In April 2009 we were writing a blog about recovering from Chronic illness and this is what I wrote;
It all Came Back This Week.
We started this blog with the pretty foolish boast that we were now “free” of chronic fatigue. So the next week what happens? Craig gets a mystery virus that has him crawling around the house again and I follow very quickly with a severe bout of Bronchitis. Can’t believe it. We haven’t been sick for more than a year.
The emotions have all come back this week.
The loneliness – watching, helpless, while the love of your life is sleeping 20 hours plus in the day.
The fear – the wondering, the not knowing – How long O God.
The dread – can it be worse?
The pointless wishing – that some human could understand without words; could just know what was happening – what it was like in your home; could ring without you having to explain; could take part of the burden for you.
The humbling – when all your plans go under and you see your self as completely fragile and your husband, your rock as vulnerable.
The empathy – for all those who are suffering with sick family, those that you tend to forget when you are doing fine.
The clinging to Jesus – just clinging because it is all you can do. Knowing that he does understand, trusting because it’s all you can do, praying all the time.
This week I have spoken to two beautiful friends that are now in the world of chronic illness, a world I know only too well. Today I have been doing some housework around my blogs and found a couple of pieces that I wrote that I thought may encourage my friends. I wanted them to know that someone gets how they feel and that they are not alone, despite what the devil would have them believe. I also wanted my past self to share this with those who don’t understand because even I have moved on and couldn’t write it as well anymore.
This next piece is a post I called, The difference Between Chronic Illness and Having a Baby.
When you have a baby everybody knows.
When you have a chronic illness sometimes even you don’t know.
When you have a chronic illness people think you’re coping (or you should be.)
When you have babies nobody expects you to cope.
When you have a baby people know how to help you through the initial crisis, (your bible study group organises a meal roster, family bring meals & help with your household chores, the neighbours & friends pitch in & visit more often to occupy the other kids, some bring meals, you feel very supported)
When you have a chronic illness people still expect you to help them.
When you have a baby, after a few years it grows up & begins to help around the home.
When you have a chronic illness, it often keeps you in crisis mode the same as when it first arrived, sometimes it gets worse, sometimes it gets better but it rarely offers to help around the home.
And this last piece is from a post I called, How are you Coping?
If you were to notice me, reading the ingredients on a packet, in the health food aisle of the supermarket, you might stop for a concerned conversation with an opening line like, “How are you going these days?”
If you kept going past the standard response,
“Oh I’m fine, and Craig’s doing so much better, he’s working full time now,”
you might even think to ask something insightful like,
“You’ve been dealing with this for years now. How are you coping? Do you miss..(large pause, into which you can insert the words “being normal?”)…anything?
I’d probably answer with a genuine smile, “Oh God is great. He provides everything I need. He has really grown me through this time. In fact I’m grateful for it. I don’t miss anything of consequence.”
And all that would be true, overall.
But you’re not God.
And if you were the answer would be different.
The list he has heard is is as long as my arm:
I’m not coping, I miss being be able to cope.
I need to stop, I miss being able to keep going.
I’m not strong, I miss being strong, How will we survive if I am not strong?
I’m lonely, my husband’s asleep again, I miss him, I miss my social life.
I’m bored, I miss being creative and artistic and musical.
I’m exhausted, I miss having energy to do things.
I’m messy, I miss having the energy to be tidy.
I’m frustrated, I miss exercising, I never work up a sweat anymore.
I’m angry, I miss being calm and unaffected.
I’m sad, I miss having a husband who can join in.
I’m worried, I miss the confidence that comes with health.
The list goes on…….
But it always starts with “I”…… and what would you say to me if I were to hand it to you in the supermarket?
It’s a fine line to tread when you have a chronic illness, or you are the carer for a loved one with chronic illness, or when you’re suffering in general. (This morning I was suffering with chronic pregnancy and sleep depravation due to small children.)
Where does expressing your feelings and expecting others to understand your circumstances morph into plain old selfishness?
When I talk to God I’m like David in the psalms. I can rant and vent about my circumstances and my feelings. I can wail and sob. God listens and Jesus feels my pain and by the end, through his Holy Spirit, He always turns me around to himself. He opens my heart and my eyes to his kindness and goodness. One by one he picks up all the pieces and puts me back together with His glue. Stronger because of my weakness, powerful because of His Spirit in me.
But when I rant and vent to you, I cannot be so sure of the outcome. So I try to tell God first. Then I can tell you the outcome of those conversations. Which is the truth rather than just my opinion.
Bless you today, be encouraged, you are loved, you are not alone. God hears, he sees, he holds you in his hands. Go to him, let him turn you around again.
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Lots of Love