Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Being chronically ill at Christmas

One thing that I have been trying to convey through this blog but I don't know how successful I have been is how, for me, pushing myself does not work. I've relearnt that again recently - I've pretty much been wrecked since I got back from Jakarta. More travel and Christmas parties and all the things I want to do have not helped since then.

I was doing some blog reading the other day, and came across a great post by Michelle over at Endohope. While reading it I found myself nodding along - I've heard all statements listed. I've included some the post (with her permission) since I think she explains it so well:

"Pushing myself at this time of year almost always makes me miserable, particularly when when my body is screaming: REST, PLEASE REST. I often find myself teetering on the line of feeling well and spiraling out of control from doing too much... ...Before we were ill we were often taught to push on through difficulty, that as long as we worked hard or kept going everything would be okay. The opposite is true for chronic illness.

I often hear the same platitudes from people at this time of year also. As those who aren’t sick try to persuade me to do more so I feel better. Ideas that actually make things worse. For example:

“When you come out, you’ll start to feel better”
“Have some coffee, then you won’t feel as tired"
“Have a drink and you’ll forget about it"
“Oh you have to come, I’m sure you can find a way”

They are only trying to help, but it’s very difficult to explain that my body doesn’t work like their body. There isn’t a quick solution to the way that my body has betrayed me. The idea of excess is a great metaphor for this. Having a bit too much to drink feels wonderful in the short term, but leads to a longer period of time spent feeling unwell.

Life with a chronic illness means you have to be very measured and extremely careful with how you manage your body. You don’t spring back as easily as someone who is well. A bad decision can lead to us feeling extremely unpleasant for a week or more. I know from experience that pushing myself particularly hard has lead to months of ill-health in the past, a few weeks of excess or over-exertion that led to months of careful untangling and unravelling from the results of pain and fatigue."

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the support Libby, I'm glad that you found my update helpful. :)


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