Editor’s note: Each year in May, in honor of Awareness Day, Clarissa Shepherd shares a special message of inspiration and encouragement with the ProHealth family. Thank you, Clarissa!
As we walk this journey of Fibromyalgia, Lyme, or ME/CFS – day after day – year after year – the trip can become enormous.
What do we do to sustain or withstand it all?
That’s the burning question, isn’t it?
As one who’s been to the darkness – been bed bound for years – lost family and friends – felt the loss of a career and a life once lived – all due to getting ill, the answer still eludes me.
We can find our way to some type of acceptance while living with chronic illness, yet while in this place, feel stuck in a endless loop. After all, we’re still human so we still have wants, needs, and dreams.
There are times we may feel, we no longer want to dream – we no longer want for anything, other than to be well. We may feel as if life has passed us by or has gone from our sight of vision. These are all typical emotions for anyone who has been in this place for so long.
It’s not about anxiety, panic, or depression. It’s about the length of time we’ve endured. It’s about being so worn of illness that we simply want to lay down and not get up. We’re truly just sick and tired of being sick and tired.
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I don’t say this to discourage; quite the opposite.
Not everyone could endure – not everyone could find new ways to invent themselves. We become creative in ways to accomplish what must get done, in order to survive. We find new talents we didn’t realize we possessed. We become a type of magician in the way we learn how to accomplish things in a unique way, unknown to most people. In all of this, I – just like you – get down and feel like giving in and giving up.
Those of us who’ve found this particular type of strength, due to illness, learn to rise again another day. It’s a mighty type of strength, born out of years of adversity, disappointment, sorrow, loneliness, isolation, and struggle. I find this an amazing example of your being – a mighty warrior.
I’m not sure how we do this. It has to be a special type of strength that we possess – even in our weakness. Wherever it comes from, know it’s made you who you are today. You’re stronger than you realize, otherwise, you’d not have survived.
Equally we live with such a huge load of grief, guilt, and loss. Even in this state of mind, we still get up, still move forward – even when something inside screams for us to give in. Even when we feel we’ve given up all hope, this might that we surly possess, moves us. Letting out the grief, isn’t weakness. It too requires enormous courage. When grief comes up, release and let go, otherwise, it only returns another day with reinforcements.
So we walk hand in hand, learning as we go, walking a path less taken – given the choice we wouldn’t be on at all. Still, this is our life and this is where we are – not who we are, at all. For we are mightier than we can comprehend within our own minds – mightier than the darkness, which is chronic illness – mightier than the hopelessness and despair that sometimes consumes us.
In those times when doubt and fear grip you, know you’re fierce, unbroken, and a force of nature. When you feel as if you may crumble into a million pieces, take hold of the might and strength that surrounds you, holds you, binds you, and is truly who you are.
Clarissa Shepherd is founder of the uplifting Fellow Travelers: Support and Chat (ME/CFS/FM) online Facebook support group and author of the book of natural healing: Find Your Way: A Guide to Healing While Living With Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. (Europe book link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Find-Your-Way-Clarissa-Shepherd/dp/1439244928/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337393118&sr=1-1)