Sometimes, when we're living with a chronic illness, no matter how hard we try to do the right thing, we just flare anyway. Most of us have experienced this to some degree. For example, you might wake up in the morning and feel like a ton of bricks are weighing you down into the mattress and every movement is painful and exhausting. You can't for the life of you remember what you might have done in the days before to warrant such a flare up.
Sometimes there's no avoiding it no matter how well you pace, eat, stretch or pray, but throughout these random and fluctuating conditions we live with, our lives are still scattered with little blessings that carry us along the choppy seas. Small pockets of joy or peace that fill us up and give us the much needed boost forward. Today I'm reflecting on these little blessings - the wind in my sails driving me forward.
Not Registering How Bad It Is
Good morning friends, I've just woken up and it's almost 11.30. I'm stiff and achy, was a little shaky upon waking, but I'm so happy!
As I was filling in my journal last night, I noticed that every day this past week, except my birthday on Friday (Yay!), was marked as a flare day. Every single day. Then I realised I've been wearing the same clothes the whole week too! Waking and sleeping. That grossed me out a bit, but it isn't the first time this has happened and it certainly won't be the last.
Of course I can't even remember what might have caused this week-long flare. I hadn't even realise it had already been so long. It's like my memory resets when I have a good day and I end up being emotionally energised by the good days for quite some time after.
The Wind In My Sails
It's like that good day will stay in my memory and the joy it gave me will just last, like a gust of wind in my sails, pushing me ahead until the next one. Despite actually paying for it physically for some time after.
It doesn't even have to be a good day really, it could be a good meal or a fun chat with a friend or a beautiful comment from somebody I've never even met who connected over something I shared online.
These are all small things to the healthy person, but they are accomplishments worth celebrating if you're chronically ill and housebound.
The good experiences we have daily fill our sails and can carry us forward to the next port. That could be a celebration, a visitor, an outing - any of those beautiful occasions that are rare and exciting, but also potentially difficult exhausting.
The effects of such occasions are often quite positive on us emotionally and are great for out mental health, but can be quite draining or even painful physically, which will mean once again focusing on the small blessings each day brings until we're able to enjoy the celebration at the next port.
The Small Things Are Actually Big Things
So you can see how the small things in life are so important. When you're stuck in bed paying for some semblance of normality you tried to experience, it's those little things that can mean so much: a text or a card in the mail, the sunshine on your face, the sound of birds outside, a delicious meal, a soak in the bath, clean sheets, a quiet neighbourhood, the view from your bedroom window...
We search for the beauty, the joy, the silver lining in every day. We focus on the good. Practice gratitude over every small gift that each day brings and let that feeling fill our sails like a gust of wind until the next one comes.
Life is going to be full of waves and high waters, specially if you're ill, it affects every aspect of your life: physical ability, relationships, finances, confidence, faith, mental health, your independence, etc.
We can focus on the waves and let fear, anger, anxiety and panic set in, or we can focus on the fluffy clouds above, the blue sky, the sunshine, the fresh air, and be grateful for the shelter and protection we have and for every gust of wind that fills your sails, even just a little, pushing us forward and closer to our next port of celebration.
I choose to focus on the small blessings each day brings. It helps to eclipse the uglier bits and propels me forward with joy and hope for tomorrow.
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