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It would be too easy to swim in a soupy tear stained pity pot of discontent. If I let myself, I could fall prey to the constant drone of discomfort radiating from my core. Living with a chronic illness is not for the faint of heart nor is it for sissies. I cannot and will not allow myself to be a victim of the nagging rage of my sarcoidosis.

I live in an unyielding state of disruption. The simplest tasks most people take for granted, like taking out the garbage or folding laundry, take energy I sometimes do not have or have to work very hard to muster. It’s a constant game of cat and mouse that I play with my body and my mind. I cannot allow myself to dwell in the heaviness inside me and I don’t just mean the physical hardship, I mean the heavy heart I could bear if I allowed myself to think too hard about just how difficult it is to function.

Every day is new adventure in wondering what battles my body and brain will have. I wake each morning with my mental checklist. Did I get good sleep? What hurts today? What do I think I can get done? How much energy do I have? Of course, the answer to most of these questions can turn on a dime. I often wake feeling pretty good only to slip into the foggy funk of fatigue before I even realize what hit me and then all my best intentions come to a screeching halt. This is when the mental manipulation must begin but it doesn’t stop there.

I am also in a slow simmering state of sustained achy irritation all the time. It’s kind of like the quiet hum of a fluorescent light. You get so used to it that eventually you stop hearing it but every once and awhile it becomes incredibly annoying and you have to turn the light off. Other times the pain is actually as loud and bright as a heavy thunderstorm during an earthquake. One way or another, it is constant and between this and the unrelenting body blocking fatigue, I need to keep a strong mental game at play.

The rules are simple. It’s all mind over matter. I decide that I can overcome any physical challenge and most of the time I do. Somebody once said, and I have no idea who it was, that “the body achieves what the mind believes.” I probably saw that on Facebook or something, but you get the idea. This is pretty much how I mentally manipulate my body into doing what I need it to do. I will myself beyond the pain and misery. I trudge and I push and I fight. I am at war with my body and while my body sometimes wins the occasional battle, I need my mind to win the war.

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