Chronic illness is a world you cannot even begin to understand until you’re in it. Before I became a mother, my own mom would try and tell me what motherhood would be like. The truth is, you can’t know until you’re in it. Until you are there….experiencing the pain, shaking hands with fatigue and under the weight of it all. It’s the same with chronic illness. You don’t know anything until you’re there. Immersed in a world that’s confusing, painful both physically and mentally, lonely, and always changing.
Pain. I’ve learned to live with pain everyday. I feel that if I let anyone know I am in pain it will be seen as a complaint or seen as a weakness. I am not weak. I am not a complainer but I do wage a war everyday with my body that seems endless. Most days I am a fighter. The glass is half full type of girl. Then are days like this, when I am tired. Tired of fighting, tired of feeling like my disease is winning, tired of watching every morsel of food that enters my mouth, tired of telling people why I can’t eat this or that, tired of fighting the fatigue, tired of feeling guilty for being sick in the first place. Just tired.
Fatigue. Most days, I feel like I am at the bottom of the ocean. The physical weight of the water on top of me, placing pressure on my every movement. Have you ever tried to run in water? It’s impossible and so my life feels at times. Impossibly exhausting. Everyday fighting and struggling just to do what I need to do. Having nothing left for what I would like to do outside of my responsibilities. Fatigue that interferes with my emotions and thought process. Fatigue that incases me like a cage. I want to be free. I need to be free.
Envy. I would be lying if I said I have never envied healthy people because I do and I have. I envy their complaints and abilities to get everything done with ease (or so it appears). I envy what they spend their money on. Fancy things instead of fancy medical bills. I fantasize about what my life would look like if my health didn’t hold me back. Who would I be? Where would I be? How different would everything be?
Fighter. I am a fighter. I have endured, fought, and persevered despite the challenges I have faced. I am thankful for my journey because it has taught me, not only about myself, but about God’s mercy and His strength that He lends me everyday. I don’t believe God expects perfection from me everyday. I do think He appreciates honesty. The truth is, I do struggle but I also succeed.
Grace. Lately, I’ve been trying to extend grace to myself. Notice I said trying. When I extend grace to myself, the frustration eases and my peace increases. This is not always easy, but it’s something I’m working on. Grace for when I can see what needs to be accomplished and grace for what I can realistically do. Grace to accept that I am not Superwoman and that’s okay! Grace for when I am struggling. Grace to accept that I am not perfect. Yep, shocker I know.
This is my journey. It’s beautiful and broken. One day, I believe I will piece everything back together. That not be today or tomorrow but there is the hope of someday being free. “Just keep swimming.” -Dori
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