Sometimes in life you get to a point where you start to evaluate the ways you spend your time to figure out where your priorities truly lie. Being chronically ill, I tend to evaluate my life so frequently that it sometimes ends up happening on a daily basis. When every day is a challenge and doing regular “adulting” is just too hard, I have to decide how I should spend my limited energy.
Most average people can make choices (whether they like to admit they have choices or not) about how they’ll spend their time, what they’ll eat, what they’ll do, etc. But when you can’t control your own body and never know if you’ll be able to function, it can be nearly impossible to plan for anything.
Right now, I’m in a season where I don’t make plans. Aside from trying to maintain as normal of a work schedule as possible, whenever I speak with someone about tentative plans, the plans are always met with the caveat that I may not be able to fulfill the obligation. For me, in this season of life, that’s okay. I’m learning to be all right with the fact that I can’t predict how my days will look.
Even though I can’t plan and schedule my life right now, something that seems to fit into this unknown territory is my love for writing. Even if it’s only a few words per day, putting pen to paper in my journal or typing out a few sentences in Evernote releases something in me. It’s something good.
When I pour out through writing, I come alive. I start to become the truest version of myself.
Processing through words on a page is what I crave. It’s what I believe I was created to do.
I often think about “calling” and what it means to walk out in faith to do the things that God has prepared for me. Sometimes the call of God is clear, but other times I wonder if I heard Him right.
(The first time I posted this, it was shared on Medium.com, but I wanted to be sure to get it up on the blog as well.)
It’s easy to be a person on the outside, making assumptions. I get it. I’ve been there and am still there to some extent. We see what’s in front of us and formulate our beliefs based on our observations. It makes logical sense.However, when we judge the surface without understanding what’s going on inside, we fail to grasp the full picture.
EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I have other people make observations about how I look and then formulate opinions about how I must feel.
They then go on to tell me how I must be feeling based on my appearance. Some days, they are correct, but a majority of the time my outer shell doesn’t begin to express the pain beneath it.
Because I truly believe that most people are well-meaning, I try to brush it off. But, it’s not that simple. The neurological symptoms of Lyme have left me with crippling anxiety and depression. I get so anxious about what other people will think that I sometimes lie to myself and to them; I tell them I’m feeling well because those are the words they already put in my mouth. I submit to their opinions because I don’t want to be judged for still being sick.
This eats me up inside as I face other guilt because as a person of faith, I believe in honesty. I don’t want to pretend, but it feels like those around me want to put me into a box — a box I cannot seem to escape.
I think of you a lot. Often times I’ll catch myself reminiscing about the fun times we’ve had together. We may have been travel buddies, study partners, or teammates. We may have had regular coffee dates throughout college where we’d try to squeeze in a little homework or Bible reading but would end up spending most of the time talking and laughing.
You may be someone I could turn to when depression would get bad and I needed to hang out with someone who was lighthearted.
Because you’re my friend, I appreciate you. No matter what point of life we walked through together, I treasure your friendship and the times we shared.
I’m really glad you’re reading this. Thank you for taking an interest in your friend and being willing to learn more about the crippling effects of chronic illness on their life.
There’s so much your friend wants you to know but probably won’t tell you. It could be because it’s awkward. How do you tell someone that you experience extreme pain every day, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional, and not seem like you’re just complaining or wanting attention.
Being chronically ill, I have experienced many years of being unable to explain myself. For most of that time, I had no idea what was going on. And, honestly, the pre-diagnosis years of suffering were full of unexplainable highs and lows that left me blaming myself. I thought that I must have been doing something wrong to feel the way I did.
Once my condition became bad enough that I realized a better sleep schedule, some exercise, and a healthy diet wouldn’t fix it, I had to start digging to get to the bottom of what had been causing such grief. Finding out I had chronic Lyme Disease and co-infections was actually a blessing because then I could begin a treatment regimen. It also gave me an explanation to share with others, because previously I had just thought I was crazy.
I’m propped up in bed with a heating pad on my back and my Bible and journal sitting to my left. Multiple blankets cover the lower half of my body and my laptop sits atop them as I type.
I wasn’t planning to write on the blog today. I opened my journal to begin pouring out some thoughts, but after some prayer and scripture reading I felt like I needed to get this into a blog post. So, here I am. Raw and real.
Being Thanksgiving and all, I know that I should be reflecting on what I’m thankful for right now. So, I’m thinking through some things – a lot of things.