I spent the past week thinking about something positive in my life that I could write about. And there were quite a few things in my notebook: I am doing well in my efforts to become a legitimate archer, I am “flying” at work, I feel good when people come for advice to me (especially if it is family or friends, and when you can see that your advice has helped them), and I installed some hardware I have been meaning to do so for a while (security camera, car radio system, stuff like that). I know, I know. Is that all? Don’t forget that a chronic illness, an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis, does take a toll, and the simplest things become an endeavour.
That however all came tumbling down today, when I woke up feeling extremely weak. As a result I called in sick at work, “wasting” another one of my 15 days per year that I can take leave (I am an independent contractor, therefore no sick leave and all).
This is not the first time I had felt (physically) out of it over the past two weeks. I had once again taken some time off on 24 March when a dust storm rendered me unable to focus on even the simplest of tasks. But that was for a couple of hours. And then there was last Saturday when a lapse in judgment led to me ordering pizza for lunch, the result of which was to spend the rest of the day being lethargic (I woke up on my couch on Sunday morning, without having achieved anything for almost 20 hours).
The frequency with which I had been in such a position did also affect me psychologically. If not also compounding my condition physically, in ways I have yet to identify.
Over the past few years I have come to learn, but not yet managed to totally control, that my physical condition also affects my emotional state. If I am feeling good and productive, you could say I am being cheeky. If, however, I am not, then it all comes undone, I begin doubting everything, feeling lonely, feeling depressed, easily irritated, being emotional – you name an annoying habit or response, I’ve been there.
Loneliness is one of the main manifestations of this physical condition. I know I have a family that will stand by me no matter what and help in any way they can, friends that will understand me and support me. So I really should not feel alone.
But I do.
It’s not a matter of having your friends or family there. It’s all about finding someone that will choose to be their regardless of your condition, that will sit there with you and perhaps even do nothing but make you feel like you are the most important person to them, that will decide to share their lives with you and only you, do things exclusively with you, show you – for extended periods of time if need be – that you are special at least to them.
Because, let’s face it, your friends and family have lives of their own – and you feel that they are simply accommodating you in their lives. And while a relationship should not be a goal in itself, the satisfaction of being recognized for your work, your thoughts, your assistance, can only go so far.
I know that what I am looking for is not easy. I know that most would get tired of it in almost no time. Just like I also know that this insecurity that comes out is not exactly the manliest of traits.
That is of no help however. I continue to feel depressed, borderline feeling sorry for myself and question every decision I have taken in the past or might take in the future. Every relationship I have had or could have had. I begin to wonder if I am worthy of love, of having someone special. Fear that everything I do and say reflects badly on me and somehow makes me all the less attractive.
And I am certain it does. (I have mucked things up in the relatively recent past because of this).
So I try to suppress those feelings. And although it is often hard (because how do you suppress the feeling that your life does not fit with pop-culture’s perfect ideal), I continue to function. And I take solace in that I am doing my best. Being productive one way or another. Being of some importance to someone.
And that brings some happiness to my life, which let’s face it all of us are entitled to. Even if my life is not perfect.