Saturday, November 24, 2018

A New Respect

In the past I've assumed an absurd amount of culpability for my sickness. Perhaps it started when I was told by doctors that there was nothing wrong with me, as far as my blood was concerned. So I needed to look elsewhere for the source of my extreme muscular pain and unrelenting fatigue. Symptoms so ridiculous, they rendered me unable to work.

Fast forward a decade. I'd changed my diet, was juicing vegetables, and started lifting weights. It was easy to assume the changes I'd made were responsible for the management of my illness. I was even healthy enough to get a part-time job. Then I got the flu and all that progress went away. Watching my life slip out of my hands, the life I'd so painfully fought to rebuild, was an undeniably catastrophic experience. 

After three years of hibernation, I'm starting to exist in the world again. Funny thing is, I have no clue what to attribute my upswing to. I'm eating like crap. I'm drinking way too much bourbon. And while I'm finally physically capable of doing so, of course I'm not exercising nearly enough. The only thing I am doing with a modicum of consistency is drinking fresh vegetable juice, yet even that effort is frequently half-assed. And while my general "health" isn't nearly as good as it was when I was lifting and eating quinoa every day, I feel better than I have in years. My energy is good, insomnia somewhat managed, pain present but not excruciating. And the mental psychosis this illness paralyzes me in is simply nonexistent.

What else can I do but surmise this son of a bitch, whatever it is, is an honest to goodness real disease? Can I finally let myself off the hook for even getting sick in the first place? I tried everything under the sun to get myself managed. Then I burnt out on all things healthy. These days, it's all I can do to take my daily dose of vitamins without gagging as I wash 'em down with Taco Bell. Yet now is when I start feeling better. Like loads better.

So I guess fibromyalgia has, thirteen years in, finally earned my respect. Based on what this last relapse taught me, whether I'm sick or healthy is ultimately out of my control. Something inside of me gets triggered. I can bitch and moan and whine and cry and throw a pity-party tantrum all I want, but it won't change a thing. I can eat vegan or paleo or keto or gluten-free to my heart's content, but diet is only a fraction of what it takes for me to get control of this illness.

This latest experience has shook me. Challenged everything I thought I knew about both my body and this disease. Everything I built my philosophy on about how to succeed while living with chronic illness has been flipped. Because what the last few years taught me is once that switch gets flipped, it takes time and a whole lot of self-care to get this thing settled down.

Thanks for joining,

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