Lately, I have no off switch. I have been going full steam ahead, all systems go, full force, maximum velocity—I feel the need, the need for speed—health be damned!
We are renovating a house, I am desperately trying to amass an enthusiastic following for this blog, I am attempting to create a store front for Sleep is my Happy Place which is proving far more difficult than I ever imagined, and I still have the day to day tasks that need done no matter how I am feeling—after all, dishes will still pile up whether I am too tired to get to them or not.
Since we have been living in a construction zone since late March and we have to get the house finished before beginning our adoption journey, I haven’t been taking much time to rest. I feel overwhelming anxiety to get things done.
I have been working up to the day of my flair ups, giving myself a few hours to recover, and then getting back at it.
I know, deep down, how irresponsible this is. I know that at this rate, I am heading toward a mental break down—but that’s why I have decided to take the weekend off!
You heard me, correctly! This weekend I am taking a break from…well, everything. No cooking, no cleaning, no working on the blog or the store or the SIMHAP Facebook group—I’m not even dieting this weekend! I am stepping back from it all!
But then why am I beginning to feel guilty about it?
When I first decided to take the weekend off, I was excited—but ever since the excitement wore off, I am left with the feeling of immense guilt!
If I feel well, I should be putting that energy to good use, right?
Wait a second, though. When a “normal” person feels good, they take time to themselves without feeling guilty about it…
Both normals and spoonies work inside and/or outside the home, both normals and spoonies get tired, both normals and spoonies have kids, jobs, pets, aging parents, and responsibilities that need tended to—yet it is much easier for a normal to take a guilt free break then it is for a spoonie.
Why is that?
I’ll tell you why.
When a spoonie is going through a flair up of whatever disease ails them, they have trouble understanding that what they are doing is working.
You may feel like you’re just lying in the bed watching Netflix or sleeping 12 hours a day—but your mind and body are hard at work trying to fight off the disease that is hard at work trying to attack it.
That is why we call you all chronic illness WARRIORS—because your body is at constant war with itself.
When I have a flair up, which I commonly refer to as episodes, I toss my cookies—like a lot!
The reason I throw up during my episode is because when I begin to experience vertigo, my body is convinced that it has been poisoned so to try to rid itself of the poison and protect me in the process, I am forced to throw up.
My body uses my stomach to engage in a battle with my ears (which is what causes the vertigo in the first place).
Chronic illness is made up of tiny battles which is part of a lifelong war which rages in your body whether you feel it or not. Even on your good days, your body is still fighting this war for you.
We don’t always recognize this about ourselves and the world certainly doesn’t recognize it which is why we experience guilt when taking time for ourselves.
While normals are able to take a day off, we are left obsessing about the fact that we just took three days off—even though it was spent in bed, having no fun at all, while our bodies were fighting a battle we couldn’t see or hear.
We have limited good days, so when they do come around, we find ourselves trying to squeeze in all that needs done so that when our bodies fail us, we won’t feel as guilty about taking the time we need to feel better again.
It is the eternal struggle of a chronic illness warrior—guilt for taking the time to feel human and enjoy or pamper ourselves—guilt for taking the time to heal from a flair up—guilt for not being able to be everything to everyone.
I would be lying if I said this guilt complex is exclusive to the spoonie community.
Normals can feel this way too—especially moms; however, it does seem much more wide spread and prevalent in our worlds than in the worlds of a normal.
It begs the question—what happens if we don’t take time off from ALL of it?
Well then we will never get the taste of what it’s like to be normal. We won’t know the feeling of enjoying our time and the company of others without having this looming regret and guilt hanging over our heads.
We will become cranky and depressed—over tired, over worked, and just plain over it.
Some friends and family have abandoned us because we’re sick–but if we only rest when we are ill—then some friends and family will abandon us because the stress will make us insufferable to be around.
Slow your body down when you feel well so your body will be rested enough to fight the battles when you don’t.
I’m not suggesting your life should be full of nothing but rest, but if we don’t learn to slow down, live guilt free, and enjoy the good days a little, we will never be any good to anyone no matter how we’re feeling.
Whether your idea of resting it going to the park, watching Netflix, rocking out at a concert, or being pampered at a salon, make sure you get your rest in!