I want you to imagine your world without the constant nagging of your chronic illness. It's your world, but you're in control. You're driving the car and your condition has been relegated to the back seat.
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Hi I'm Kate
Come and join me on a journey from Chronic Illness to Chronic Wellness!
Warrior, it’s time to take back control.
You got this!
Do You Have The Courage?
There are times dear reader when I am honestly not sure that I do.
And this is coming from the woman who writes a blog about chronic wellness(!). Who believes so wholeheartedly that we can control our destiny and choose good health, that she devotes hours of her weeks to research and reading, writing and sharing.
And yet there are moments, emotionally exasperated moments; when I have lost it with my partner, when my body has absented itself (again), the only reminder of its presence the unbearable pain and discomfort it leaves behind, when my morale is beaten and my fight exhausted, that I just want to curl up in a ball and mumble feebly…
That’s enough now.
If wasn’t so tragic it would be funny. Who do I think is going to ‘stop it’ exactly? Where exactly do I think I’m going to go? Somewhere to remove me from this life? From these ailments? I’m not sure.
It’s like the ideal would be for my curled foetus of a body to be transported to a small dark enclosed space. Where like a hamster, I occasionally show my head for a drop of water or to fill my pouches with food, before I crawl back up for another day.
Of course that isn’t an option, not for me, not for anyone. I have a family, children, husband, dog, friends, loved ones and I have life! And I love life! I appreciate that it doesn’t sound like it from the above, but I do. I am grateful and loving and giving and taking, and I’ve learned how to be happy, and how to grow stronger out of everything that life has given me.
And of course, because it’s today, because I have had 21 hours post – moment of staring into the abyss – I am able to express it, to know it, to feel it in my bones. But 21 hours ago I didn’t know it, I didn’t feel it. I saw it on the horizon through fog, vague and grainy, like a bitter reminder of a me that I couldn’t find. ‘Here’s what you could’ve won.’
I’ve talked about relapses and flairs before (here), but for me they are still the biggest mental challenge that I face to this day. Being positive, applying mantras and affirmations, researching solutions, sharing, caring, seeing strength in your weakness… that’s all easy (or easier) on the good days. The better days. The days when you’re winning. The days when you’re achieving. The days when you can get out of sodding bed!
The key is to some how cling on to those days on the ‘other’ days. To drive yourself mentally forward when you have physically stalled, or even worse are stuck in reverse. The key is somehow being able to throw yourself a rope from the top of the cliff, when you are half way down clinging onto the ledge, pondering if it’s easier to let go.
In my previous post about relapse I talked about constructing a plan. A business continuity plan, a break glass in case of emergency plan. A rope management plan, to support myself clinging onto the ledge, to give me something else to cling on to.
I have been thinking about this for a while and I’ve come up with several average ideas. But following last nights ‘moment’ (my husband might use stronger words than that) I hit upon an idea.
I’m going to write a letter to myself.
This will be a letter from my best self, my most loving, caring, happy and confident self. My most empowered and generous self, my most understanding self. To her most lacking, drained and emotionally exhausted self. The version of herself who has nothing left.
I can’t write this letter now, because I’m not her yet. But when I do write I will be. And I’ll store it, hard copy, somewhere where only I can find, (and perhaps my husband in case he needs to ‘break glass in emergency’).
I have honestly no idea if this is going to work of course. You know me, always enjoy a bit of live personal experimentation. To be honest, ‘awesome, happy and super positive’ version of myself may just annoy the fuck out of ‘end of tether, emotionally beaten and mentally drained’ version of myself. And who could blame her if it did. But I have to try. I have to try and find someway of bouncing back quicker, of getting back on track and keeping going, with minimal disruption to users of this service! Life is for living peeps! (oh shit I think she’s coming back – hide).
In all seriousness, the weird thing about thing about this wellness shizzle, is that with every stride i make forward, the steps backward become harder. In all honesty, I am probably going to read this back and think ‘grow a pair woman! You’ve dealt with way bigger relapses, much worse pain, many greater set back than this! What the F is you’re problem?’ (Apparently there’s a third and slightly meaner side. Certainly not letting her write the letter!). But there it is…
’The higher you get, the harder you fall’
some legend somewhere
but then also in the words of Matshona Dhliwayo
‘The harder you fall, the stronger you rise’
I could literally go on all day, loads of people have bastardised this quote, feel free to ‘search it up’ (as my kids would say) if you feel more quotes will improve this post, I however have unfortunately reached my quote limit.
Also maybe scratch the second one on this occasion, because I am trying to soften the fall, but still plan on rising up stronger than ever, each and every time!
Will I post my letter on this blog? Hmm I don’t know. I’ll let you know after I’ve written it. Feels like it might be quite a personal thing. But I will post something, even if it is a less personal version for you to take a look at. I will obviously of course let you know how it goes, although I’m hoping that won’t be too soon as that will imply I’ve crashed (again). Which, whilst helpful for you dear reader will be shit for me, and whilst I might be willing to donate my experiences to science (or this blog at least), I am no martyr.
Let me know what you think of my plan I’d love to hear from you. Or if you have tried anything similar I’d love to hear how it went. Also if you subscribe I will email you updates once a week of what I have blogged about that week and what else is going on.
Ahhh, I feel better just from having this chat. Thanks dear reader, you’ve been awesome! (God she really is a bit much sometimes.)
P.S. If you are struggling to find the courage then the fasted way to get back on track is to check in with the present moment and breath! Check out my quick guide to incorporating mindfulness into your life here…