orders tests and follow ups as she tries to be certain that fibromyalgia is alone causing the constellation of symptoms. I should be walking. I’d like to paint. Figuring out a way to contribute love and identifying a purpose that will bring meaning to all of this is vital.

Well, my acquiescence to the truth that, whether or not an administrative agency declares it, I am not able to do what I used to do. The fact that I am disabled, looks something like the following – I watch tv. Some days the theme is historical movies. Cop and detective shows are high on the list. I enjoy going down the rabbit hole of obscure offerings I “might like” or was “also watched” by viewers. Recently, I’ve been watching live court proceedings.

If I have particularly intense pain in my neck and shoulders, not able to play games on my tablet constantly, foreign shows or movies allow me to read while I watch, holding my attention. Otherwise, my phone and/or tablet are in use. All day. Every day. This is what my search for purpose or meaning look like right now. In bed, sitting or lying down, with a couple prescriptions, tissues, water, etc. within easy reach on my bedside table, watching tv and looking at news or playing games on my tablet.

When I feel like a useless sloth, I remind myself that I am chronically ill and it’s okay. The to-do list of things I should be doing to improve my condition weighs on me, but I am accepting the condition my condition is in. Is it okay that I’m not expecting anything of myself outside of laundry, doing dishes, and going to appointments? Is this progress in integrating current health and abilities into my identity or is it escapism, avoidance, and laziness?

If I don’t expect much from myself, I won’t be disappointed. Perhaps, though, increasing activity would beget more activity; the whole “a body in motion stays in motion” axiom. Okay, once again, I promise myself I will stretch in a purposeful, extended way at least three times a week. When the extreme heat and smoke clear, I must walk a few times a week, even if it’s just to the end of the street. Only I can expect greater expectations for myself. Sigh.

Published by Sara, short reads

I'm a middle-aged wife and mother of two adult sons. I've been a teacher, counselor, medical transcriptionist, student teacher supervisor, substitute teacher and retail clerk. Staying home now due to fibromyalgia. Seeking purpose.

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