Do you find that living with flaring symptoms from a chronic health condition feels like riding a roller coaster? I do and listening to clients, I know I’m not alone. I find it helps them when I remind them that things change and even if today or this month is bad, it’s not a static state. Sometimes the changes are within days, sometimes years. Changes can be subtle and other times, huge. When I’m in a particularly bad phase with health, it’s easy to forget this and fall into the trap of thinking “I’m always sick”. What a downer and worse, it gets in my way.
Last Fall, after weeks of intermittent pain and festering urinary tract infections that left me weak, Thanksgiving Day was a blur. I was lucky I wasn’t hosting it and only had to show up at my sister’s. I could do that. Good news, yes?
By the next day, the antibiotics kicked in and my bladder worked better, the fever and weakness were gone, and the pain receded. By Saturday, my usual health and energy level returned. Was I disappointed that I felt so lousy on Thanksgiving Day with family? Yes. But I was glad I didn’t go into the pit place of negative thinking, which would have made it all so much harder.
Funny thing is that until writing this post, I’d forgotten how sick I felt last Fall.
Then last week, I got a very bad cold while on a lovely vacation in the sun. I felt horrible and although I could tell myself that viruses get better (unlike my chronic illness symptoms that never completely go away), I was angry this happened. Isn’t it enough? Shouldn’t I get a free pass and not get a cold? I’m sure that I’ll remember that vacation in Jamaica by how the cold spoiled things and feel just a little sorry for myself.
What do I notice? I’m more frustrated by the ‘normal’ illnesses and have more acceptance when I feel sick with chronic illness symptoms. And I hate feeling sorry for myself. I think there’s a lesson here but I’m not sure what it is. Ideas?