Take a Heroic Rest

posted in: chronic illness | 2

Day 3 – An unscheduled post – a rest

 

Tranquil Waters #1 © 2012 Jane Waterman
Tranquil Waters #1 © 2012 Jane Waterman

I knew that daily blogging would be a challenge, but alas, not for the reasons I thought it would be. I thought finding words to write would be the challenge. That it wasn’t, surprises me, although it shouldn’t as I’ve been writing for 32 years.

The real challenge for one attempting to write about health is, shockingly, one’s health! It’s about where you are, and also about respecting the difficulties of where you are.

I began the month with a handicap. I started thyroid medication on Day 1. I also came down with a major flare that day. I believe that there are no coincidences where one’s health is concerned, and have sent a note to my naturopath.

I also had my post for Day 3 ready about a day and a half ago: a little treatise about talking, or more correctly, not talking to doctors, but something about it wasn’t right. I still don’t know exactly what wasn’t right. It was truthful and encompassed the enormity of my journey with doctors from 1990. It was at times funny, but mostly, depressing. The hardest part of my journey has been interacting with doctors.

Aye, there’s the rub. I think writing this piece took a lot out of me and made me feel vulnerable in so many ways. While I want to share my experiences, including the difficult ones, I need also to respect this present exhaustion that leaves me bedridden for most of the day. I need to recognize that I can’t transform 24 years of pain overnight.

I will, but not today, and probably not this week, month or year.

Astonishingly, shockingly, I realize that while undertaking this challenge, I’m sick. My wife offered to take me away for 3 days this afternoon, and I cried – no simple task for a long-suffering stoic (from a most honourable line of stoics). I realized that I am fighting the rest, the not-doing and even the not-being of a sick person.

There is so much to do, so much to catch up on and so much to share. And that doesn’t even include my part-time job, with its list of demands of things to be done, and the security of earning income to pay the bills, much less contemplate a few days away. Incidentally, I realized that I’m not well enough to go away. While I love my incredible good fortune at having a partner and wife who cares more about my well-being than I do, I realize that one can’t underestimate the value of one’s well-loved pillows and bed when sick!

I realize also, although with some disappointment, that my unshared post is not wasted. It will, no doubt, give me fodder for a future post. However, its present gift is the following insight.

When you are sick, it’s more important than ever to respect where you are. We can’t always be superheroes, putting our most intimate selves on the line and living with the dilemma of being voluble and real, or being quiet and authentic. Choosing to protect oneself, or choosing to rest instead of fight for a day (or three) is not a defeat. It is a victory for self-care and self-compassion.

So, gentle reader, my message today is to listen to yourself – really listen. Know when to stop fighting where you are and when to take a heroic rest.

Blessings,
Jane

2 Responses

  1. Annette McKinnon (@a
    | Reply

    Heroic rest is a great phrase. Maybe I will start a folder of good phrases and keep it there. Then I can sneak it into one of my posts when you have forgotten :) I am glad you are going to do that because I think that sometimes the brain has to cede control to the body.

    It sounds like you have a lot on the go with job, chronic illness, relationships and your art on top of that.

    It shows that you have been writing for 32 years. All the writing I had to do at work consisted of making things easy to read and in a capsule format. It can be summed up by this – Where, when, how much, how long and with a brief phrase to catch their attention and reel them in.

    Hope you feel better soon

    • Jane
      | Reply

      Hehe, you are welcome to use the phrase any time. I'd like us to build words like bravery, courage and heroism into our everyday lives. We owe it to ourselves.

      The real challenge of course, with so much going on, is to learn to step aside, to look at things not so much objectively as compassionately. It's important to see when being driven just results in our running in circles. That's when we need more of those heroic rests! :)

      Thank you – I had never considered myself a writer, partly because my 14 year-old self was very much ridiculed for my scribblings by my family. I think it's difficult for people to see a living in it, so I understand that a lot of that mocking was based in concern. At least, that's how I've made my peace with it. Now, I'm quite happy to bill myself as an author of a blog and a 'real' writer. It takes time to make the transition!

      When I had to quit my career as a scientist, I was very fortunate that a steady technical writing job fell in my lap. I'd like to do more, but I have to realize the beauty of balance. As you say, writing to illuminate procedures and the like requires a totally different skill set than writing to tell a story. I've lost practice in the latter, but I hope to do more as I go. Ultimately, I'd like to think one type of writing informs the other: sometimes dry technical writing needs a little more story telling; and story telling, a little more craft and simplicity.

      Thanks for the good wishes! I felt better this morning, and seemed to slip back again this evening. Hopefully it's just a bug.

      Take care!
      Jane

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