I’ve never considered myself to be a dishonest person. I’ve never told lies, and I don’t make a habit of it. When you look at the concept of honesty really closely, you’ll see that for most people, it means not being dishonest with other people. You don’t want to upset or disappoint someone else, you want to cover up for the fact that you don’t want to do something, you make over-elaborate excuses. Everyone does it and society, unfortunately, is full of it.
But have you ever stopped and thought about how honest you’re being with yourself? As ‘woo-woo’ as it sounds, this was one of the hardest things for me to deal with and it still challenges me every day. Having said that, getting honest with yourself in CFS is one of the most liberating stages on your journey.
I’ve always been incredibly independent, fiercely and stubbornly so, so having to move back in with my parents when I was 18 after my diagnosis was beyond all comprehension at the time. It was embarrassing, irritating and made me feel so small and defeated. My parents are two of the most wonderful people in the world, but taking this huge step was such a blow for me. Being reliant on them was even worse.
When I felt strong enough to go out, or even just go to the supermarket with my parents, I saw it as a huge achievement. I’d made it, there was no going back. I’d get stronger every day and then I’d be back to normal…until I woke up the morning realising that all my energy had been zapped in that one afternoon, leaving me with an empty tank once more. I know you know what I’m talking about- you want to use the slightest amount of energy when you’ve got it, not build up your reserves and take your time. Here is where I had to get really honest with myself. I had to pace it. I had to reserve my energy and work with it. I had to have faith.
This was a very long process. I’ve lost count of the number of times I said I was feeling fine to do something, when in fact I knew I was going to regret it the next day. My body begged me not to bother this time, but just to wait a day or two.
Here’s the thing. You have to honour yourself and be honest with yourself, especially in the early stages of recovery. You owe it to yourself and your life. If you know that saying ‘yes’ to the girly shopping trip (hours of walking and waiting around, chatting, trying on clothes) will leave you feel wiped out the next day, ask yourself if you should really do it. This doesn’t mean abandoning meeting people all together. Maybe you could meet for a lovely green juice in a cafe in the morning, and then let them get on with it. It’s heartbreaking, I know, but even more heartbreaking is the ultimate realisation that you are not looking after or honouring the most important being in your life. You.
There’ll never be another one. You. Are. Essential. You. Are. Divine.
I still struggle with this today, and have made many mistakes by letting my ego get the better of me. I’ve taken full-time jobs when I knew deep down that I wouldn’t be able to handle it and would barely be able to manage part-time. I’ve come home exhausted and barely able to speak, knowing that I should’ve listened to the warning signs and not gone to meet people after work. These actions were usually generated by what other people might/might not think of me if I did/didn’t do something. Dishonesty is a form of fear, and man, was I frightened. Just remember, the people that matter will only care about you and want what’s best for you.
You have to be honest with yourself so you can be honest with others.
I’m still working on this, and it’s hard and humiliating, but ultimately humbling. You need to prioritise yourself. I used to be terrible at this, but I’m getting a little better, day by day.
Love your vulnerability. Love being true to yourself. Let everything else fall away.
Love and sincerity,