Probably one of the most difficult concepts to explain to people when you have chronic health issues is that of a ‘rough patch’.
Years ago whenever I had difficult times and challenges I could always take comfort in the old saying “… this too shall pass..” but that doesn’t really have any meaning anymore.
It seems to me that those who have their health and mobility don’t really understand what it is like for chronic sufferers because they will always say to us … ‘get better soon!’ or ‘things will get better, try not to think about it so much!’
The reality is that things don’t always get better. In fact things can often get steadily worse for many of us; myself included. A rough patch isn’t just going to go away for most chronic sufferers and finding people who understand this is quite difficult.
I found that waiting for things to improve only made me feel like a failure when they didn’t! This can spiral quickly into depression if I allow it so I have to be sure to avoid these pit falls if I can.
There are certainly times when things seem a lot harder to cope with (years even) but somehow I had to adjust my expectations and accommodate a new reality before I could find some peace.
This isn’t easy.
My current rough patch has been going on for nearly two years and my pain levels are at an all time high so the ‘… it’s just a rough patch…’ speech isn’t what I need to hear and something I try not to think about.
I am desperately searching for things to focus on and ways to get through this in my quest to accommodate for these new realities.
I believe that I can see why most able bodied people avoid talking to us about our lives and I can even comprehend why they might think my life is boring and/or depressing. Chronic life is certainly a reality that able bodied people rarely comprehend; and it’s not one that many even want to try to comprehend. I no longer expect them to.
It’s always far easier to try and tell someone to cheer up or that it’s just a rough patch. However, when you have chronic health challenges saying that this is a rough patch is the equivalent of saying there is a dry patch of ground in the middle of a desert!
I spoke with my husband about this topic recently and I reminisced about all that had happened to us over the past decades and how we have managed to not only survive these rough patches but even grow as human beings. It seems amazing to us both!
I have often read how there are many different organisms, called extremophiles, which survive in some of the most extreme environments ie deep under the ocean, lava pools, deserts and high altitudes. They not only cling to life but have adapted and flourished. I suggested to my husband that sometimes I feel an immense pride in being able to do what many people would struggle to do and adapt to some of the harshest and difficult challenges in life.
with this perspective in mind I don’t feel inadequate at all, I actually feel incredibly amazed by all those with chronic illnesses (and their partners) and how we have endured some of life’s roughest patches of all!