Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday 2 #HAWMC

I can't do it. I'm a writer for goodness sake. I write! So these "wordless Wednesday" assignments are knocking me for a loop. I'd rather do the 1,000 words. You want to start counting?

I felt so helpless today. I think that's one of the most frightening aspects of many chronic diseases: the total lack of control over the whole situation. Now, I know there are some people who have been able to rise up like fierce warriors and meet there disease head-on, and they're able to wrestle their disease, through lifestyle change, whatever, back into a corner where it behaves itself. Not so with my disease, and not so with my friend, who is going through such awful pain she can't keep food down.

I've been there--- in a world where there is so much pain, there is only obedience to the symptoms and praying until is passes or until you're so exhausted even the pain can't keep you awake. It's horrific what some people must endure, and our helplessness makes it worse. I want to think of myself as a competent, capable woman. But that's difficult to do when symptoms have us so at their mercy, we are rendered as helpless as infants. That's not a reinforcement that helps a person feel good about themselves, physically or psychologically.

What is fascinating to me is how much different of a person I might be, if I wasn't constantly made to second guess myself all the time. I saw it in another friend last night. He was in a bad mood and I asked if I could let him go and he said yes & apologized pre-emptively, something that I do all the time, because I am so sure that I am disappointing others with my shortcomings. But the truth was, my leaving had nothing to do with him... and suddenly I saw myself and every time I'd apologized ahead of time. Suddenly what my friends had been telling me became clear:

1. My limitations don't matter. We can find a way to make it work.
All humans have limits. We're used to working within limits all the time. We have lightbulbs for when it gets too dark to see, we have cars for hauling us around at speeds that are not natural for us, and we are communicating across the world in near-real time. Why are limitations something to be upset about, even if mine are different & unusual? Being human is all about limits.

2. When I apologize ahead of time, I have forced the situation to be something to be sorry about, when it may all be just fine.
Who am I to decide this is bad? I haven't wronged anyone, so what am I apologizing for, me & my nature? Well, that's a quick road to feeling bad about myself all the time.

3. I'm not unique in screwing up, whether it's from symptoms or circumstances. Just because I feel awful and have awful things happening to me doesn't mean I am awful. Feelings are not facts.

4. No one likes to see their friends suffer. But that doesn't mean we know what to say or do about it, especially if we can't understand what they're going through. It doesn't feel good to feel powerless to help... But people should know that when we're in suffering like that, we know our friends can't really help. Just saying that you hope we feel better soon or you hope the symptoms ease up enough so we can smile again.... Sentiments like this can mean the world. It reminds us there are folks rooting for us to get through, waiting for us on the other side of the suffering.

5. Being on the losing end of a battle with symptoms and simple tasks like holding a spatula can make me forget, quite easily, about my remaining strengths and skills. It's difficult to believe I'm still capable of greatness when the greatest thing I did today was lose in a most spectacular fashion... That's why it's so important to have those reminders, and get those reminders from friends & family, about the things we still can do well, and are still appreciated for, disease or no.

I should go now, as I keep nodding off....

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