Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I is for the times "I should be writing."

In the spirit of multitasking, today we'll combine an ABC Wednesday post with an Invisible Illness Week post.

The timing of this one worked out perfectly, because I've been thinking a lot in the past few weeks about how little I've been blogging - just one or two posts a week, typically. And it wasn't because I've been being lazy, and it wasn't because I didn't have anything to say. It was strictly because I've been dealing with a lot of pain lately, and that has made everything very difficult.

One of the great things about blogging (and one of the reason that a lot of people with chronic illnesses do it) is that we can blog pretty much any time, from pretty much anywhere. So it's usually fairly easy to work around our pain, and write during those times when we're feeling (relatively) better. But unfortunately for many of us, those times when we feel "better" sometimes don't come around for a while, and there can be days or weeks or more when we can barely manage getting out of bed, let alone anything else.

But even though there is a legitimate reason for the inactivity, that doesn't make it any easier. Not being able to do the things we want to do is one of the most frustrating things about having a chronic illness. The mind is willing - it wants to get up and go. But the body simply isn't able.

There are a truckload of emotions that go along with this. It is very easy to get angry, or depressed. You can place blame. You can be resentful. You can berate yourself for all of the things that you "should be" doing with your time. (That one comes up a lot for me.) I catch myself starting to feel guilty when the pain is keeping me from something. Several times in recent weeks I would grumble that "I should be writing" as I took pain killers and crawled into bed instead.

Often, it seems, one of the hardest things for those of us with chronic illnesses to embrace is the idea of forgiveness. Even with the 20 years that I've had to work on it, I still have a hard time forgiving myself for not being able to do the things that I want to do, or stopping myself from using the phrase "should be" when describing something that I'd like to be doing.

I'm not going to shrivel up and die if I don't post every day. The blogger police are not going to knock down my door. What I "should be" doing on the bad pain days is taking care of myself and weathering the storm as best I can. Because they will eventually pass, and beating myself up over them doesn't accomplish anything.

I wanted to share this, because I have a feeling that I'm not alone. Whether you're a fellow chronic illness sufferer or not, have you ever noticed that you sometimes get down on yourself for things that you "should be" doing, even when circumstances are out of your control? I think we probably all have those moments when we just need to step back, relax, and give ourselves a little break.


  1. I know this woman who is in tremendous pain all the time, and because she's not visibly ill or injured, people misunderstand, think she's lazy.

    And "doing" all the time is highly overrated anyway.

    Good luck.

    ROG, ABCW team

    1. Unfortunately it's something that most of us with chronic pain can relate to. Fortunately there are some people out there who understand, and with all of the "awareness" activities going on hopefully that number will just continue to increase.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I hate that you've been having difficulties lately. (Or, should I say, sorry that your difficulties have been magnified lately?) Anyway, I'm glad you were feeling well enough to get a post out today.

    And, in terms of giving ourselves a break, one of my favorite phrases is "don't should on yourself". It's something we all probably need to remember from time to time.

    1. Thank you, Cheri. That really means a lot. And oh my goodness - I LOVE that quote! I've never heard that before, but I'm totally going to start using it. :)