A common fear with chronic illness and chronic pain is that we are being left out. Left out of life. Missing everything. Limited in our capacity to do things. It feels like our life is starving; mentally, emotionally and socially. We hunger for things. And some of those things we cannot have. It is about lack. About the world ‘out there’ and our lack of engagement in it. Hell, engagement in our own lives.
The feeling always makes me melancholy because I just feel sad I cannot have a well-delveoped life. Full. And fun. And mentally stimulating. Instead I feel stagnation. Like the world progresses and I am stuck in these four walls just not living. I feel like there is no growth, but there is, just very slow growth.
I always feel like I am starving for a good life full of the things others do. I always want just a piece of that. Just a wee bit more. To satiate me a little bit.
Does it leave you bereft of food for the mind and soul?
I feel this way often. All the things that are now impossible. All the activities that I can only do for a small amount of time. I feel like I suffer mentally, emotionally, and my sense of self… because there is the lack of stimulation every day. The lack of engagement. And doing things that take mental energy and give you statisfaction.
And it makes us hungry
This is a perfectly natural feeling. We should be hungry for more. We are human and we didn’t stop living with our diagnosis or a horrible downturn in health. It didn’t steal our lives… it changed it. And it is extremely difficult to learn how to engage in the world again and the ways we can to satiate that need in us.
But we have to:
- Remember our limitations
- Do not exceed limitations becuase you feel you need to
- Focus on what you can do and not what you cannot do
So it took me a very, very, very… okay almost an infinite… amount of time to not focus on the things I cannot do. I would try to force myself to do them, and fail. And then feel like a failure.
I wanted to:
- Work. I wanted a career. I wanted financial stability and a good feeling of being useful and productive
- I wanted to be able to do things after work
- I wanted to socialize more
- I wanted to clean my house the way I thought it should be
But I realized I have unrealistic expectations for myself. But I am still hungry for more. So I needed to find things I can do.
For me those are:
- writing books
- And creating content for social media
- I socialize at least once a month. I bring my cane. I make sure I wait to take my meds so I can function while out. I pick mellow things like playing cards with friends.
- Reading… which is now a difficult one with vertigo, so very short periods of time.
- I try a little bit of housekeeping a day. And rest after. Just a little bit makes me feel better.
They give me a sense of purpose. Of productivity and accomplishment. Even though I have to really pace them out and sometimes do things on my tablet lying down. It just makes me feel really good that I can still do it.
We just need something. We just have to find that something. And embrace it. And try in various ways to expand out lives a little bit. We can’t control the pain. We can’t control the symptoms. But trying to have a bit of a life in there is just as important to quality of life.
What are you hungry for?
What do you feel the lack of in your life? And have you thought of ways to get some of that in a more mellow, moderate, and relazed way?
Or have you thought about things you could pick up that you could be capable of doing? Like knitting. Or colouring. And have these new things made you feel better mentally and emotionally? O reading some fasinating non-fiction on a subject you loved years ago? Or taking a free online course in something that always fasinated you. Maybe start art therapy because you always wanted to paint? What would give you that sense of satiation but without causing more harm healthwise. We want better wellbeing not worse.
We are all hungry for things. We are human. And that hunger doesn’t go away when we are chronically ill but it vastly changes how we move in the world and how we engage in the world. So we have to find ways to sartiate that hunger in ways we are capable of to help with our quality of life. I want us to seek out these things that feed us on every level.
I want us all to nourish our minds
I want us all to nourish our spirits
I want us all to get out into the world a little
I want you do add to world a little bit over time with new things