Firstly apologies for the lack of Wellness Wednesday this week- I was battling a Monster of a Migraine so was shut in the dark! Hope you are all well!
Today the word on my mind is Growth.
To grow can mean many things. I have grown my hair (and cut it) many times. I have grown up, learning and advancing as a person. I have grown apart from people as our lives have taken different paths. I have also grown bitter from illness.
I feel that my growth in life has been somewhat stunted by ill health. I’ve watched my best friends grow up into the sky above me, leaving me behind in the weeds unable to reach the sunlight. Whilst my friends moved away to University, my limitations meant that I could only attend a nearby part time course which left a lot to be desired.
Whilst I have forged a great life for myself in my hometown, with my gorgeous husband and lovely house, I cannot help but wonder how different life might have been if my body had grown up differently. What things have I ,and am I still, missing out on in the world of a twenty something…
Dancing. Shaking my thang in high heels for hours, and just feeling a little tired the next day.
The reality. After about 20mins in a club I’ll either faint or have to leave before I do.
Drinking. Sipping down girly cocktails, or doing shots with my mates all part of the typical girls night out.
The Reality. I can’t drink. My body is too weakened already and drinking leads to extreme dizziness even from the tiniest amount.
Travelling. Hopping on the train to visit friends or Backpacking across the world!
The Reality. I cannot travel alone on the train incase I have an episode and collapse let alone travel over the world!
I wont go on and on with a huge list, but my point is that invisible illnesses are damaging not just to your body, your self esteem and your outlook on life, but your friendships and freedoms too.
When you are fit and healthy the amount of things you have to think about in any one day are relatively small. You may have a taxing job, a stressful relationship or any number of other life issues, but deciding whether or not to clean the kitchen or walk the dog because you don’t have energy for both isn’t one of them!
People say that illness shouldn’t hold you back, and whilst I agree with this in terms of dreams and long term goals, you do have to hold yourself back and have limits in order to live a life that has as many achievements as possible. Knowing what you are well enough to achieve each day and limiting yourself accordingly is part and parcel of having a chronic disease.
Whilst I have had to adjust to this, it isn’t easy on the people around me. After all if you had tickets to a gig and could chose between taking your fun easygoing friend or taking your awkward friend who would need pit stops and somewhere to sit down regularly…who would you choose? I love my friends and I know they care deeply about me, but its no surprise to me when I see photos of them out with their other friends all the time instead of me. It hurts and I get super jealous, but they cant always be expected to have to work with my limitations just because I have to.
Even family can’t be expected to understand the little changes to daily life that you have to make. I always feel that I’m being judged as lazy or miserable when I get a call from my Mum asking how many clients I’ve seen this week and I haven’t managed very many. I can get over my own disappointment in myself but when you hear that disappointment in the voices of people you love and want to approve of you, it is really hard!
Its very difficult not to sound self pitying when writing about limitations. I do have moments when I have a cry and let myself grieve my lack of freedoms, but I also do feel proud of myself for having learnt my limitations and being able to say no when I feel I might be over doing things. We all create our own sense of what is normal. I will always try harder and grow myself further in as many aspects of life as possible. But unfortunately some obstacles are immoveable and you just have to learn to take a different course around them.
The most important thing as always is to listen to your body, set goals, and be realistic. You know yourself better than anyone else and if you need to rest just bloody well do it!! Sod the nay sayers, I know you’re not just being lazy!!!