I’ve recently been reminded my health recovery is not as extensive as I had thought. Being shown this was defeating and depressing, to say the least.
I couldn’t keep up with the other, healthy people in my group and no matter what I tried, every single thing failed. I felt that familiar dread and panic quickly set in as I desperately tried to hide my deficiencies from them. When that didn’t work, I found myself apologizing for not being able to do things, for not being able to keep up with them and fit in.
It felt like being between the proverbial brick wall and a moving wall that was slowly advancing forward to squash me — just like in many old tv shows. I had not had these feelings in a long time but the impending doom came crashing back just the same.
I worked hard to push back, first remembering I had conquered this before. After reflecting and grounding myself, I remembered all that I had briefly forgotten. I remembered I practice many things to help — things like pacing to help me stretch out my energy and my day.
As I continued to reflect, I reminded myself it isn’t about what I can’t do but where I have come from and what I can do.
- I am still the healthiest I’ve ever been since I got sick.
- In many ways, I am healthier than before I got sick.
- I am able to do more than I ever have since getting sick.
- I don’t need a daily nap (I used to sleep 15 – 20 hrs per day).
- I am mostly pain-free (I used to have all-over body pain — deep bone pain, my limbs felt like lead pipes my body felt like it was severely sunburned while at the same time being stabbed with millions of pins).
- I walk 1- 2 km per day (there was a time I couldn’t walk to the bathroom on my own).
- I do light weight lifting (vs a time I couldn’t pick up a book, stand the “pain” of shaking hands or have someone brush up against me).
- I can remember my phone number and address (vs a time I couldn’t. I had to carry this info written on a slip of paper in my wallet. When I’d go to a new Dr., I’d pull this out and copy the info onto their forms)
Being pushed up against this wall again felt uncomfortable and frightening, until I remembered where I had come from.
I do not need to apologize to anyone. I did not ask for this illness. It is not my fault “science” and the medical community have failed me (and the hundreds of thousands of others in my community). It is not my fault I’ve been left on my own for 14 years and counting to figure things out for myself.
Instead, I will focus on HOW far I have come. I will not apologize for what I cannot do or how I cannot do what many others can.
Not apologizing. Nope. Not now, not ever.