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Today I’m Done Being the Inspirational and Strong Warrior

Today is one of “those days.” Really, I seem to have had a few weeks of “those days.” For over 30 years, I have been “the man full of hope.” The one ready to fight and tackle the next challenge before me – told by many how encouraged they are by me and how hopeful and strong I am in the face of my constant pain and health struggles. But today, I am feeling anything but strong, and I am tired of seeing the bright side. Today I just hurt, and in reality, I am just so tired of the pain and struggle. Today, I am just done.

Perhaps you have had a day, or days, like the one I am having. You know the days I am talking about – the days when you wake up already exhausted, worn from the never-ending fight and struggle, and just tired of it all. I have been referred to as the “Happy Warrior” and the “Parkinson’s Preacher,” and been described as inspirational to others, because of the joy and hope I have walking through life, battling multiple chronic illnesses, and never quitting – never giving up.

If you have read many of my other articles, blogs, or books, you know this to be true. Many days, that is where I am. Even though I know my struggle will be lifelong and my health will continue to decline and spiral downward, I have chosen to see the good and chosen to approach with hope the future that is before me.

But that is not the case today. As my pain has steadily increased, new symptoms have cropped up, and I have seen signs of decline. My vision of the future has become clouded, and honestly, all I see is a dark and painful future. I see the strain it is putting on my relationships, and the distance my mental, emotional, and physical state is putting between me and others.

I feel alone in this fight. Many sympathize, but few truly understand, and in all honesty, today, I am tired of talking about it and explaining it to others. I lack the motivation to do the things that just last month I was so passionate about, and I look with dread at the thought of 10-20-30 or more years of fighting this body.

I don’t want to be inspirational. I don’t want to be hopeful. I don’t want to find joy. Today, I just want to give up. Today, I am just tired. Today, I am in pain. Today, I am done being the “Happy Warrior” and the “Parkinson’s Preacher.” Today, the mental and emotional aspects of this fight have gotten the better of me, and I am discouraged, depressed, and tired of being strong for myself, and strong for everyone else around me.

In my battle with Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and so many other struggles, days like this are a reality, and I am realizing that days like this need to be discussed, if for no other reason but to vocalize the struggle I and so many others face.

Some days, there is not a “positive” or “inspirational” thing that can be said or done, for they all seem hollow and shallow in the face of pain that never stops. Today is that day. Today, I have no positive thoughts, inspiration, or even strength to share. I simply have my struggle, and the reality of where I am.  The “Parkinson’s Preacher” is just having a rough day.

Days like this happen in our battle with chronic illness, and that is just the reality we must live with. Maybe the only reason to share this is to simply give another person’s struggle a voice, and let them know that we all have days like this. Today, this is the place where I find myself, but that is OK because I will keep walking, and force myself to keep facing the future and pray that soon, I can once again face tomorrow with hope.

Getty image by Aleli Dezmen.

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