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If Your Illness Is Overwhelming You Today

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I’m having “one of those days” today.

I generally hate that phrase to be honest. Its connotations are always so negative and dismissive. Besides, “one of those days” is generally most days with a chronic illness.

But today my illness is overwhelming me. It’s getting all up in my grill like that drunken potential suitor at a bar who just will not take “No, I don’t want a cosmopolitan, I’m not Carrie Bradshaw” for an answer.

My disease feels like it’s everywhere today: it’s in my thoughts, my anxieties, my joints, my gut.

I am trying to hold down a full time job with this, but today it’s proving to be an almighty challenge. OK, so let me be clear; every day is a challenge. Every. Day. But a challenge I can usually quite adequately overcome. But some days, like today, it’s just too hard. I’m close to tears writing this because it brings home how utterly exhausting chronic illness is. I want to give up and I know I can’t. What to do? Just wave a white flag and hope someone magically heals me? Believe me, if that worked I’d be purging every haberdashery of white fabric stat.

I can’t stop thinking about it. Being “ill,” that is. When that is the default, where is the space for everything else? Where do I squeeze in my work, my family, the man I love?

I’m not looking for sympathy here. Absolutely not. There is generally not anything we want less than sympathy. I’m trying, clumsily, to explain that illness comes in peaks and troughs. It’s a roller coaster we can’t get off, and sometimes that realization is terrifying. Like today, for me.

I know I am ill, I know I have to do X, Y and Z to stay “well,” I know I have to go to the hospital and see my doctors, I know all the things I should and shouldn’t do to keep myself alive – but sometimes I want to throw my hands in the air and have an almighty tantrum because I don’t want this life.

Much like a selfish lover, this (internal) tantrum usually leaves as quickly as it comes, but the feeling it leaves can linger long afterwards.

Today I am exhausted and overwhelmed and struggling to get a handle on what to do next. But I am here, writing this, and venting is making me feel calmer. I am breathing slower, in, out, in, out. I am putting one foot in front of the other because I have to. I know this will pass and living with this will get easier because it has done before. I have achieved more than I ever thought I would despite this disease and will again – and for anyone who needs it today, so will you.

It may not feel like it now, but the rollercoaster has to stop at some point. Fasten your seatbelt and close your eyes over the bumps. It gets fun again, I promise.

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Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Originally published: January 26, 2017
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