When I Feel Stuck in the Shadows of Life With Chronic Illness


So, I’m going through a bit of a rough patch. A culmination of events has left me drained both mentally and physically. I feel as though all the energy has leeched out of me, leaving just an empty shell. A shadow of my former self.

Shadows seem to be a theme in my life at the moment. Maybe because I seem to have a huge one hanging over me? I’m desperate to get out of it and take a step forward into the sunlight. But I can’t, I’m shackled here in the grim darkness.

This post is not the one I’ve been wanting to write. I have had many ideas of things I want to cover. Fun ideas. Upbeat ideas. I want to show that life with chronic illness isn’t all doom and gloom. Because it isn’t. I love my life. I love my family. I’m happy. The problem is, at the moment I’m a happy person stuck in the darkness. A shadow has been cast over my life and my smile. I know why. I know it will pass. But for the moment it’s here and I have to live within it, groping around in the darkness until the sun bathes my aching body again.

It’s winter here. The weather is cold. Even in bed, hiding under the duvet, I feel it nipping at my skin. Cold is pain for me. It’s a lead weight in my hands and feet and nails being driven through my joints. Cold is exhaustion. It’s every movement taking so much more effort. Cold is my body seizing up and me fighting to make it move again. In the winter I am the tin man without oil. I’m a grizzly bear who’s been forced to stay awake.

The shadow cast over me is matched only by the shadows under my eyes. I’m tired. I’m so tired that I feel like I could sleep forever and still not be rested enough. I’m so tired I’m on the verge of tears and I don’t know why. Speaking is too much effort. I trip over my words and stumble and slur. I make silly mistakes and beat myself up for them.

The shadow stops me seeing and thinking clearly, so my life is just a series of consecutive actions, none of which are thought out and many of which are clumsy or foolish. So, life at the moment is hard. It’s hard to see how I’m going to feel better soon. It’s hard to have the energy and impetus to do anything (blog writing included). It’s hard to just make it out of bed on a morning, physically hard.

But it’s OK. Because my life is hard. It’s harder than I ever dreamed it would be. And, though I push them away when I’m struggling, I have a family that loves and supports me. I have amazing children whose laughter and imagination cannot fail to bring a smile to my face. So yes. I’m in the shadows right now. But I’m OK.

It’s OK if you, too, are in them. There’s nothing shameful in that. I’m in the shadows, but I’m not despairing, because I know in order to have shadows, the sun is shining somewhere. Soon enough the winter will be over, I’ll be more recovered from recent health battles, and it will be my time in the sun again. Yours, too.

Follow this journey on This Little Life of Mine.

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