Even though I’m now in the best health of my life (I’m not saying this to boast, I just always find myself in awe that it could ever be like this), I would like to share some things that I still carry with me from CFS. I like to call these my ‘battle scars’. Even though they don’t affect my day-to-day life, I do find myself sometimes wondering why I’m reacting a certain way in a given situation, and normally my reactions or feelings can be traced right back to being ill. I’ve worked hard to not give these emotions any power or attach a story to them, but I’m only human- they sometimes come back to bite me (hard).
Even though the fatigue and weariness have evaporated, these scars still gently remind me of what was, which can be both an aggravating and liberating experience.
Some of the stories I carry from CFS include:
1) I’m tired
As you know yourself, there’s tired and there’s tired. I spent so long hanging on to my sick person identity that when I was fully recovered, I justified not wanting to do something with being ‘too tired’ to do it. There were two sides to this- firstly, I wanted to preserve my energy and didn’t want to get sick again, so I’d bring this up, even when I was feeling great. Secondly, I used it as an excuse to get out of doing something I really didn’t want to do- I just didn’t have the guts to be honest and say that I wasn’t really feeling it.
2) I can’t do it
when doing anything that required physical effort, I had to force myself to be quite blunt with people about whether I could walk or move for long periods. This however spilled over majorly into other areas of my life. Although I’m very aware of it now, this is the reason I didn’t do yoga for so long- I told my body point blank that there was no way it could do it (as if it was separate from me).
The major problem beyond the physical side of ‘I can’t do it’ is the major thing I’m tackling at the moment, namely giving up before I even think about doing something. This is why it took me so long to put my e-book together and get it out- it had actually been sitting on my desktop for about a year. This is why, even though my incredible husband encourages me all the time, I still feel resistant to do many blog-related things, because I’ve pretty much convinced myself there’s no point even trying, exactly the way I did during my recovery. This links nicely into story number 3.
3) I can’t be bothered
I can’t be bothered can often be a trap.
Normally I actually can be bothered, but I’m frightened to try in case: (a) I get knocked back when I really, really want to do something (read my story to find out why) or (b) see story 1 #viciouscycle
4) Needing to feel safe and for activities to be predictable
In a nutshell, I’m in no way as spontaneous as I used to be. Emotionally, I’m relaxed and chilled out, but when it comes to going out for the evening or going on a day trip, there’s a huge part of me that needs to know exactly where we’re going and what we’re going to be doing.
Living in Sydney, with its incredible beaches and harbour, has welcomed me and is helping me day-by-day to trust the value of play and my inner child, but it’s a pretty hard slog. I occasionally catch myself wondering if I’m going to have enough energy to make it through the day, given that I don’t know exactly what we’ll be doing, but I know that this is just my ego wanting to hang on to that teeny, tiny part of me that still carries my ‘sick person’ story.
Ultimately I know that living with a debilitating illness for 10 years affects you even if you don’t consciously realise it- there’s no way that you’ll be exactly the same person as when you started out. Clinging onto our past reality can cause even more anxiety and put stress on our bodies, so accepting our state becomes truly liberating and enhances our wellbeing.
I am not perfect. We often think that when we’re fully recovered, everything in our life will magically snap into place, but my battle scars are still with me, guiding me and trying to keep me small. Every time they do, I give thanks, as they guide me to zone into those uncomfortable parts and allow me to stay humble.
How about you my loves- do you hold any emotions or habits from being ill? I would absolutely love to hear your stories below.
Love, Katie xxx
Click here to read about the phrases stopping you from living your best life.