Thursday, 4 July 2013

30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge: Day 5

Day 5: How does being chronically ill make you feel?

I'll share a secret - I've been positively dreading a question like this one.

Frustration is probably the word which best encapsulates the well of new emotion in the wake of becoming ill. No matter how much work you put into positive thinking and moving forwards I don't think you can (or should) avoid the occasional rant or cry. It's human and it's healthy.

It's also particularly reasonable. Who wouldn't be frustrated with new limitations, new boundaries and new impossibilities which they certainly did not ask for?

(Thanks, but I'm sure I'll find it.)

For my own sake I refuse to think in terms of "might have beens". My life reached a fork in the road and fate or an almighty power or whichever idea you subscribe to intervened and I've been on my new path ever since. Sure, I'd love to have stayed on the healthy one, but I'm one of those irritatingly zen people who tends towards thinking things happen for a reason. One door closes and another opens, or so I like to think.

I certainly have my low moments or days when I want to jump up and down and shout that it's not fair - I'm not a saint, I'm a flawed human being just like everyone else. Some days I really do feel like a wide open vista stretching from horizon to horizon has been irrevocably narrowed, but it's wisest I find to have the necessary vent and then to put it to bed.

Anger and upset are normal and indeed necessary, but when you have a chronic pain condition bound inextricably with your mood which responds somewhat violently to tension and upset, it's a good idea to learn to temper things a little. For myself I tend to turn anger into resolve and a "you won't beat me" attitude. I'm starting to be absurdly grateful to the friend who named my inner health demon "Petunia" - it's wonderful having a name to direct my righteous anger at. If nothing else I can at least regress to being ten and call her names, which is surprisingly satisfying.

I'm not a person who likes to cry for my own situation, but I found it was better for me to just accept when I need to (more often than before though it is) and to keep going forwards afterwards. I had to train myself to not think of each bout of upset as a failure, which I had a tendency to do before.

Don't ever let anyone tell you being a perfectionist is fun. It's not. It's demanding and wearisome at times.

One thing I came to realise recently was that I don't respond well to being told I'm "inspiring". It's a lovely thing to say to someone, but I think deep down I'd much rather be a "normal" healthy individual than an "inspiring" ill one. Inspiring feels like a mantle I have to live up to, even on bad days. I'm well aware that's probably a quirk of my personality though.

"Everything happens for a reason" - but I'd rather like to be on the board the next time a big decision is made.

That's a wish unlikely to be granted though, so I'll just go back to being the Dragonborn in Skyrim instead. A majority share in the entire universe, servant of multiple Daedric princes, Archmage of the College of Winterhold, Listener of the Dark Brotherhood and general all around pain in the backside.

(Skyrim - vicarious horse riding and ass kicking all in one Shadowmere sized package.
Image courtesy of


  1. Wonderfully written and I try to share your sentiments as much as possible, but there are days, it just downright p*sses you off.

    I really liked the sentence ""Everything happens for a reason" - but I'd rather like to be on the board the next time a big decision is made."

    1. Thanks Lisa - it p*sses me off too, I just try and channel it elsewhere - several painful episodes following being really angry sort of made me behave xD xx