For as long as I have been retired, and virtually house bound, people have always said how brave and inspirational I am. But I really don’t feel it at all!
In the past year, as things have progressed, I have felt more and more like an open wound. Vulnerable. Easy to hurt.
Nothing like brave or strong.
The only strength I can muster at all this year is the strength to carry on as the days are so incredibly trying.
Having 5 different autoimmune diagnosis and several other health diagnosis means that every part of my body is always hurting or causing terrible complications. Always under attack. I don’t like it all. And the years are slowing flying by.
About the only thing I have made any improvement on is the way in which I see myself and treasure my little family.
They are my entire world. I don’t know any other world anymore.
I know that there is a lot of encouragement from the healthy world to ‘to always think of others’. It is a message that comes from the chronic world too.
While that is generally good advice for people at large I find myself having to focus very carefully and intently on getting through each day and trying to contribute my love and assistance to my little home. The home that protects me and shelters me.
This takes everything I have.
I think there is this perception that the chronically ill are so strong that they don’t need help or consideration because they survived yesterday, and all the pain that goes with it, and perhaps others see this and think that it must be easy… but as I sit here in my own particular circumstances I am compelled to disagree. It isn’t easy. Far from it.
It takes more than mere inner strength to keep going. I am not made of stone and didn’t become superhuman when my health shut down. In my case it is quite the opposite.
Although I try very hard not to, I have had to rely quite heavily on the emotional strength of my husband. He has become the superhuman and the rock. He is my grounding when the pain feels too much. And that is daily.
As guilty as I feel sometimes about leaning on him for strength and inspiration, it has been a real awakening for me to acknowledge that I need help as I was always the giver of help and strength.
I am physically not strong anymore. I am emotionally showing cracks under the stress. But I keep plodding along, minute by minute, because I feel grateful and loved, something that only grows day after day.
This little furry family and my husband is my entire world. My world is so much smaller now. What matters is so much smaller now. But I like to think that my heart is somehow growing much bigger. And perhaps that has to be enough for now.