Today I wanted to share a little bit with you about what it’s like living, working, and playing with a chronic illness. More specifically I wanted to share with you those times that I forget I’m chronically ill.
Living in constant pain and fatigue isn’t something that’s easy to forget. And trust me it doesn’t happen often. Things aren’t always hard, or painful. Sometimes it’s just that dull reminder that I don’t have the energy that I once had to do the things I love, or the nagging knee pain that I have dealt with my whole life. And although it may sound like a good thing to forget you are ill, it usually isn’t the case.
There are two specific instances in which I occasionally forget about my illness. On the rare day that my pain is low, or that I’m attending an event that I’ve looked forward to for a long time I can get caught up in enjoyment. If you catch me on one of these days, I might even be dancing, loud, obnoxious, and generally smiley. I’ve set my health issues aside for the time being, and have captured a small bit of my natural joy.
I often live for these nights! I will talk your ear off if you let me, and unless I tell you (which I often do) you would never know I struggle with my health on a daily basis. Then morning comes….. and I again remember that my body is not as strong as it once was.
Regardless of the night’s activities or alcohol consumption I’m “hungover.” My head pounds, my throat hurts, my legs ache. After one of these “good nights” it often takes me 3-4 days to recover to my normal daily activities. No matter how careful I am the only way to avoid this feeling is to not go out at all, and that sucks. As much as I hate the phrase “suck it up” when it comes to pain, somedays that’s just what I do. I suck it up, enjoy myself, and know that for the next week things will be slow.
The second instance in which I can “forget” about my chronic illness is sometimes the hardest. As you know I’ve been working on building a business very very slowly over the last couple of years. It started as a hobby, became a cute idea, and now is at the point where I’m actually (almost) making money.
Before I started all of this, I had no real idea about the crafting business. I understood the production part, and doing what made me happy, and I knew it would be a lot of work. But I wasn’t familiar with the craft blogging world, Pinterest didn’t exist yet, and the majority of people I followed on Twitter knew nothing about crafting.
Starting from scratch, I’m learning slowly, and well. It turns out I’m pretty good at a lot of things. However, as I build my crafting business, form relationships with other crafters and bloggers, and attempt to make myself known I get overwhelmed. I often feel as though I’m not “doing enough”and that everyone is getting ahead of me.
When the stress is really high, and I feel like I’m failing it’s because I’ve forgotten that I have a chronic illness. I’m attempting to function like a healthy average person in a world of overachievers. To begin with I’ve never been an overachiever, but I’m also operating at a much slower pace in my daily life than most people. This is when I need to remind myself of how far I’ve come, and how well things are going. That DESPITE my chronic illness I’m still succeeding. This is really easy to say, but oh so hard to remember.
So I thought by sharing with you, I might remember to cut myself a little slack from time to time. Also I’m sharing this with you so you might understand a little bit more about others with chronic illness. I’m a pretty open book, but a lot of people who struggle do not share their struggles with others. If you can learn a little bit of what I’m going through, hopefully you can help be supportive to others.
And because I hate leaving you without a picture of something that I’m working on, here is a full bobbin of yarn that I spun last night.