Let’s face it. Life with a chronic illness can be hard. Very hard.
The ups and downs of symptoms can be overwhelming.
While the pain and fatigue are difficult to deal with, I usually find that symptoms of depression and anxiety affect me the most.
Over the years of dealing with depression and anxiety, I’ve come to find some useful tools that help me boost my mood when I’m feeling low. These things are not cures (I’m not a doctor and can’t give treatment plans or cures anyway!), but they are resources to help you feel a little better on your journey of treating chronic illness.
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 am convinced that we as a society put too much pressure on ourselves and each other. There are unspoken rules surrounding expectations, with hidden pressures waiting to pounce as soon as your guard is lowered. Sometimes those expectations come from others, but more often I have found that the expectations I place on myself are the ones leaving me discouraged.
I want to have it all together. I want to do well at work and have meaningful relationships with friends and family. Being active in church, exercising, eating well and sleeping enough are also high on my priority list. I want to have a daily quiet time with God, where I get to meet Him and pour out my heart, while listening for His voice. Sometime, I want to get better at this writing thing and actually blog regularly. There’s also a book I’ve been writing, but haven’t made progress in weeks, maybe months.
Striving is where you often find me. Pushing. Tackling. Aiming. Working. Wanting. and. Struggling. With the strive is the struggle. And, honestly, I hate it.
I can’t stand the way I constantly try to fix things – to fix myself. To fix the people I love because I think I’ll be happier that way. It’s pretty selfish, I know.