I usually write my blogs when I’m feeling in a positive place, because I think that’s when I can send out positive messages and be most helpful. But this time I’m doing it a bit differently as I’m writing this at a time when I’m frankly feeling crappy. I’m in bed, physically and mentally tired and pretty emotional. I’m not writing that for sympathy, but I thought maybe it would be just as useful to both myself and people reading this, to show that I’m not always this positive person now who’s got life cracked and has all the answers! Because I don’t.
I’m just back from a mostly lovely week staying in Jersey with one of my best friends. It involved tackling Gatwick airport, which I knew my legs wouldn’t get me through, so I (deep breath!) used a wheelchair. Ok that was a big one to say publicly! I’d been very anxious the morning of the day we were leaving so I visualised the kids racing me around the airport and my smiling face when I arrived the other end to see my wonderful friend. And that really helped.
Most of the trip was fantastic. I loved catching up with my friend and her family, and I did far more than I thought I’d cope with physically. But it caught up with me towards the end (post-exertional malaise, often one of the main symptoms of CFS) not helped by what in hindsight I know was a crazy decision time-wise to wean off one of my meds (I should add it was with my doctor’s advice). Cue me now knowing what withdrawal symptoms are like! Let’s just say- not good. And not realising that’s what it was made it all really scary. So I completely panicked and really struggled to get myself back to a better place.
So I’m back on the meds for now (again with my doctor’s advice) and will wait until I’m stronger and do it much more slowly next time. But it’s left me exhausted and not where I wanted to be, given how well I was improving.
But what I want to say is that it’s fine. It’s fine to feel crappy. It’s fine to struggle and not have all the answers. It’s fine to question and doubt yourself and your ability to keep going and finding the strength to persevere when life’s tough. It’s completely human to have times where you just have to fall apart for a while. In fact letting yourself fall apart when you need to can be far more helpful than trying to keep going and forcing yourself to feel better.
So today I’m giving myself permission to feel my crappy feelings, to rage against the unfairness of it all, to feel disappointed that I’d been doing so well and frustrated to feel like I’ve gone backwards. Because it’s only by acknowledging those feelings and letting myself go through them that I can deal with them and move through them. And come out the other side feeling stronger again. Because what I have definitely learnt by now is that I do come through the other side.
So once I’ve let myself go through the crappy feelings, I’m more ready to look at doing something more more constructive. And doing things like writing this is what helps that process. Getting it all down on paper (or blog) really does help. I’ve also booked in a chat with one of the coaches at CFS Health, one of the Chronic Fatigue recovery clinics I work with, I’m watching inspirational videos and reaching out for practical help and a bit of good old mum TLC. Because I also know that whilst it’s up to us to be our own coach and cheerleader, we don’t have to do it alone. But we do have to take responsibility for doing something about it – and learn the lesson from what we did, or didn’t do.
So a bit of a different post today – but I hope it’s helpful to see that we can all feel vulnerable and have bad days. I’m down, but I’m not out! And when I rise back up I’ll feel even stronger because I’ll know I survived, just like we do every time life gets tough.
So go easy on yourself, don’t give yourself a hard time if you’re struggling. You don’t learn when life’s easy! It’s the tough times that help you grow.