Do you ever look back over a period of time in your life and think “Man, what a waste…”?
I’m hoping the answer is a resounding “yes!” because if not, this whole post will be for no one but me.
There are times in my life that I have spent every day in bed or sitting on the couch doing not much more than breathing. Some of those times were up to six weeks long and while that seems like an insane amount of time to spend doing nothing, I can say they were necessary as I was healing from one procedure or another for most of them.
A fun little side note about me; I have had, and continue to deal with Clinical Depression as well as Generalized Anxiety Disorder. While most people who have Chronic Pain and Illness also get diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety these two little nuggets of joy belonged to me long before my pain made an appearance.
It runs in the family, on my mother’s side and as such my children deal with anxiety as well. (I know, I’m so sweet to share it with them.) For many, many years I had no real issues with Depression though my anxiety was quit loud for most of that time. Therapy and learning to cope with the triggers of anxiety has brought me a long, long way and it has been years upon years since I have required medication to help with my personal brand of crazy.
Anxiety I am good with, I can see it coming. It’s loud and it makes itself known to me as well as the people around me. Depression is a sneaky bastard though and when he comes around it often takes me a few weeks to figure out it’s him. It starts with my feeling less like going out and more like staying in. (No big deal since I spent the whole week before out doing things, this is just my “chill week.”)
But it grows and before I know it I am no longer doing any of the things I like to do with zero motivation to find something new. I don’t write because I have nothing to say. I don’t get dressed or play with makeup because honestly what’s the point if I’m not leaving my house? Even my very favorite pastime of cooking just goes down the drain and my family eats ramen and Domino’s pizza because I don’t care to cook. Everything just goes out the window and I sit like a lump and do nothing all day for days on end.
Going back to my opening question; do you ever look back at a period of time in your life and think “Man, what a waste…”?
November was a giant waste in my book.
I had all these things I wanted to do; projects around the house, baked goodies I wanted to try out, plans for our annual New Year’s Eve party I needed to work on. But true to my pain’s nature a fatigue episode came through and wiped me out for over 10 days. I have never had one last so long and I have also never felt so suffocated by it.
I always hate giving up those 5 days to the fatigue, but I have learned that the more I fight it the worse it gets and the longer it takes. So when this one came on I was quick to give in to the early bed times, the day time naps and the resignation of house hold duties until I was back to my usual self. Only after 5 days nothing changed. Then 6 days…Then 7 days. The next thing I knew it had been over 10 days of nothing but sleeping. When I wasn’t sleeping all I could do was sit on the couch or in bed and stare. I barely had the brain power to watch TV let alone read or write a blog post.
Of course in that time I also missed my window of painting and decorating the basement before Thanksgiving as well as losing two weeks’ worth of workouts I was so excited to do at the gym. This made it even worse because I became so angry about all the time I wasted being too tired to breathe that I stayed angry for weeks after.
I’m still angry about it.
I just finished making Ginger Snaps for my Dad because it’s his birthday today and my body is so exhausted that I can barely move my fingers to type this. How can this be? It’s 2:00pm and I have 8 hours of day left that my body just doesn’t want to participate in. It’s enough to make me want to just say “Fuck it” and go back to bed.
But that won’t make me happy either. I need to find a way to accept that I lost all those days to the fatigue and then get on with it but I can’t. I’m stuck on it. I hate it so much that I can’t shake it. The therapist in me knows that the sooner I grieve it and move on the better off I’ll be, but I just can’t stop looking at my calendar and staring at all those days that amounted to literally nothing. I accomplished nothing. I did nothing.
I felt like nothing.
That’s the button right there.
The root of the thing that is eating me while I type this. I sit and watch my family bustle about their daily business of work and school and friends and I watch it all from my couch. I feel like shit, I know I look like shit and yet there is nothing I can do about it. I am trapped inside a body that will not let me do what I want to do and I don’t know how to make it okay.
My real life therapist will tell me to “fake it until I make it” which has usually worked for me in the past. I force myself to get up and do things, make dinner or sweep the floor. I make myself go out with a friend even though I really, really don’t want to and slowly but surely the version of me I like comes back around and the time I lost to the fatigue and subsequent depression fades away.
So that’s what I’ll do now. I will see my family tonight, and tomorrow I’ve got dinner plans with a friend who won’t let me cancel (especially after she reads this) and from then on out I’ve got a lot of things popping until after Christmas. I’m hoping sooner than later it will feel like I want to do these things rather than I have to and I honestly don’t even know why I am telling you all any of this. I guess I mostly just want you guys to know that I am really digging my heels in right now trying so hard to not get lost in the suck of it all. If you’ve got a map though I sure could use the directions.