I'm better than I was a couple weeks ago, but I am not well. Not yet. And the last two weeks, I pushed too hard, and now I'm feeling a bit worse again. It's so hard not to jump back in full on, into life.
I went to counseling this week for the first time in a while, I said I'd been struggling with a lot since getting really sick last month. Mainly, I am terrible about asking for help. And I am terrible at not pushing myself too hard once I start feeling better. I don't want to miss out on things, and I don't want to let people down.
My counselor asked me, so what? What is your greatest fear if you just stopped doing everything, and rested... And in all honesty, the only thing that came to mind, is if I stop doing everything I want and need to do, that I would feel like I don't exist. BAM. Biggest fear in life right there. Scares the bejeezus out of me even thinking about things like that.
But I am so exhausted, after just two weeks (admittedly full-on weeks) back at it. This week, my stomach has been feeling worse again... and last night I started getting a bit of a sore throat, so I think I am fighting off this stupid cold everyone has on top of it. I just want so much to feel better. Moo.
O ME! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill'd with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew'd;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
People ask me all the time why I can't do certain things. People who know me; who've known me for ages. People who mean well.
Why can't I come out to socialize in the evening on a day when I worked at the office?
Why did I drive to work today instead of taking the bus?
Why do I have to work from home most of the time (why is that any different than going to the office)?
Why is travelling so hard?
Why can't I walk all the way across downtown?
Why can't I stay up late one night on occasion?
I've never found a way to explain this to people so it makes sense to them. Other than saying, I don't have as much energy as a "normal" person. My counselor has asked me a few times why I think people just don't get that, and the only thing I can think of, is that it's because I seem so cheery, I don't look like I feel terrible all the time. But that is just because when I feel terrible, I stay home. And I try to keep a good attitude, regardless. But it's not representative of what I live with.
But I just read something Zak sent me - a simple analogy using toothpicks, and that's it. THAT'S EXACTLY IT. I looked up the "Spoon Theory" that's mentioned at the end, and it's a longer, more detailed version of the same concept, and if you've ever asked me any of those questions, or want to understand what I live with, please do read this (start at the heading "But you don't look sick" and update: no I don't have MS, it's just a way to look at chronic illness). It's a bit long, but it's the best description I've ever read. That is exactly what my life is like.
And right now, I have about 2 spoons (or toothpicks) per day. I can do dishes, and make food. And that's it. I can go out for coffee with a friend, and do a little work from home. But that's it. If I do laundry, that uses up both of them for the day. Same for grocery shopping. Going to the office uses 6 if I take the bus. Yes, 6. 2 for being at work, 2 for taking the bus, 2 for packing food and unpacking/cleaning after. 1 day at the office means I am exhausted for 3 days.
I have been running a deficit of spoons since I got sick last month. And a weekend isn't long enough to get back in the black. That was the sickest I think I've ever been. It was scary. The friends who were really keeping tabs on me and who knew how bad it was were scared for me. And I want to be well again so much that I've been acting like if I just do normal things, normal life will return. But that's not working. I really need to scale it back a TON.
And I don't know what that looks like. But I know I need to figure it out damn fast, or else this is going to drag on and I will be forced to face my fears in a not so nice way. I am so afraid of having to face what is really at stake here.