Here I am, fibro and all…
I tried desperately to work out the snooze function on my alarm as it sounded far too early on Tuesday morning. (Word of advice, if you’re too tired to remember how to hit snooze, it’s too early to wake up). When I finally gave in and opened my eyes, I lay there asking “Why are you trying to keep up with everyone else?”
I made the committment last year to stop comparing my current life to pre-chronic life. For some reason I had it stuck in my head that I needed to get back to my pre-Great Shutdown of 2013 self. It was as though I was convinced that if I could get back to my old self, doing everything I had before I got sick, then it meant the fibro hadn’t won. It would mean I was succesfully managing my illness. Well, that was stupid. Successfully managing my illness doesn’t mean getting back to the old-Elizabeth. That’s not just possible. Succesfully managing my illness means being the best version of the new-Elizabeth that I can be. It means taking care of myself, pacing, resting, things I certaintly never did before I got sick.
Do I need to be at work so early just because everyone else is? No. What I do need is to ensure I get enough sleep each night.
So, while it seems part of me has accepted my new life, there is also a part of me (a part that, as it turns out, is much larger than I had realised) that still needs to be reminded that I can no longer keep up with everyone else. And, more importantly, that I don’t need to.
I was much better at recognising and accepting this fact when I worked in an enviornment where everybody knew about my chronic life. Having started at a new workplace where only a couple of people are aware of my limitations, I seemed to have regressed back. I know I look okay. I know my new work colleagues can’t see my pain, my fatigue, my confusion. Knowing this seems to have made me put the mask back on and pretend that I’m just like everyone else.
Well, today it stops. Today, I’m reminding myself that to successfully manage my chronic life I may not need to take off the mask completely but I do need to do things my way, the way that is best for my body, and if that means revealing a little of my chronic life in the process than so be it.