Winter is a hard lean time for many chronically ill and disabled people, for many environmental, physical, and personal reasons. It’s no longer the depth of winter in this part of the sphere we call home but that doesn’t necessarily mean all of us are magically better.
Boom. I wish.
Season changes can be a difficult time for many of us as well for many different reasons. For some people rapid weather changes can impact their pain levels, cause loss of mobility, aggravate secondary or co-morbid conditions, or cause chronic illness flares when we are already in a weakened and depleted condition, adding days or weeks to our recuperation time.
Even if enviromental changes don’t aggravate our conditions, our recuperation times are often painfully slow, we may be treading water in a limbo of slight relative improvement even by our own personal standards for much longer than we can really bear. Spending days or weeks feeling better, but knowing that sense of “better” is to delicate and new to have any practical function can be exceedingly frustrating.
So here I am in the long weeks of feeling better…but not really better. Since this winter, when I caught a cold that kicked off a domino effect of asthma, pain, and chronic illness flares, I have been a ghost in my own home. Borrowing against future spoons just to function at parental survival level, keeping my kids fully cared for while my partner was at work and only existing in a pain and brain fog stupor when he was home.
so now things are a little better, my pains have faded a bit to tolerable dull moan, plus a constant full body “restless leg” irritability, as well as daily (rather than constant), sharp pains of joints not lining up right or generally not working quite as they should. My fatigue has faded from unable to function at all unless under duress to constantly exhausted, mildly foggy, and grumpy. I am so tired right this second, my shoulders feel resentful that they have to persist in being held higher than my feet. so tired. I am living in pea soup and I know it. I want out.
This is overall a big improvement except the fact that most of my relatively freed resources are just enough for me to have more time and energy to think about my ever growing to do list. The pressure feels monumental to get everything I haven’t been able to do for months, done now. Spring cleaning, entertaining and enriching bored toddlers with cabin fever, homeschool, starting a business with very little in terms of network or resources, trying to make new revenue streams so we can maybe live under a little less pressure, careful budgeting of spoons so that I don’t lengthen my recuperation time out of obstinance, and internalized ableism always lurking behind my right ear with it’s insistent whisper of “not enough” always make this time of year extra frustrating for me.
So here I am reminding myself, and you too if need be
That it is ok.
If all we have to give right now is 20%, 20% is 100%,because that is all we’ve got right now.
That there is never anything wrong with giving what we have to give. There is never anything shameful about not having more to give, *even* if we may have it to give at a later date or in a different environment.
Today we can only offer what we have today
Let’s try and be a little easier on ourselves for not yet having future energy or ability in stock today.
I know it is a process, I won’t be able to change my thinking immediately and that is ok as well, but I’m going to work on it. Learning to forgive myself for not being able to do the impossible is as important as learning to not hold the impossible against other people.
Today is not Tomorrow, and that is ok.
Repeat until we believe it.