Counting my Blessings

Its now the start of the sixth week since leaving full-time work. Some people call it Retirement. I call it semi-retirement, as I hope to, one day, find a part time job, that is rewarding, enjoyable & takes into account my energy reserves & pain levels (which vary from day to day & week to week).<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
And pays me some money (of course)! ;)<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
But many times in the past few weeks, I am feeling very blessed & grateful for the opportunity to take care of myself & take the time to smell the roses.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Its only by reading my old pain/health diary from a few years ago, that I realize how much Ive changed. My mental state back then was just as precarious as my physical health. I was a sad, depressed & unhappy individual. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
I was in such a deep, dark hole that I despaired of ever breaking free & climbing out. Its very easy to become your illness. I know that. I did it. My whole life in recent years (work & outside working hours) was filled & overflowing with the misery of pain, fatigue & other debilitating symptoms.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Every trip to the Dr was filled with a never-ending list of symptoms or worries.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Each GP'S appointment was filled with dread at the potential new Specialist or test that was going to eat up my bank account (or stretch my credit card to its limits. Again!).<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Sure, I worked full time. I earned a salary which was paid into my bank account on the 15<SUP>th</SUP> of each month (only to disappear the next day paying rent, living expenses & medical bills). And it was bloody hard work, both mentally & physically. Life was not easy working full time with chronic pain, fatigue & ill health. And there were certainly many days or weeks when I could not go to work. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Soon after each pay day, I was desperate for the next payday, until it got to the stage where there was no pay day, there was only bill paying day.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
The courage it took to finally accept that I could not mentally or physically do my job & had to resign (with no house, assets or money in the bank) was one of the hardest decisions Ive ever made. Its not just about recognizing your illness. Its also about admitting youre not Wonder Woman.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
In some ways, it was admitting failure. I had failed in keeping up the facade I presented to the world every day. I have failed to be perfect.I had failed to keep up my standards & work ethics. I had failed as a human being.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
But by admitting my shortcomings, recognizing my limits, & placing my standards at a more realistic level, I made the first step in my road to improving my health.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Its bad enough to lie to the world, but its a greater sin to lie to your self.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Im feeling so very glad & very blessed at the present time.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
After the first 10 -14 days which I found very stressful, my new life has brought many discoveries. I can stop trying to be Wonder Woman & start being me, the person I always dreamt of being. Im being true to myself.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Im not lying to myself anymore. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
And as each new day opens, I find joy & happiness in small pleasures again. This happiness must place a visible sign on my forehead, as people around me; doctor, acupuncturist, friend, family, even the hairdresser (when I had my annual haircut last week), have said the same thing.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
I look different. They cant pinpoint it, but I look different. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Perhaps my hairdresser came up with the right description I look calm & at peace. I look happy. I am not free of pain or fatigue, or any other symptom, but I have the time & leisure to deal with these symptoms as they arise in a calm & sensible manner. I make better decisions. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
I walk slowly. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Mindfully.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
I stop if my feet hurt. I lie down if Im tired. I turn the computer off, if my eyes hurt or I start to get a headache.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
I have had tiny packages of good fortune happen several times a week. Something Ive wanted for years has suddenly presented itself in an affordable fashion. Things on my wish list have suddenly been crossed off. An appreciation of the simple pleasures has resurfaced. I am finally getting my life back.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Its not in the same form as before. Its better!<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
I still have bills to pay, rent to pay, house chores to do. The is still the uncertainty of my financial security. But now I have time for me, & more importantly I have time for friends. It will take some time to re-connect with my small circle of friends. Some, I havent seen much in the last few years (if at all), but at least Im not too exhausted to contemplate relationships anymore. Without a car, there will be a couple whose friendship will be difficult to resurrect, as they live so far away & I have no home phone.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
But the important thing is that I look forward to the start of each new day with anticipation. All I ever looked forward to in the past, was the end of the day.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Anything can happen tomorrow. Which person will I be? Who will I see? Where will I go? Will I sleep well? (if I dont sleep well, it doesnt matter as I can sleep in & recharge before facing my day).<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Or will I stay home (which I often do) & potter around in the garden or watch a movie, or turn on the computer or sit in the sun on my balcony. I daresay, in time, as my health improves (did you notice I said as my health improves positive affirmation of a positive outlook), I will want more mental stimulation & activities, but for the time being, I am content to rest & relax & just be. Ive had a few bad days, reminiscent of the past horrors. I daresay there will be bad days in the future. But Ill deal with those as they arise.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Life is all about choices.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
And sometimes its the scariest, most frightening choice of all that takes the most courage I choose happiness & freedom from the shackles of my sad, depressed life which was going nowhere, but downhill.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Little pieces of my soul are being put back together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. One day the puzzle will be complete & I can take pride in my accomplishment & hang it up for the world to see.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
I am no longer my illness.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
I am me. <o:p></o:p>

Comments

Hello Victoria,

Thank for a very uplifting posting. And all so true. You have inspired me today. Thank you.

Pam
Caregiver to John
 
"I am no longer my illness.

I am me. "

Nicely put Vicki. :)

hugs, Lisa
 
I forgot to mention one of the most important pieces of good fortune (well, to me anyway).

As many members will know, Melbourne was hit with the hailstorm of the century, a couple of weeks ago.

Our community garden was severely damaged, but the potted herbs on my balcony were 99% intact after the layer of hail melted.

Even a couple of herbs which were squashed flat, & I thought had keeled over for good, were standing upright & their leaves undamaged the next morning.

A minor miracle considering the state of some of the garden.

How lucky is that?

Yes, I am being truly blessed these days........
 
I am so happy that you have found the freedom to be yourself Victoria, you write so movingly. YAY for having what we need, for peace and time to just be :)
 
In a way, I think this aspect of CFS is the quietest revolution of all. What could be more radical, in this culture, than being ourselves, and not trying to put on a "normal" front?

You put this so well, Vicki, and I'm so glad to hear the unwinding is leading to good things. I agree too that it's a decision of courage to keep looking for the beauty and fun in life - without trying to deny the pain and sorrow and other parts.

And I think the resurrection of your herbs is an excellent sign for you!
 

Blog entry information

Author
Victoria
Views
483
Comments
6
Last update

More entries in User Blogs

More entries from Victoria