Chronic illness sucks.
I just want to start off with that truth. The truth that everyone who has been affected by chronic illness in one way or another knows to be true.
It just sucks somedays.
There are days when you feel like you can conquer the world. You feel strong, you feel unstoppable. Your workout went great, you feel energized and ready to keep going. You got in your daily quota for water, you took every one of your meds on time. You have had a great week, a week absent of mishaps. You are on your longest streak of being at work and school, you haven’t missed a day in one, two, maybe even three weeks.
Everything is going great.
Until all of the sudden it isn’t.
You can feel like you are standing at the top of the mountain one day and feel like you just fell all the way down to the bottom of that same mountain the very next day. Everything can change in an instant.
Maybe you overdid it on your workouts. You know those extra 10 minutes you did on the rowing machine? Yeah, you probably should’ve done a heart rate check there and knew that it was time to stop.
Maybe you forgot and skipped a meal. Maybe you left your water bottle at home. Maybe your meds are sitting there on the counter because you weren’t thinking this morning and forgot to put them in your bag for the day.
Maybe it’s your fault.
But a lot of the time, it isn’t.
Your body has just had enough. All that progress that you made can just vanish in a matter of hours. You could be doing every single thing right, and poof! You are right back where you started.
Standing at the bottom of a seemingly insurmountable mountain that just minutes before you were on top of.
But here you are. At the bottom, again. Working out seems pointless. Why workout if it only makes me feel worse? It seems futile to go get your water bottle when that means getting out of bed to go refill it, which will either cause extreme pain, loss of consciousness, or both. Why take your meds if they never seem to work right?
You feel weak…
You feel lost…
You feel helpless.
But you are not.
You are not weak. You are stronger than you ever thought imaginable. You have done this before. You have found yourself at your lowest point and lifted yourself up. You have gotten out of bed day, after day, after day. This is just another one of those days. Another day that feels impossible but is more possible than you know.
You are not lost. You know your body. You know what you need. Get those fluids in you. Drink your water, drink your gatorade. Take those meds on time. Prioritize healthy meals and healthy exercise, in moderation. Prioritize your health. You know what you need to do. And when you don’t know what to do? – pray. That’s all I can tell you. When you feel so lost that you cannot think of a simple avenue to go down, pray. Find guidance, find wisdom, find strength in your Heavenly Father.
Did you know he created the entire freaking universe?
Yeah. Just take like, 10 seconds here, and think about that.
The God that created the entire freaking universe is on your side.
And let me remind you that you are far from helpless. Look again at the line above. And never, ever forget it. I hope and I pray that you have family and friends that will surround you and support you when you need it, and those who will understand when you need your space as well. I hope and I pray that your doctor’s truly care for you and your health, that your nurses are there to aid you and educate you because they care about your health. I hope and I pray that your best friend/significant other does everything that they can to be there for you and show you how much they care about you. And I hope and I pray that you never forget your strength, as well as the strength of the God who is working as your advocate.
I am currently dealing with a combination of Dysautonomia, POTS, and Chronic Migraines. Anything from standing up too fast, loud noises, or intensely bright lights can cause extreme head pain, chest pain, syncope, loss of speech, or I could become partially paralyzed at any moment. Life happens. Just today at school, a fire drill went off without warning. I had to be half carried out of the building and laid down outside for a while until I could regain complete consciousness and cognitive function. I had taken all my meds, I was keeping up on my salt and my fluid intake, I was doing everything right. But Chronic Illness can be unpredictable. Every time someone says, “I hope you get better soon,” I am reminded of the fact that this is my life right now. It’s not a cold that I will get over in a couple days. It’s not a stomach bug that will be gone by the time the weekend is over. This is my life. I hold onto the hope that someday this will be cured, but I have to deal with the reality that I may never be ‘cured’ but I may have to settle for ‘managed’.
But please notice I said ‘dealing’ with this, not suffering from it. Because I am not suffering. I have friends and family that I love. I have a bed and a roof over my head every single day. I have access to clean water and good food available to me. I have a church that cares for me and prays over and with me, and I have a God who cared enough to sacrifice not only His physical life, but temporarily His spiritual life as well.
I am not suffering. I am dealing. I am living. No matter how good or bad that quality of living is, I am living. I am alive. I am speaking. I am writing. I am singing. I am thinking. I am typing.
Somedays, Chronic Illness sucks. It just sucks. And that is something no one can understand until they’ve experienced it themselves.
So, grab your water bottles. Ready your meds for tomorrow. Lay out those cute new workout clothes for your exercise tomorrow. (And if you don’t have any cute workout clothes then, girl, take a trip to Target.)
But get ready to live. When you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, remember your strength. Remember your hope. Remember your love. Remember how you felt on top of that mountain, and summon all your courage to start climbing again.