What is ‘normal’?
I don’t think I’ve ever been what someone would classify as ‘normal’ but for the most part I’m happy with who I am.
Ever since I was young I haven’t been normal:
- I don’t cope with late nights and I never really did. Even before the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and Fibromyalgia reared their ugly heads in full I couldn’t stay out late without ending up in a lot of pain and struggling for quite a while afterwards.
- I’m allergic to so many things. At school I couldn’t wear half the uniform as I was allergic to the wool it was made from. I can’t eat dairy or gluten without ending up with a major rash. I react to most the medications I’ve tried for pain management.
- I’m a ‘greenie’. I don’t use shampoos, soaps, disposable sanitary items or even toilet paper most the time (more things I’m allergic to). I now make my own laundry liquid, I try to garden (something I’m not that good at yet), and with almost everything I do I’m considering what impact it will have on the environment as well as my health.
The things I’ve listed above are things that I’ve done, or wanted to do, for most of my life. Since getting sick I can add a whole new list of things that are not ‘normal’…
- I’m in pain 24/7. Most nights I hardly sleep due to it (thanks painsomnia).
- My energy levels don’t allow me to do too much in one go. I need to pace myself and only manage a few hours of work a day (that includes writing this blog).
- My social life is even further restricted by what my body allows me to do. I can’t go on long hikes and do many of the activities I participated in before I got sick.
- My life revolves around listening to my body… Something we all should do, but don’t.
Given all the ways I’m not normal, I could be forgiven for getting depressed and blaming the world for what’s wrong with me but I’m not and I don’t.
I’m grateful for everything I’ve been through. All the heartache and pain it causes has helped me to learn to be grateful for what I do have. The illness has helped me realise that I have enough in my life. I might not have everything I want but I have a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear, and friends and family to love and support me.
Without everything I’ve been through I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t have had the courage and the strength to step up and make my voice heard. I would still be working a full time job (in a field that I loved), spending all the money we earned, and pushing myself to keep going at a pace that was just unsustainable.
Before I go ill I worked full time, studied full time and exercised daily, all while trying to have an active social life. Since getting sick, I’ve slowed down to a pace where I can focus on the little things and work out what is really important to me. This has allowed me to focus my energy on these things; spending time with those I love (family and friends), making as little impact as I can on the environment, and helping others make a difference in their own lives (work).
I’m not ‘normal’ and I’m grateful for that!
I am who I am because of what I’ve been through and I wouldn’t change it for anything
well, maybe for a life with slightly less pain… but then I wouldn’t be who I am today.
What do you have in your life to be grateful for?