For some reason I have been giving this idea a lot of thought lately. I have several friends I have found through the internet who have my “rare” disease. And as I read about their trials and hardships from having this bizarre and generally unheard of ailment, mostly I can relate to varying degrees. And I always feel empathetic even if I don’t fully understand their individual experience.
Sometimes I read stories about people fighting weight issues, mostly due to the joys of Prednisone, which admittedly, is not a problem I have as I am not on that particular treatment.
But I do share the fight with my “sarcoid” pals regarding fatigue. And fatigue is not being tired by the way, well it is but it’s more than that. It is like there is no other gear than slower than slow motion. It’s like trying to run through waste high mud. You simply cannot get your body to do what your brain wants it to. The tank is on empty and even when you manage to fill the tank, it has a hole in it anyway because you become drained again before you even have a real chance to appreciate having what small amount of energy just ran right through you – sort of like a physical diarrhea. Basically, fatigue sucks.
In fact, since the kind of fatigue people with chronic illnesses like sarcoidosis feel is so hard describe, I am providing a visual in hopes it will help reinforce what I am talking about! This is what fatigue looks like…now you can imagine how it feels day in and day out!
Anyway, all that to get to my point. I read the stories from my fellow suffers and how they need to lose weight or how they know they need to exercise and I wonder…what keeps them from actually doing it?
Then it hits me…People don’t change. If you were never someone who was a mover and a shaker to begin with, why would you suddenly expect yourself to become that way AFTER you were diagnosed with a whacky painful chronic illness?
Let’s face it. It’s not going to happen. Now, I don’t say this to be critical. I say this to be realistic. Nor do I say this to be judgmental. Some people are the tortoise.
And some people are the hare.
And frankly, the world needs both types of people because without tortoises to slow the hares down, we would just be a bunch of people haphazardly colliding into each other. It would not be a pretty site!
The hares of the world, when struck by these bizarre chronic conditions, have an entirely different problem and that is that they do not know how to slow down enough to do the things they need to in order to take necessary care of themselves…like rest.
So if you’re a tortoise do you really think you can suddenly become a fitness buff over night and do you really think especially after you’ve been stricken by disease that your motivation will rise? Highly unlikely.
And if you are a hare, do you honestly believe yourself capable of changing your pace and slowing down enough to deal with the ravages of this disease? Doubtful. Because part of the reason hares are always on the move, is avoidance.
Now I am sure there are people in between but I have met none of them who have this disease. It seems we are quite often split in two categories. Tortoises and hares.
And here is what I have found. The tortoises are always beating themselves up for not going for that swim or taking that walk. The hares are always finding themselves full of anguish over the physical harm they continually inflict on themselves for not knowing how to slow down.
I am a hare. It is a painfully – literally painfully – slow process for me to figure how to slow down. But one thing I have figured out is that I should and need to stop beating myself up for being who I am. It doesn’t help anything and in the long run being a hare is how I have always coped with life’s hardships.
What I really need to do, is figure how to use that energy in ways that will be of more benefit to me rather than trying to find ways to dam up that energy. Whenever I try to dam up the energy or stop its flow, I find myself depressed, out of sorts and at a loss. It’s not who I am. And it’s not who I am ever going to be.
You can’t turn a hare into a tortoise…darn it!
So I am going to work on accepting being a hare and instead of trying to change who I am, I am going to try to change what I do. I am going to embrace my need for speed but find a better way to direct it.
And my advice, although not asked for, for tortoises, is that they do the same. Move but move at a pace that is tolerable and don’t beat yourselves up for not running the 100 yard dash in record time. After all…doesn’t the tortoise win the race in the story anyway? Lighten up tortoises…you’re already winners!
After all, I really am beginning to think…people don’t change.