Dear man in car scowling and shaking your head at me for holding up traffic a little bit while I attended to my son:
I'm sitting here looking at the health care job board, knowing full well I won't be able to work in my present state. It's wishful thinking I suppose. When you are struck ill halfway through your schooling (as well as one month into a marriage), and you never really had a chance to even get your new career going after all of your hard work, it's hard to accept the fact that you may never be able to work again in the capacity you thought you would. Some days I feel better, and get tricked into thinking I can tackle working in a hospital or clinic, helping others. Then, like on days like today, I am bed bound and stuck wondering how hell I can hold down a job when it takes all of my energy to take care of myself. There's no way.
So what do I do? Work for myself here at home? Doing what? Train for a new career? How? These questions plague me every day while my self worth plummets and the disappointment I feel, and that I am sure my family feels, threatens to eat me alive.
I'm unable to contribute financially to the family, leaving my husband with the sole responsibly that I know he does not want. He is also responsible for much of the care of our son (almost 5 years old and active as all get out), something he never bargained on either. Then there is the disappointment my son must feel because mama can't keep up or take him places or even play around the house some days. The guilt from this can be unbearable.
It's not your fault, people say who can half way understand what it's like. You can't control it, you are sick. You are doing the best you can. I know it's true, and some days I can buy that. Some days I can be mindful, have equanimity and feel half way at peace with this. Everybody's got something, right? This is just my “something.“ But my “something” affects those around me, and I see them suffering and that sucks. What possible incentive do they have to stay when I feel incapable of being a decent wife and mother?
I get hard on myself and think surely there must be something I am doing wrong, or there is someway I can fix this. And if not, what is there to learn from it all? Life is not fair? That it's beautiful anyway? That I am worthy of love and belonging no matter what? Yes, that all sounds hunky-dorey. I am working on believing that to my core.
But on days when the pain, dizziness, confusion and malaise threaten to drown me, when I feel acutely aware of the burden I've put on others, and when friends or family disappear from my life because they can't understand and treat you like you are contagious, I can't talk my way into feeling better, and that all is and will be well.
But maybe that's not so bad.
For years I have been stuffing feelings and trying to be strong. Even before I got sick, because I was raised to believe they were “bad.” Suck it up, or shut up. I am incapable of that anymore. For the past year, thanks for therapy and lots of reading on mindfulness and chronic illness, I've been allowing myself to feel sad or angry when I need to. I'll get back to love and Namaste later, right now I need to feel the hurt, the loneliness, the betrayal, the FEAR of it all. I'm getting out of my head (which is a safe place to be, intellectualizing things so you don't feel hurt), and into my body where the raw feelings lay in wait for attention. It's been hard and painful, and oh so necessary. Instead of unexpected reactions shooting out of myself at inappropriate times, I sit in the feelings I'm having, at the time I'm having them, investigate, and allow. Well, I'm working on it anyway.
So, here I am having a very hard day, admitting it to myself and others, and feeling like it's okay. Here I am finally writing it down. Here I am thinking about quitting Facebook because I am tired of the disingenuous, postcard lives we live there. And finally, here i am allowing myself to cry for my many losses. A little.
At the same time, I know that everything is temporary, and tomorrow is another day. That things I never thought I would be able to survive, I have. That I do have people in my life who care about me and are trying just as hard as I am. And most of all, that even when we are walking through a swamp of drying cement with nothing to eat but a shit sandwich, the only way out of difficulty is through it.