After the past three days, I honestly don’t know how I have gotten through. This has quite possibly been the worst crash in a while. All catalyzed by me trying to be somebody who I am not. Or more specifically, no longer am. I was me trying to be the old me.
Sometimes I just want to be normal. I think I am. But truth is the way I live my life is a lot different from others. And at times that can be challenging to accept. I know it won’t be like this forever, but for now it has to be. That old me is a figment of my imagination.
For the past 6 months or so, I have been having treatment in the form of Chinese Medicine for Chronic Fatigue. Like everything I try, it seems to work great at first. But then after a while it’s like my body protests and tells it to just fuck off. As you can imagine, this is very frustrating.
In fact this whole illness can be frustrating. You think you are making great progress and then bam, you have a huge setback. It is forever two steps forward and one step back. Some days it will feel like there is nothing wrong with you and you feel on top of the world. But other times, like the past few days it actually feels like a steam train has come and run you over.
The alarm clock goes off but you cannot move from your bed. You can barely eat. Conversations are a struggle. Showering is a struggle. You cannot do any form of work or uni work. The very thought of doing anything exhausts you. No this is not laziness. Nobody chooses this life. This is CFS on the worst days. You just cannot deal with your life.
If I am being completely honest, it has taken every part of me to get through the past few days. It’s like this spiral effect. I feel incredibly fatigued, which makes me feel depressed and anxious about my life and my future. Will I ever be able to work a full time job and have a proper career? Will I ever be able to date again? Will I ever get my complete independence back? Will I ever be the energetic, clear-thinking me ever again?
But then I remind myself- the future for all of us is uncertain. None of us know what is in store. And if I just keep thinking about what is going to happen tomorrow, I will never enjoy today. I will never be able to use the present effectively to maximize my recovery. I will be forever living for tomorrow instead of making progress today.
There are people out there that have things so much worse than me. People dying of cancer or with family members who have or are dying from cancer. People with worse cases of ME CFS. People going through extreme poverty or famine. So I feel guilty when I just feel so depressed. I am grateful for the life I have and yes it could be much worse. But on the bad days, you can’t help but feel sorry for yourself. And feel like your life is unfair.
The difference is, while I grieve for a little at times, I will NEVER let myself live in this state forever. I am focused on working towards things that help others because I believe that when we have purpose and give back, our lives have more meaning. It can just be disappointing at times when you work so hard on yourself and your health and it all just gets thrown back in your face.
The worst part for me is letting others down. I make commitments that when I am feeling energetic, I can quite easily fulfill. Although, when I have these bad days, I realise that I have over-committed. I have a bad habit of doing this. I guess you could just say that I am optimistic and every time I feel good, I think that I am on the mend. CFS can be horribly cruel though and torture you like that. You think it is teasing you with the feeling of being recovered, but it is just the cycle of boom and bust. That roller-coaster ride.
So I’ve had my three days of being bed-ridden, binge watching Netflix, surviving on Vegemite on toast and barely being able to move. I’ve cried to my Mum multiple times at how unfair life is, vented to my friends who kindly listen and essentially shut myself off from the rest of the world. So where do I go now?
The way I see it, I always have a choice. I have a choice to keep going on like this, getting in this cycle of camping out in my bed and feeling sorry for myself, letting life pass me by. Or I can do something about it. I can make the decision to, no matter what, make tomorrow a better day. Even if it is just getting out of bed. Even just sitting in the sun. Tomorrow will be a better day.
I may have gone backwards and may have to strip things back to basics once again. And on top of that, I may have made some unfortunate realisations this week that tugged my heart strings. But everything is going to be okay. I will be okay and I will continue to get better.
There is no time for sadness or expending my energy on things that don’t contribute to my recovery. No distractions. No dating. Right now, it’s all about me. I need to be selfish. Right now is about becoming the healthiest, happiest version of me. I have had a taste and now I want more. I deserve more. I’m made for more.
This happened to test my strength, to help me grow. So I am going to grow. I am going to use all my strength. I am going to beat this. I will never give up!
Sometimes all it takes is some good music, a good cry and writing to make you see things in perspective. I’m glad I can see things clearly now and know the path set out for me, even when brain fog tries to cloud it.
I know there are still things I need to work on. I’ll get there. Life is a journey of self-work and personal development. But hopefully taking more time for me will help with that. It has already been a year, surely another year or two can’t hurt.
If along the way I find someone who appreciates me for me and the journey I am going on then great. But I am not actively going to pursue dating because I know right now, I can’t give myself 100% to someone when I am working so hard on myself. Friendships are adequate for now.
So back I go on this journey to recovery despite the little hump in the road. I will tap into every piece of strength and love I have within me. Because I know I will recover. If I know anything in this world it is that!
Even if I have to leave uni until next year, leave all my commitments behind and just spend my days building myself back up. If that is what has to happen, then so be it. But I will never be a victim, always a fighter, fighting for her life back.
I will never give up.
And neither should you.
– the Soulful Wanderer