Wednesday, 9 July 2014

BEING OKAY WITH NOT BEING OKAY


I'm not normally one to admit it when I'm struggling, but over the last week or so I really have been.

After the highs of having friends to stay and making it out on adventures, the inevitable payback kicked in. Payback, or post-exertional malaise, is a defining feature of ME / CFS. It is a period of intense exhaustion and flu-like symptoms which follows physical, mental or emotional exertion. This time for me payback meant muscle weakness, migraines, nausea and extra fatigue. Although I knew it was coming and had readied myself for the physical side of things, I wasn't prepared for how drastically it would affect my mood. It left me feeling extremely low and very lonely.

Since falling ill I've had to work hard at maintaining a positive outlook and have built up a sort-of mood-boosting and loneliness-alleviating toolkit. I eat reasonably healthily, move about when I can, keep a gratitude journal and give myself small craft-y projects to focus on. Generally, these among other things keep me upbeat despite feeling unwell.

Throughout the most recent bout of payback though, my cheer-up strategies just weren't doing the trick. I was constantly on the brink of tears, noticed negative thoughts creeping in, and felt frustration building by the hour. It all came to a head when, flicking through a Speech Therapy magazine, I saw an advert for a 'dream job'. Knowing that I'm not well enough currently to even consider working in such a role, I burst into tears and began hysterically sobbing. It was completely irrational, but at that moment, in my mind, the job symbolised everything that I'd lost since becoming ill.

Close friends and family know that I refer to my lower moments as 'wobbles'. A brilliant friend of mine always says to me 'Don't wobble by yourself. Call me' but I never normally do. I pick up the phone, but talk myself out of it before dialling. It's a pride thing mostly, I think - wanting to be stronger than that. As well as wanting to be seen as someone who is dealing well with illness and not moaning all the time.

This time though, I did call. I'm not sure what made me do it but I'm so glad I did. Once I'd somehow, between sobs, got out a garbled 'I'm so fed up', my aforementioned brilliant friend proceeded to say a series of all the right things. Having talked my feelings through and cried my little heart out, I came off the phone feeling better than I had for a while. When I tried looking for the positives a little later on, they came that much quicker than before my release of emotion.

Of all the brilliant things said to me during that phone call, the most memorable and comforting was definitely : 'Of course you're upset. It's crap'.

Something I've struggled with time and time again is that, in trying so hard to stay positive and deal with my illness well, I push aside the difficult feelings that come with it. This often means that the negative feelings, having not been processed, build up and come back two-fold.

It's taken a while, but I'm slowly getting my head around the fact that, in order to reach a point where I'm able to truly be positive, those negative feelings, which are very real and demand to be felt, cannot be swept under the rug.

Being okay with not being okay hasn't come easily to me, but I feel like this week someone has flicked a switch and it's clicked. It may not sound like the most positive revelation in the world, but for me it is. In order to be genuinely positive, I need a clean slate. Processing and releasing a lot of negative emotion has given me exactly that.


Share:

16 comments

  1. Wonderful post Faye, so open and honest! You are unbelievably brave for writing this :) you are so positive all the time, and it's only human to have a 'wobble'. So sorry you've been having such a tough time, let's hope there is light at the end of this wobble soon :) lots and lots of love xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Soph :) Sending you all the love in the world as always xxxx

      Delete
  2. This is amazing. It's such a brave post, and very therapeutic to read. I can completely identify with everything you are saying. It can be such a battle, but every win makes it easier! :) xxx

    www.jennyhelenmyspoonielife.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Jenny. I'm so sorry you could relate to this, but its really lovely to hear it was therapeutic to read. You are so right that every win makes it easier :) Sending lots of love and positive vibes your way xxx

      Delete
  3. I love this post, especially the line: 'It's a pride thing mostly, I think - wanting to be stronger than that'. This resonated with me so much - in the past, I haven't always told people when I'm struggling, probably because I want to be strong. But maybe strength comes from realising when you need help and asking for it. I'm glad that you're feeling more positive now and you had a good friend to help you :) Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Gemma. I completely agree that strength comes from acknowledging you need help and asking for it- it's just taken me a little while to realise it! I am so lucky to have a friend as the lovely as the one I mention in this post but I also feel very lucky to have come across such a supportive community of people online who understand what I've been experiencing. It's a real comfort to me! Thanks again, Gemma. It means a lot xxx

      Delete
    2. It took me a while to realise it too, but I felt so much better once I had :) I completely agree - it's so comforting when other people understand what you've been experiencing, which is why I loved reading your post so much :)

      Delete
  4. This is such a lovely post! Having just graduated, I totally know where you're coming from on the whole seeing a dream job and not being well enough to apply thing! Good to here to had a great friend on side to help you through though! Wishing you lots of wellness :)

    Alice x
    http://slowlymendingme.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Alice, that's really kind of you. So sorry to hear you've experienced not being able to apply for a job you'd love too. It's really tough to work so hard for something but not quite be able to reach it. I've been trying to tell myself that it's just not the time at the moment but that when it's meant to, it will happen. Sending you lots of positive vibes xxx

      Delete
  5. It is okay not to be okay, admitting struggles isn't a bad thing, I see it as the opposite because we are seeking help when we most need it. What a lovely friend you have, and just putting it out there - if you ever want to talk/text, DM me and I'll happily give you my number.
    Sending all the love in the wolrd my beautiful friend! <3

    www.hayleyeszti.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Hayley. I really really appreciate this. It actually bought a little tear to my eye because I thought it was so lovely of you. The same goes for you - I am always more than happy to listen. Sending bucket loads of love your way too and hoping that today is as wonderful as can be for you. xxxx

      Delete
  6. So sorry to hear your having a rough time at the mo. Just the other week I was having a terrible time also. I was trying to stay as positive as I could, but it was extremely hard. My mood and emotions go all other the show, there is no control! Keep up your beautiful positive attitude Faye! :) If you ever want to chat I'm always here!
    Much love

    Lennae xxx

    www.lennae87.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Lennae, you are so lovely. I really hope that the terrible time has passed and you're back on track. Always here for you too if you need a 'wobble'. xxx

      Delete
  7. I'm so sorry you've been going through a tough time lately Faye, I'm having a bit of a wobble myself lately too and can totally relate with not wanting to tell people etc...I just feel embarrassed! But everything you've written is so true and has really helped me. No one can blame you for having these feelings and (most) people will totally understand. It's odd how people with chronic illnesses worry about expressing negative emotions when there are people writing paragraphs on Facebook about how upset they are at losing their oyster card or something haha. Sending lots of love, I hope writing posts like these help you through bad times too. xxx

    Josie’s Journal

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is such a brilliant post- you're so brave admitting to everybody that you can't be positive and happy 24/7. Im so glad I've just found your blog, looking forward to reading future posts:-) x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Lauren, it was a bit scary hitting 'Publish' on this one so it's really lovely to get such a supportive response! I was so glad to find your blog too :) xx

      Delete

© BearHugs & Beyond | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig