[this is a post regarding my life living with ME/CFS – to see more posts regarding this topic, click.]
“I need to know what is causing it! And why it’s worse again!!”
Consoling my close friend, who has sadly just been diagnosed with ME/CFS after several years of ill health, was more difficult than I thought. I watched her grapple with her new limitations after previously living an athletic and energetic life; I watched with concern as she sat so subdued in social settings…vastly different from the vivacious and outgoing person I knew; I watched her as she adjusted her diet to perhaps the healthiest sort that could possibly exist, cut back on her activities and rested extensively, and yet saw no improvements to her health. And I had so few answers for her.
“Why??” She complained, and then stormed off to eat the cake and chocolate she had so long been depriving herself of, as not eating it didn’t seem to make any difference anyway.
And as I watched her emotional upheaval, I started pondering the idea of acceptance.
How with situations such as chronic illness that are so far out of your control, you simply have to get to a point of accepting that you won’t find answers, accepting that this is how it is for now, accepting that you really don’t know what the future holds, and then choosing to make the most of what you’ve got.
I confess, I suddenly felt a little proud. I’d accepted it. I’d dealt. This was my bitter pill to swallow (sometimes literally…you should smell some of the supplements I’ve tried!). My mountain to climb. And here I was, staying well on top of my uni work, taking loads of rest breaks, sticking to my dietary restrictions, being ‘mindful’, balancing my social life – I was in a good place. A great place. Plus, things were looking up – was feeling the best I had in months; surely, this was just the beginning.
Cos I’d accepted. Hooray, I’d figured life out. On the up and up.
And then came an outbreak of hives (what the hell?? didn’t even know what they were before). And a particularly bad reaction to some new treatment. And a significant relapse.
And bam. I realised, acceptance is a journey. A process. You don’t arrive. It’s continual.
Cos honestly, right now as I’m spending yet another evening in bed with aching legs and an aching head and a truckload of unfinished uni work that my brain refuses to focus on and a jumble of illness-induced stress and anxiety, I don’t want to accept this.
I’m not where I want to be. Literally.
But I’ll remember that good place I found. Take a breath. Take that step. Grab the hand of my friend and together…we’ll find our peace in this.
CFS/ME readers, what have you found has helped to bring you peace/acceptance on your journeys?