Saturday, January 10, 2015

In the Illness Trenches

This is not a post to make you feel sorry for me. This is not a post to make you feel guilty if you are healthy.

That being said, let's go....

Being in the trenches of trials and suffering through a chronic illness is often very lonely.

Very. very.




Somedays it feels like you're climbing a mountain. Daily.

Taking supplements and vitamins. Researching the latest health trends. Researching treatments. Seeing doctors and specialists. Being tested until you're blue in the face. Emailing your doctors so much that you're certain they're convinced you're a bit crazy.

Overwhelmed by articles shared and friends doing their best to share ideas they've heard of with you. It can often hit like a ton of bricks to get yet another suggestion on something to take, to do, or to consider when you've either already heard of it or can't possibly try one.more.thing.

Too much is sometimes too much when you are simply trying to survive. 

Everyone has good intentions, of course. But sometimes we just want to be still. Be quiet. And not have to be faced with the reality of our illness every single moment of every single day.

It's exhausting and draining.

It's a tough road.

All this suffering. In pain. And other random symptoms that are so ridiculous you're not always sure it's part of your illness or just a part of life and you got all the bad luck.

You ask your doctors a million questions. And feel like they're tired of trying to help you. {Even when you feel you have the absolute best primary doctor and chiropractors in the world, like I do.}

You are doing things you never wanted to or ever dreamed of doing. Forcing your loved ones to care for you in ways you could have never imagined. And would never wish on them. It brings tears to your eyes sometimes to think of it.

We desperately long for community, and sometimes all we can do is get online and reach out or seek those who are like us. It's a saving grace for those who are homebound. It's an outlet when there's nothing else.

But real life. Knowing people in person who struggle with chronic illness can be a really big deal and a huge way to deal with it all. Connect with those, whenever and however you can.

I must confess. For me, it continues to be a battle to be close friends with people who are truly healthy in basically every way. I battle jealousy and frustration because I wish I was them. There's a barrier in our relationship that we wish wasn't there. We want to understand and we know they want to understand us, but there will always be a difference in our realities.

One cannot truly understand until they've been there.

It's simply true.

As much as I love those in my life who are healthy, my dearest, closest friends are those who have also struggled. Who can fully share in my joys and fears, my trials and victories, my pain and suffering, my love and zest for life despite it all, and especially those who share my love of Jesus.

I do not want you to feel guilty if you don't have these issues. Truly. It's okay. I just have to be real with those who come here with illnesses. To encourage and remind them that as they battle these feelings too, they aren't the only ones.

For me though, another saving grace is that most of the time, my husband is the one who makes me stay sane with this battle. Though he cannot comprehend what I'm dealing with daily, he lives it alongside of me day in and day out, so he sees and understands better than most.

I know that Fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses are really misunderstood. Some people still believe Fibromyalgia is more in the head than anything else. I wish I could convince anyone reading this that it's not. That concept is still baffling to me. It's an illness. It's so hard. And people thinking it's "made up" just hurts the whole of the Fibromyalgia community.

Today I've had a burst of energy and have gotten a ton of things done around our house. It's a great feeling.

But I've also been fighting a ton of pain today as I've been doing all of that. I hurt everywhere. It just never goes away. So even when I can function well, I'm never ever going to be normal again.

There are days I can do more. There are days I can only rest and want to scream as pain tears through every ounce of my body.

The majority of people cannot possibly understand that. Though they can have sympathy, pray for me, and surround me during desperate times of need... they can't wrap their heads around what my life is fully like. Not that I expect them to.

I just mean that I think those of us dealing with chronic illnesses need people close in our lives who truly understand and can relate on a more intimate level. 

For those of you who are in the trenches with illness, you also need to know that 


You will face dark, hard days. It's going to be okay. 

You will struggle indefinitely, perhaps your entire life. Take it one day at a time. 

You will wish it would end, you will beg God to take it away. Cry out to him in pain and trust him to handle it for you, and pray for his strength.

You will face deep loneliness. You are not alone. Reach out and share your story with others. Let people in. Talk about what fears and struggles you face. Don't give up, there is always hope!

I promise in the end, everything will truly be okay. God will make it right. For now he just asks us to obey and to trust him.

It's a sinful, messy, hard world out there. Everyone has something hard in their lives, and this is what God has allowed for us. It may not make sense most days and you will wish you were healthier, but try to think positively and focus on what ways you've grown through your illness.

In the trenches, alongside you.

Hang in there and remember that God loves you, no matter what.


Rosemary Lee said...

You have stated beautifully what we feel every single day. I will be reading it over and over again.

God Bless You.

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

I cannot imagine facing chronic illness and/or pain. I'm thankful for that, of course! But I'm also thankful for honest friends like you who tell it like it is - to encourage those facing it and to help those of us who don't better understand you. Praying tonight that your energy continues but you get a reprieve from the pain!