I wish I could be writing this post in jubilee or extreme joy….but it is quite the opposite. But then again, that’s what this blog was created for; a place for me to have catharsis for the pent up emotions and exhaustion that comes with chronic illness. But hopefully it is also a source of encouragement for others…but I’m getting ahead of myself!
My faithful readers and close friends know that I go through periods, or flares, as I so affectionately refer to them, when my pain and exhaustion reach unbearable levels. It could last a day, it could last a year – I never know. Unfortunately I’m hitting right about month three of this current flare. This time it’s severely affected my legs to the extreme of several times I have literally fallen to the ground because I don’t have enough strength to stand. It can be incredibly scary. At the beginning I even had to use my wheelchair in the house…I couldn’t take more than a couple steps without just collapsing. Thankfully I am not at that low point anymore, and can stand for quite a few minutes at this point, but most days the pain is still past my pain tolerance (which is extremely high).
Today for some reason I just hit a breaking point. I had completed my 8-5 day, generally feeling alright, and from the time I came home to now it has just gone downhill. Tonight I have cried so much and with such intensity that I literally don’t have any tears left to cry. I have texted in desperation to close friends who understand, longing for someone to tell me I wasn’t as useless and broken as I felt. I don’t have these moments very often – and even less often I speak about these moments….I’m not proud of them, but I’ve realized what a necessity they are. Life is hard. Having a competitive internship is hard. Add a couple chronic illnesses and constant unbearable, unrelenting pain and you’ve got yourself a sucky situation. The emotions and frustrations have to be released and unfortunately I tend to wait until the point of explosion.
These moments are part of my coping skills. They may not be the healthiest, but it’s how I deal. I have these days where I just completely LOSE IT. I don’t mean just a dainty little tear streaming down my face; but intense, hyperventilating sobs as I’m collapsed on the floor, crying out for relief and crying tears of anger and confusion. I have my moment to feel like a useless pile of trash with no worth to the world, trapped inside a broken body, knowing that boo-hooing about it won’t change a thing. But when the tears stop – I get up. I wash my face off, usually cuddle with Brinkley, and get on with my life. I need to have those breakdown moments to release everything I hold in 24/7. I HATE letting people see I’m in pain or that I am somehow limited. I’m stubborn and don’t ask to sit down when I know I’ll be feeling the effects for days after. If you asked some of my acquaintances or even some of my friends they would have NO clue I live with pain or illness – and that’s my goal. It is completely, mind-numbingly exhausting to pretend all the time that I’m fine when I’m not. And within the past couple years, especially in rehab, I’ve learned better coping skills and how to properly deal with it all…but I still have difficult days. But they don’t completely stop my life like they used to – and to me that’s positive progress.
I know that in these times Satan is just on the edge of his seat, waiting for me to renounce my faith and put a big middle finger in the air. He WANTS to steal the peace my faith gives me. He wants me to break down and feel broken. But I’m too stubborn to give him that satisfaction. I may be down but I’m getting back up. I have a God beside me who has truly known every kind of pain and frustration – and has remained pure. I don’t have the strength to get through the day, or sometimes even through an hour or minute….but I’m with a God who gives me HIS strength that has overcome death! Even David has gone through times when he has cried until there are no more tears. 1 Sam 30:4 says “then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept until they had no more power to weep.” During these moments it’s the easiest thing in the world to feel alone – but I’m not! “But David strengthened himself in the Lord” which is exactly what I’m going to (attempt to) do. I may not feel it now, but I know the Lord hears my tears and he weeps with me. This life is not forever and one day there will be a day with no more tears and no more pain. One day I’m going to have a PERFECT body – what?! I eagerly await for that day, but until then I know there is a reason for my life.
I’m not writing this to be praised. I certainly am not writing it for sympathy. It’s mostly for me, but I want it to be an avenue of awareness and encouragement. Paul says it perfectly in Phil 3:12-14 (taken from the Message):
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
So that’s where I am. Not at all even close to where I want to be…but my eyes are searching in that direction and I know that God will bring me through this flare and these illnesses, and this life. He has a preeeeeetty good track record – the logic lends in his favor. So I’m going to do my best to take His strength and glorify Him with this life that I sometimes see as a broken one, and I encourage you to do the same. It’s okay to have breakdowns. Have a meltdown, cry until there is nothing left….but then GET UP. Press onward. God hasn’t given us this life to live lying down. He’s beckoning us onward. Will you go?