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Why I Don't Feel Grateful for Having One Good, Low-Pain Day

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Yesterday, I woke up refreshed, energized, focused, motivated and with very low pain. I had spoons and the day was mine for the taking. I went to work enthusiastically. I tackled my to-do list and even had time to grab hot chocolate with a colleague and took a 30-minute walk during my lunch. I submitted projects before their deadlines and even worked ahead in preparation for the holidays. I was fully present at all three meetings I had and remember every detail without taking pages and pages of notes. I was a rock star, my old self.

On my drive home, I still felt great, so I stopped at the store and picked up a 25-pound bag of salt for the onslaught of snow expected the next day. I lifted the bag by myself and loaded it into the car, bonus. I finished up grocery shopping and went and got gas in my car and ran to the bank. While getting into my car, I was expecting the drive home to zap the remaining energy I had, but, to my surprise, I arrived home still energized and motivated with spoons to spare. So I cleaned. I reorganized the pantry, tidied the living room, did some laundry and looked at the clock expecting it to be nearly 8:00 p.m. because these tasks usually take me so long to complete. To my utter disbelief, it was only 6:30!

I decided to reward myself by painting my nails and told myself I had been productive enough that I deserved this small act of indulgence. So I slipped on my comfy clothes and settled in to do my nails and watch some Netflix. I actually enjoyed my dinner, had a little dessert and drifted off into a fitful sleep feeling great about my day and proud I had not depleted my spoons.

Then I woke up today. My head was splitting, my neck was tense and painful. My vision blurred and my face hurt along with some dizziness and nausea. I sat in my bed for nearly an hour after my alarm sounded just thinking back on how good I was yesterday. How “normal” I felt and begging someone, anyone, to bring me back to yesterday. To low pain, focus and energy. But, nothing changed. I gradually accepted that today would be what I have grown to see as normal, my version of reality. Trudging through my day with pain, fatigue and brain fog all the while dreaming of the end of the day when I can greet my comfy clothes, couch and ice packs.

It is days like yesterday that make me bitter about my illness after I have worked so long and hard to be accepting of my conditions. Like life is taunting me with my full potential and it is just out of reach. It makes me wonder “if only…” and analyze a million scenarios in my head as to how I was given that one good day. Did I do something different the day before the good day that caused me to feel so good? Did I over-exert myself during my good day and now I am paying the price for it today? What if I drink more water today… maybe I will feel better tomorrow. I could eat more vegetables at dinner tonight, that could help me feel better tomorrow.

In addition to making me feel envious of my old self, days like yesterday make days like today so much harder to get through because the memory of ability and wellness is so fresh. They bring out a case of “why me?” Why am I sick? Why am I not better yet? Why can I not be that good every day? Why do the good days never happen when I could really use them? Like for a big family event, vacation or meeting? Why just some regular old Tuesday? People tell me I should be grateful for the good days, but I just can’t bring myself to be grateful today. Today I am frustrated and mourning my old life, my old self. Maybe I will be grateful another day, but, for today, I long for the productivity and relief I felt yesterday. I relish in the thoughts of accomplishment and completion.

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Photo via svetikova on Getty Images

Originally published: January 5, 2018
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