It’s 11am and I’m working from my computer in our silent living room. My husband is out running errands with our youngest and my oldest kiddo is in school. It’s raining outside, and the soft tunes of Chris Stapleton are playing from my phone beside me.
As I sit, I think about everything that HAS to get done today, the things on the to-do list that simply can’t wait another day. And then the anxiety comes creeping in from the darkest corners of my mind, along with its companions, guilt, pain, anger, and sadness.
Living with a chronic illness is the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, it’s a nightmare that never ends – that’s why they call it chronic. No matter how I’m feeling today, I can’t guarantee it will be the same tomorrow. It’s a total crap shoot.
Writing about my illness helps me to cope with it, and it also gives me a way to connect with so many of you who are also suffering daily. Endometriosis has taken so much from my life, and it’s time I start making something out of it all, the lost things. The third child I never got to have, the mountain of pain I have to climb each day, the anger I feel in my heart, all of it. I want to share it.
One of the first things I feel every day is anxiety. I get anxious over my daily routine, my future plans, all of it. Because the truth is, I never know if they’ll really fall together. I don’t know if I’ll wake up in so much pain tomorrow that I have a difficult time walking and getting out of bed. Because of me we’ve had to cancel planned trips, visits to the zoo, date nights. And the anxiety that never knowing exactly what the day will hold drives me bananas.
I carry a lot of guilt, guilt over the things I wanted to do with my kids, things I wanted to do for myself. Guilt when my husband has to call into work to take care of me because I simply cannot do it myself. Guilt when I feel like crying when a friend has announced a pregnancy or I see a baby bump. And then guilt for feeling that way in the first place.
Imagine that, just for a second.
Imagine waking up in so much pain that you physically feel like your body is being torn in half when you try to touch your feet to your bedroom floor, and then feeling guilty about it. Guilty over something you can’t even change, something you have zero control over. Just imagine that.
It starts as a flicker, just a very faint discomfort that slowly grows thick, stronger, and more destructive like smoke from a growing, burning, kindling fire. Sometimes it happens quickly, while other times it can take hours to reach it’s full strength. All across my abdomen, pelvis, lower back, it feels like someone is weighing me down stacking one bag of feed at a time until I can’t move.
The only other pain I’ve ever experienced that comes close is childbirth.
This is what I feel nearly every day. Some days are better than others, but for the most part it’s now become a consistent part of my day. I’ve found some things that help soothe the pain, but it never fully goes away.
Deep in my heart I carry a lot of anger. I carry anger for everything I haven’t been able to do with my family. I carry anger over not having the ability to have more children. I carry anger about everything I’ve missed, cancelled, and lost. All of it, it’s something I have to work to overcome every.single.day.
Anger is a slippery slope. I sometimes catch myself being snarky to people I love for no reason. And then I get angry at myself for letting it slip. Because the honest-to-god truth is, I’m holding it in every second of every day. I bury it under everything else, so secretly and quietly that even I forget it’s hiding there.
I feel sad a lot. I feel alone a lot. Because even though I’ve got this little house filled with love, I also carry around sadness in my heart. It makes me sad to think about just how much time I’ve lost. How much time my kids have lost. It makes me sad to think about the surgeries I’ve had, and the pain I’m still in. I feel sad thinking about if this will ever end. I feel sad going to support groups on Facebook and reading about women who have taken their lives because of this horrible, terrible, illness. I feel sad because I’ve been there, I’ve felt those feelings of desperateness, when you’d do anything just to have the pain stop.
But above everything, what carries me through is..
Light & Love
Before I go, I also need to add how lucky I feel every day. I am so incredibly grateful that I have the opportunity to work from the comfort of my own home, on bad pain days I can curl up with my computer and my heating pad. I understand that this is not everyones reality, there are women and men everywhere living with illnesses and having to get up to go to work each day. My heart goes out to each and every one of you, I’ve been there, and it makes everything so much harder.
I also am so very appreciative of my husband, who does everything I can’t when I can’t. To my kids, for making me want to keep going, keep striving, and keep dreaming. They are my heart, my future, present – they are my greatest gift.
And to everyone struggling, I feel you. During those dark days when you feel alone, I’m walking right beside you – and I encourage you to reach out whenever you’d like. You can always reach me here, or contact me via social media – I will be there for you. On the days when you don’t feel strong enough to stand, I will encourage you.
Because this life of ours is hard, but it’s also beautiful. It’s worth living, it’s worth fighting for. And I know from the bottom of my heart – WE CAN DO THIS.
With light & love,
Share this post & message via Pinterest here: