A question I recently saw on an on line forum read:
"How am I to get better when I am not well enough to do any of the things to help me get well?"
I've struggled with this question myself since ME/CFS and Fibro came to visit and perhaps you have as well. Any chronic illness is such a catch 22, isn't it? It's certainly NOT for sissies!
On one hand, we may know some things we need to do in order to improve our health but are just too ill to do them.
Or, we may have no idea what we need to do but are too ill to even research or find out. This was my particular situation and let me tell you, it is not easy. Too ill to remember my own phone number meant I certainly had no energy to search out let alone read, comprehend and implement treatments which may help me get well.
In those early days of my dealings with ME/CFS and Fibro, I had three states of being:
- slow motion,
- barely functioning and
- next thing to dead (at least it seemed that way).
I felt forgotten by almost everyone. Everything (and I mean everything!) I did was through a deep, dark, soupy, brain-fogged state. The simplest of tasks took forever, if at all. Some days, I was too ill to get out of bed, so sleep all day it was. At the end of the day I would think, at least I made it through the day...perhaps tomorrow, I'll be able to do more. Sometimes tomorrow was the day day and sometimes it wasn't. Many times there were a whole lot of tomorrows before I was able to take even the smallest step forward. It was horrible, depressing and demeaning, but...what choice did I have?
Many times, the most I could do was to have hope for tomorrow.
- And - in that statement, would be the best advice I could offer that person. One step at a time, no matter how slowly that is. Some days that may be one, two or even several steps backward. Some days, we're just too ill to do anything. That's ok. Don't beat yourself up over it. Rest for today. Focus on this day and getting through it.
Tomorrow is a new day with new possibilities. I realize there are a lot of things that we can't do but our reality is what it is. We can't change that fact (as much as we'd like to). Perhaps our only accomplishment today is getting through it. We may not have been able to get out of bed but we perservered through it and that in itself is worthwhile and something we should celebrate. Now, that may not be celebration- worthy for the healthy folk, but when one is so terribly ill, day after day, just making it through the day *IS* a huge accomplishment and a reason to celebrate!
Perhaps there is something, however small, we can incorporate into our day, something that will make us feel better....either that will help us get well or lift our spirits to improve our emotionally well being. Things like:
- read an inspiring story
- try that new supplement we have
- call a friend
- prepare that healthy dish we read about last week...the one that is full of those healthy ingredients
- enjoy some fresh air from our deck or perhaps just feel the warmth of the sun as it streams in through the window
- listen to some favourite music
--- whatever we are capable of doing today.
Once we have been successful with this endeavour, build on it. Recall it on the days we feel like we're stagnating or even moving backward. When the doubts start to creep in, re-focus on the things we have accomplished, no matter how small they may seem. They too once were monumental but we conquered them.
Slow and steady wins the race. Remember and celebrate successes. Don't beat yourself up over what you may feel are failures. Living with chronic illness alone, is no small feat.
Yes, you can do this! Do whatever you're able, no matter how big or small, to move forward and have
Balance, despite the chaos.