When I first knew something was wrong, I was feeling so, so very bad. I felt “off”, then I felt sick, then I felt a bone and soul-crushing exhaustion. A lot of my time was spent either gasping to breathe or struggling to lift my limbs to move me from one spot to another. It was rough. It was horrible. It was 2002 the first time. Then it was 2015 the second time.
Later, I learned I had some chronic health issues. Once I was past the acute stage and stabilized, I experienced flareups and learned these health issues would be around, hiding and lurking to spring to life on me during times of illness, physical or mental stress, even depression and sadness.
I got sad because I didn’t know how to live under that umbrella. Judging from what I had seen in other people, you were either a power house about it, or you were swept under. That was my mindset, and I didn’t know which way was up.
I prayed, a lot, and was grateful I didn’t find myself in an even worse condition, but still, dealing with being able to LIVE was another story altogether. Yet, slowly, I returned to an improved version of myself.
Eventually, my stamina increased. So, I made up my mind that being a prisoner in my own body was not going to happen. Social gatherings became more frequent. Miracle of miracles: I started having enough breath to sing again and joined (well, rejoined) my church’s choir!
I made up my mind to start moving my body more. A lot of the pain of the past worked itself out using yoga and stretching and restarting physical therapy moves, because I’d been sent for physical therapy quite a few times. Having had enough of the aftermath that left my body as something I no longer recognized, I made up my mind to get more exercise.
At first, I pushed way too hard, trying to return to the level I once was on. The pain afterwards would last for days. I decided to think of exercise differently. The only challenge was the one I made with myself. I could walk my way into better fitness, and that’s just what I started doing again, taking walks. Some motivational video or post talked about just getting my body up and moving it a bit more than the day prior, and before I knew it, I’d done a mile!
Today I went on a walk because it was the most beautiful day. I went early enough before the sun got too hot on me, and it was glorious. I did two and half miles.
I don’t get out in nature enough. It’s not from laziness that I don’t venture out but having chronic health issues prevents a lot that I want to do. So, when I can get out and enjoy the weather, I do it! Wholeheartedly!
I had to learn to manage my energy, however, so since I tend to overdo it (always trying to do the most in whatever short time I can, only to regret the aftermath later), I learned to get out, make peace with myself that I can’t get out/be out more, and enjoy every second of being present when I am out.
That was my experience today. And I had a breakthrough.
Getting out in nature amongst the trees and birds, in the breeze, really connects my spirit-self. And my breakthrough was a release! I released some past falsehoods about who I am now and how my life can go. I released it right there in the park, and the tears started to flow, but I was smiling and didn’t care if any passers-by caught any of it.
My life and how it’s lived, despite anything I went through the last 2 years, will be on another level altogether now. The heaviness was lifted. I don’t have to stay in situations that don’t serve my freedoms or that limit my capacity to have greatness. I can lean into it and let God flow through it all. I release being afraid that the good moments won’t last long enough. They never do. Time is short, and that just doesn’t matter. I release feeling sad and putting myself away in a corner as if life is over. Life is not over until The One who calls the shots says it is, and until that happens, I’m biting off as much as I am able to bite.
With each step, imagining the butterfly coming out of the cocoon, I, too, broke out of the self-imposed list of cans, cant’s, and rules. I can have fulfilment and still take care of myself and regulate my efforts. I can say “no” and not care that anyone refuses to understand me and still be transparent enough to answer with what is really going on. Things have changed. I have changed. Yet the essence of who Lynn is remains.
Wow. That was a GREAT walk!
One year later: The Update
I can now only walk one mile at a time due to excruciating pain. Not being able to push myself beyond the pain, I’ve come to accept that this, too, is a new reality. June is my birth month and I am celebrating being who I am, as I am.Continuing …
Having a chronic health issue is rough, y’all. It’s just rough. And so often, people will have more than one chronic health disease or illness at the same time.
I’m just going to be transparent here, and I AINT NO PUNK! OK?! But the way people make assumptions about others based on their perception of other’s activities or behaviors (or lack thereof) is so telling of their own character, it almost sickens me. Stop judging!
Nobody, and I mean NOBODY talking trash, lives in here with me. There is me. And there is God. And that is all there is. If I’m laid flat from trying to do too much, letting my body get so worn down I start getting sick, and having widespread body pain … trust me when I say this: NO ONE IS COMING TO SEE AFTER ME EXCEPT MY FATHER (Dad, biological, and my spiritual Father, literally).
Other’s opinions about what you do, what you don’t do, and what it means has to be wasted on you and on how you spend your time. If someone doesn’t know why you didn’t show up for something they can have the decency of just asking if you’re okay instead of making it something ugly. But they may not ask you. And that’s on them, not you.
You know your limits. You know when you need to rest, versus when you can do more. Sometimes you might push a bit further than maybe you should and you may pay for that in recovery/down time.
Start to worry less about others who may say you’re not committed, not dedicated, not plugged into excellence, because people can be so thin and unsupportive.
That’s why I, personally, only roll with God (yes, I’m a Jesus-loving girl. That’s who I am). The fact that I’m still upright AT ALL is because of God’s Grace and no one else. People that will gossip or complain also wouldn’t spend a minute to bring you a hot meal when you can barely hold your own body upright. They wouldn’t have time to pick up the phone to call or even text to check in on you. Forget them!
Don’t get mad about that. It’s their nature, and they are free to be who they are.
So are you.
I am very happy and content with the direction my health is going in now, but I also know the consequences of not paying myself enough attention and not giving myself enough care. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is no joke. Fibromyalgia is no joke. Neither is Diabetes. Or flare-ups of Lyme disease or bouts with Epstein Barr, or the myriad of other co-conditions all of these bring, like: asthma, insomnia, skin irritations and conditions, headaches, vertigo, weight gain, digestive issues, depression, anxiety, and more.
I don’t want anyone feeling bad for me. I simply want to offer you some insight and reinforce within you that your own strengths, although they may now be different, are still abundant and have worth.
If you notice someone in your life pulling back, slipping from view, or you’ve missed their presence, be decent and ask them how they’re doing, what’s going on with them, and if there is anything you can do to help. That’s all. That’s it.Tweet