A Chronic Voice is hosting a Blog Link-up with these prompts of which you pick three:
The end of the year is a time of reflection. On what we have done over the year. Holidays we took. Accomplishments. Progress made. One thing have been reflecting on it the unpredictability of my health, of all of our health, when it comes to chronic illness and chronic pain. It is by its nature unpredictable. New symptoms arise. Balance is gained, and lost. It is hard to have a sense of stability. As I found this year with the sudden and abrupt rise of disequilibrium, dizzy spells, vertigo and lightheadedness. Making it extremely hard to function or do much of anything without it getting much worse, thus causing a hopefully brief leave from work. It is disruptive. It was unpredictable. It wasn’t in any way anticipated. And abrupt. And it caused havoc on my life. I have been reading ‘How to be sick’ by Toni Bernhard and she does mention these winds of change. How we can’t predict them. The idea of letting go a little and dealing with things with equanimity. It reminds me of when I say, it is what it is. Because I cannot change this abrupt health swing. It is what it is. I just have to cope with it and hopefully it will go away or I will get treatment for it. Until then I have to deal with it as calmly as possible. There are just some things we have no control over and in these scenarios we have to face them anyway. Reacting to them sometimes brings us a great deal more stress. Like the fact I can’t seem to Do much, is stressful. That I can’t drive. That I can’t work. That I am even having problems reading when it gets severe, after doing anything, and that is my best pain distraction, which I admit distresses me. All of it is stressful. I have to calm about it and deal with it one thing at a time. See my doc. Get the CAT scan. See the neuro. One step at a time. And reflecting that these times of change in the past have really tended to stress me out and cause a lot of problems, and hopefully they will not this time.
I am done being in denial for 2018. Done denying my limitations. Done with it. I tried, I failed. So many times, at the cost of myself, my health, my mental health. I am done. And also from that same book I realize in my denial that I held so dear I lacked one important thing in my chronic illness journey: compassion for my own struggle. Compassion for myself. To be gentle with myself. To say for example ‘I tried, and failed’ isn’t compassionate to myself. I tried, hard and I pushed beyond my physical limits, beyond the limits of my fatigue, pain, brainfog… everything. And as a result I got sicker, more stressed, depressed. And I crashed hard. I didn’t ‘fail as a person’. I couldn’t achieve a goal that was impossible for my health at that time. But I had no compassion for myself during that journey. I aim to add some in there. Because without compassion for myself how will I ever forgive myself for being ill? How will I ever forgive myself for not living up to unachievable standards? I must leave the denial in the past. I must aim to add in some compassion for my self. Even now I must have some compassion for my body that needs so much rest to just gain a bit of stability, that can’t seem to function doing much of anything… I feel for myself struggling to want to do more but being unable to. For true acceptance we should have some compassion for ourselves and our journey I think. I aim to find some.
2018 is going to be a year of acceptance and coping for me. I want to focus on my well-being. Focussing on those things that improve overall quality of life. Giving up some of that control I value so much, and don’t really have at all. And loathe when I lose any sense of. Focussing rather on what I can so finding that core sense of wellbeing. I am pretty sick right now which makes it hard to focus on anything at all. It is throwing my coping strategies through a loop for sure. Pain distractions are sort of out the window. Can’t do my favourite which is reading, not with all this vertigo and falling sensations and just lightheadedness. Just can’t. Have a hard enough time writing this blog. Can’t seem to do much creative writing which requires more focus, so that has been out the window as well. I can flip through social media. Watch TV. Rest. A lot. It is no wonder I am antsy for activity. No wonder I am having trouble coping without the things I usually use to distract myself from just the pain alone.
But that is when self-care is vital, is it not? I find myself struggling because of that antsy feeling for activity but when I try to do things I get so much worse. It is a bit of a problem. My brain desires things to keep me busy. My body is demanding extensive rest. I am just going to have to focus on the things that improve my wellbeing to live with chronic illness if I can do nothing about the illness. Still hoping for improvement on the recent developments with this vestibular migraine issue mind you. But clearly overall this is a time of focus. A time of acceptance. A time of coping.