Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"We're all just hanging by a thread."

All-righty. It's time for some mo' big-picture wordthoughtvomit from yours tru. Topic: chronic conditions.

So. Chronic illness. Diabetes, SAD, gout, EDNOS, chemical dependency, chronic pain, insomnia, generalized anxiety, bipolar II, arthritis, scoliosis, hypertension... Chronic illness touches us all, even the seemingly able-bodied and youthful--even *gasp* MYSELF. So if we're all shouldering this universal burden in one way or another, how do we all manage to "make it work" rather than slump over, defeated?

I've been dealing with shoulder/arm pain for over a year now due to an injury from a Bally Total Fitness hip-hop class (I already know how absurd this is; you don't have to point it out to me). I've done physical therapy, massage therapy and just bought a spinal traction device off of eBay. At a certain point I realized, "I might just have to deal with this for the rest of my life. Sh1t! FML! #ugh"

At the same time, I'm coming to grips with facing my mental health baggage--my tendency toward anxiety and depression. I've accepted that this is how I am. This is me. I'm high-strung. I'm dramatic. At any time I can spiral down to the depths of fear-induced irrationality. Aight. So be it.

The tough thing about chronic illness is that you have no control over it. All you can do is resolve to address it, rather than live in denial and face even worse aggravated consequences down the road (e.g. When Tracy Morgan disregarded his diabetes and nearly lost his sight).

It would easy to be consumed with thoughts of "Why me?" or "Woe is me" or "I hate myself for being the way that I am." Right? To be the victim of your own illness?

Living with a chronic condition is tiring because it requires constant upkeep and maintenance. E.g. to avoid depression I need to eat well, exercise aerobically on a regular basis, take twice-daily Vitamin D supplements, journal, pray, make sure to socialize--there's no break! Tending to chronic illness requires me to constantly being on my A-game because a slip-up means that my illness will take the reins and I'll be in bad shape. And it'll be my fault. Ack, I have to do what for the rest of my life? There's no chance of waking up and magically being absolved of anxiety. It just doesn't work that way.

So I guess what I wanted to do with this post was encourage folks that may be tired of having to deal with their ___[insert disability/"condition"]__. I feel you. It sucks. It's exhausting work.Our bodies and minds betray us at the most inopportune moments.

Just do one thing for me, though, will you? Be really, really, really patient with yourself. Please.

Be as compassionate with yourself as you would with a close family member living with a chronic condition. If you slip-up on your low-glycemic diet or have anorexic thoughts or skip your PT exercises for a day or find yourself despite EVERYTHING still feeling sad and anxious and unable to sleep--just...don't be too hard on yourself, okay? I write this just as much as a reminder to myself as I do to it to you. Just everyone go love themselves. K?


1 comment:

  1. april why are we the same person almost

    not even going to punctuate. that is how much we are the same.

    i didn't know about the shoulder thing. :/
    that really sucks.

    imma try harder, ok?