I Felt Mostly Normal Yesterday, and it Made Me Bitter.
You might find that a curious notion. I did too, so I gave it some thought and figured it out.
For starters, it’s extremely rare for me to feel mostly normal. Most days I feel some or all of the following: fatigue, nausea, stomach aches, anxiety, general malaise, brain fog, a sick, heavy feeling when I eat.
Yesterday, I had none of those. That almost never happens. Additionally, the sun was out, and my daughter and I had a warm, close, glorious afternoon of lunch and fun little errands. Because I didn’t have any of the above symptoms distracting me, I felt completely alive and present in each moment. I drank it up. I swam in it. It was heaven. I loved it.
So, why the bitterness?
I realized how much I’ve missed these past five years.
Yes, there have been laughter, vacations, holidays, family game nights, random bike rides, birthday celebrations, more laugher, and the general good stuff of life.
But, my chronic lyme disease was an unwelcome participant in every one of those happy moments. I can’t even tell you how may times I’ve gutted through something that was supposed to be enjoyable.
Yesterday made me realize that playing hurt has become my norm. Yesterday I realized I’ve forgotten what it’s like to experience live without the haze of illness.
I think this helps me understand why people who are close to me sometimes have a harder time accepting my situation than I do. They know what I’m missing. They know what it’s like to live life outside the cage of chronic illness.
To that I would say don’t feel sorry for me. Yesterday’s bitterness aside, I mostly accept what has happened to me. I accept the reality of my life, and I always remember there are people who carry much greater burdens.
I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on what used to be. Or on what could be. I don’t find either notion helpful.
Instead, I wake up each day determined to just be in it. To accept it for what it is, and to not wish for something different. I do my best to focus my effort and energy on doing the things I need to do to help my body heal. It’s a full time job, and I show up every day.
As I reflect on yesterday, I would say it was 1% bitterness, and 99% joy and gratitude. I said prayers of thanksgiving all afternoon. It just felt so good to feel good, and I savored it.
I knew it wouldn’t last, but I didn’t dwell on that. I drank in the moment. And today, as I sit here not feeling very well, I am not bitter. I am just so glad to have had a good day. That lets me know it’s possible.
I don’t know when the next truly good day will come. Could be tomorrow, could be next month. Could be fall.
But I’m not thinking about that. I am thinking about today. I am going to stand in here with my illness, one day, one moment at a time. Without bitterness, regret or remorse. This is how my life works now, and I’m going to make today as good as it can possibly be.