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The Struggle is Real

fshbtyThis is a hard one for me to post about. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but feel like it’s important to be real about things, so this is me being real. I’m not looking for any sympathy, just sharing my journey.

I’ve been doing it pretty hard for a few years now, lots of ups and downs and me coming up with reasons why it’s all totally normally and acceptable.

You see, my life is busy! I home school three energetic kids, each with their own special needs, I write, I edit, I keep everyone fed and clothed. I also have bipolar 2, and anxiety. Of course I’m tired. It’s totally normal, to be expected even. Right?

Right.

But it hit the point where I had to admit that I wasn’t okay. I ran out of excuses and I had to do something about it. And that something was to go and see a Dr, take a bazillion tests, and get a diagnosis.

Turns out I have Fibromyalgia (possibly with a side of Chronic Fatigue, I’m waiting on a specialist appointment). The symptoms I’m living with are not new (have in fact been around for years), however it’s been a bit of an adjustment getting my head around this diagnosis and realizing that it’s not just a thing that I’m going to get over if I go to bed earlier or do more yoga.

People often say things along the line of ‘I don’t know how you do it all’, and I am often thinking, ‘I don’t either’. Hell, I don’t think I DO ‘do it all’, at least, not in the way I would like. Not in the way I believe I should be capable of. It’s kind of just enough in all areas to keep things ticking over, but if one thing is getting more attention, then another thing is sliding until I’ve got the energy to drag it back up to where it needs to be. It’s a constant juggling act where I have to make decisions about what I can manage on any given day.

Now I know why. I have a legitimate reason for all the aches and pains, for my constant fatigue. For always juggling. I’m not a ‘flake’, I’m just not super well.

And it sucks. It really sucks. No one wants a chronic health issue. Sure, it could be worse. I could be dying. But it’s still pretty crappy. I was hoping for a magic pill that would ease everything, but it’s just not that simple.

What it does mean is that I need to change my expectations of myself. I’m not going to get back to the level of energy and output I had just like that. There is no quick fix. I need to try different things to see what works for me, and most importantly, go a little easier on myself. Or a lot, depending on who you ask 😉

I feel like these past few years have seen me constantly pulling back on my expectations. And while I fully understand why that’s important – now more than ever – I feel so much resistance to it. I want so badly to be doing all the things. It’s why those things are in my life! And I’m sure as hell not going to let illness get in the way of me achieving my dreams. Though I might need to modify some of my desired timelines for said dreams.

Three weeks ago I started taking antidepressants which are meant to help with Fibro. It’s also meant to be pretty good for bipolar 2 and anxiety, so maybe this will be a magic pill after all, just not the one pill and done kind. My pain levels have decreased a bit, but I’m still in that ‘wait and see’ zone – these things take time. I’ve never been a very patient person when it comes to myself, but I think maybe I’m finally learning that lesson.

And while I wait and try out new things to help my health, I’ll keep writing and making the most of the energy I do have. If I’ve learned anything these past weeks it’s that regardless of whether you’re unwell or not, you need to make good choices about what you spend your time on. Life is short, energy is limited, and we live in a crazy busy world. Surround yourself with awesome people who lift you up and make time for the things you love – read those books, watch that movie, play that game, hug the people you love, laugh lots.

That’s what I’ll be doing.

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8 thoughts on “The Struggle is Real”

  1. I totally understand. You probably know I have chronic health issues too and I can relate very much to everything you’ve said. I’ve had to go on the journey of managing my expectations of myself and then readjusting those expectations every time things take another step downward. I completely get it and so recognized my own struggles in yours. If you ever need someone to talk to about it all, I’m always here! *hugs*

    1. Thanks so much Wen, you’re a very inspiring lady! Managing expectations is such a hard thing to do at times. I keep saying to myself that it’s okay to be the tortoise. I’m no hare. I’ve been repeating this for years but it’s still sinking in 😉

      1. Aw, thank you 🙂 I don’t feel it very often, believe me! I think one thing chronic illness taught me is to change what I can and accept what I can’t. I’ve found power in that. It’s too easy to feel like a victim of things I can’t control, but changing that narrative to being proud of the things I have done despite it is powerful.

        I won’t ever run a marathon, but I can learn the ukelele, paint a picture, or write a book. Plenty of marathon runners can’t do any of those things and probably wish they could at times. Would anyone call them a failure for that? Of course not. So why do I think I’m a failure if I can’t do what they can? It’s piffle and humans are ever so good at believing in piffle 🙂

      2. Oh we are, you’re so right about that!!! lol Changing the narrative is a powerful tool. I think this has certainly shown me that maybe everyone else is right and actually I am pretty awesome! lol

      3. They definitely are! You are absolutely awesome 🙂

        I don’t know about you, but I personally wasted too much of life trying to impress a bunch of people who either were never going to be impressed by me anyway, or already felt that way…when really, the only person who ever had to approve of me…was me 🙂

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