It feels like October here in London. The sky is grey, the rain is pouring down, and I’m spending most of my time curled up in bed alternating between a massive jumper and my duvet over me and having the fan on full blast.
No matter what I do, “winter” weather like this makes my life damn near impossible. My pain levels shoot straight through the roof and into the stratosphere and I’m often stuck inside because the rain makes my joints even more unstable. Of course, it depends on the day, but this is when I’m significantly more likely for my never-ending subluxations to start up again.
That’s what has been happening to me over the last few days.
And even though it happens to me every single year, it still takes me by surprise that I can be in this much pain and feel so unwell that I don’t know what to do with myself.
This has been made all that much harder right now by the fact that I’m not well enough to work (it’s usually the time that if I’m in work I have to stop) and am feeling incredibly useless. Unfortunately, that’s leading to the seeds of depression starting to bloom yet again.
Today has been particularly difficult. Several days of build up of bad weather, massively overdoing it last week with going to Sussex and then surviving the Plant-Based Picnic has meant that my body has gone into a bit of freakout mode.
Having to stay in and rest (because I can’t walk in the rain, I’m trying to do some gentle body weight exercise in the house) makes my brain go a bit crazy. I’m still learning to accept my limitations and that I can’t do the things I want to do, but it doesn’t mean that I’m always ok with it. Seeing friends go off and start exciting projects, travel around the world and do jobs that they love and are stimulating makes me incredibly jealous. Not productive, I know, but when I have all day to spend in bed, those thoughts pop into my mind. Add to that the amount of times I’ve heard “but you look so good!” as I’m totally on the verge, and we’ve got a particularly potent mixture of “ARGH” and “meh”.
As much as I think that writing about my health and raising awareness of invisible illness is so extremely important, it’s not what I ever saw myself doing. My weekly rants roll of my tongue/out of my fingers, and I don’t feel like I’m making the difference to anything that I feel like I want to be making. I want to be able to work, I want to be able to go out, do a good job and do something exciting and interesting and that I’m really passionate about. I just want to do.
Unfortunately, the reality is that my body just isn’t up to that. And while I’m working really hard to not push myself too hard and make myself more unwell, it’s just incredibly frustrating. Not to mention scary that I can’t earn the money that I was, especially when I have rent to pay. Eating the way I have to eat and the extra things I need like taxis, osteopathy etc is expensive.
Pretty much everything I’ve wanted to do I’ve had to stop at some point because of my health. Trying to find that balance is so incredibly difficult. This morning I went on a weird internet binge trying to find classes or courses or something, anything I can do (current thought: I should go to law school part time!) that gives me valuable skills and knowledge just to give me something to do. I’m bored with the internet, I can’t watch anything else, and I need a break from reading. I need to feel like I’m doing something, achieving something. And yes, that’s probably part of our culture of needing to achieve and compare and “do” things. But as much as setting myself small challenges helps me get through the day, I need something bigger, more exciting. And I’m stubborn. So that’s what I want. Shut up.
One thing I have finally accepted is that sometimes there’s absolutely nothing I can do (or have done) that will make my body go mad. I always just thought that until I got caught up in the whole wellness scene. The more and more I read about the miracle cures, and how just thinking the right thoughts and eating the right foods can cure everything (go away), the more “done” I have become with it all. Sometimes we’re just not going to feel well. That’s the nature of chronic illness. I’m extremely happy for the people who have managed to feel better, and I know that I can feel significantly better than I do. But right now, my body is having a freak out and all I can do is try and find ways to support it the best way that I can.
The main thing is trying really hard to manage the depression that comes with a severe flare up. I’m lucky in the sense that my depression has always been reactive. I always get depressed after (bloody hell there was just the most insane rolling thunder!) my body starts going haywire, not the other way round. I think this is something that probably deserves a post on its own, as many people with chronic illness are accused of depressive mindsets as the cause not the effect. There’s not much discussion of the fact that is the lack of health, pain and isolation that causes the depression in the first place. That’s the case for me anyway.
Ultimately though (and apologies for the rambling post, I just needed to do something today), what’s most important is to remember that it’s ok to have days like I’m having today. I’m generally not one to feel sorry for myself. When people ask me a question and I answer honestly (maybe like “yeah, that was my shoulder that just fell out” or “yeah, I had to spend the last two days in bed”) I’m not saying it to get sympathy or because I feel sorry for myself. It’s just a fact. Like, I had a smoothie for breakfast or I’m going to watch the Great British Bake Off tonight. Mmm cake…
Sorry. Distracted. I like cake.
The point is, that even though I don’t often have times where I feel sorry for myself, sometimes it’s ok to have a freakout morning/day/evening. The key thing is to freak out and then move on. I’m not really sure exactly how I do it (I think writing helps), but it’s something that is entirely natural and normal. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m 26 years old and have had to stop doing so many things that I’ve enjoyed because of my health. I try so many different things and they work for a bit and I feel like things are getting back on track until they’re not. That’s a really fucking hard things to deal with. And so “grieving” and allowing yourself to feel sad is ok. It’s entirely normal. I’d be more worried if I didn’t feel sad about that.
So, today is going to be one of those days, and while I doubt that I’m going to find a solution, especially considering my closest friends who have very similar ambitions to me who also have health problems haven’t figured it out either, I’m going to tantrum it out so that tomorrow I’m more able to deal with it.
If you liked this post, please subscribe to my updates above and follow me on Bloglovin and Pinterest!
If you’re in your teens or 20’s and are struggling with chronic illness, check out my coaching services for a friendly face to talk to.