The moment came… I knew I finally had to call ‘TIME,’ I finally had to say… ‘NO.‘
I’m pretty sure my life is not too dissimilar to many of yours. I have family and friends, I have a career, a home and dogs. I have an illness. I have meals to cook and bills to pay but for a while I’ve been really struggling. The daily grind had become harder. Pain and fatigue had been eating away at the passion within me. My motivation had dwindled. For someone who is a ‘glass half full’ person, I found this difficult to cope with!
So after a lot of deliberating, I had to face my employer and I had to do something very difficult. I had to admit that I could not… just simply could not, return to work. I know it must have looked strange after two months of Summer holidays with plenty of time to recharge but my health finally shouted loud, and long enough and against my will I was forced to listen…My body told me I could not give what I had not got. I needed to call ‘TIME.’
Now almost five weeks on and I’m beginning to feel a little better. Better still I’m finally beginning to learn from the whole experience.
I thought you might be interested in some of the insights I’ve gained…
I’ve had to learn to listen to my body. You can only ill treat it and ignore it’s cries for so long.
I’ve had to learn to respect my body by giving it the time out and rest that it needs.
I’ve had to learn to speak up for myself, admitting that I could not commit to what was expected of me, was very difficult.
I’ve had to learn to let go of the pretence. For almost 20 years I’ve pretended to be something I’m not. I’ve pretended to be well but in fact I’ve got an illness that impacts and restricts every part of my daily life. It took courage to overcome my fear of being seen as a failure.
I’ve had to fight for my rights to illness benefit even after presenting certificates from my GP but I contained my emotions and focused on the issue; my financial stability.
I’ve had to withstand the pressure of enquiries about when I expected to be fit enough to return to work. I chose not to see this as bullying but instead as an administrative timetabling issues.
I’ve had to find the strength to say no initially but harder still I’ve had to find the strength to accept myself for saying no and for slowing down. Finding peace for myself within that decision was probably the most difficult hurdle I had to overcome. Thank you Dr.Andrea at Thriving Under Pressure for your timely post and comment. The Paradox of Strength
I’ve had to silence the self-doubt that comes with an invisible illness because for example, you might have seen me out for a twenty minute walk and heck, I look well. I’ve had to remind myself that you won’t see my post exercise malaise or feel the pain the next two hours or entire evening will bring.
I’ve had to do battle between exhaustion and isolation and try to make peace with these two evils. Read about that battle here.
I’ve had to learn to let go, trusting that the things I don’t reach on are not necessarily vital things and that the people I don’t reach on will understand and not cut our connections.
I’ve had to learn that life goes on without me, my role can easily be covered by another healthier body and I’ve had to work hard to accept the lack of enquiries as to my wellbeing from my employer and not engage in predictive thinking where your inner voice wants you to believe it’s because you are easily replaced.
I’ve had to ask myself “who am I” without my job, without my students and colleagues and I’ve acknowledged that I need people in my life but I’ve also acknowledged that you can be alone in a crowd. Thank you Dutch for your insightful comments and shared quotes. Dutch @ onthepathleasttraveled
I’ve had to learn that I don’t need to travel this road alone. I’ve done that for 20 years too long. Now I need support with this illness and I’ve already learned a lot about CFS/fibro in the last week or two and I’m hoping to come to understand it and myself a little bit more. Thanks Jennifer @ Tea with Jennifer for a lightbulb moment…Knowing your bodies capacity
Saying ‘No’ meant I stepped into the unknown. It was a sign that I was finally unable to contain my vulnerability, and that was scary territory for me. I used to be able to manage my CFS/fibro and hide my vulnerability. By calling ‘TIME” and finally saying STOP – FULL STOP, I have learned a lot and now I am stronger than I was. I have regained some motivation and the passion is returning. Also, the cat is out of the bag… I no longer have a hidden illness. I am Marie with CFS/fibro and if my life has to change as a result then I say, bring it on!
Thanks for taking time to visit and please feel free to share your thoughts. I will reply to your comments as quickly as I can.
Have you had similar struggles? Have you hidden behind a mask? Have you like me, been afraid of being a failure?
How do you bring passion back into your life?