What is being asked of me?
One of the running groups that I follow on Facebook had a photo yesterday and the caption read something like "despite being sick I finished the challenge..." We have all seen these posts, people being proud of pushing themselves when they are sick, people working themselves to a deadline and giving up everything. On the same page I might find posts of injuries and people being mad that they have to take time away from running, that they won't get to participate in such and such event.
I am the same way, I want to push myself to the breaking point. I get frustrated when I am not able to do the things I want to do. So posts like "despite being sick...." are a huge trigger for me. I immediately launch into a story about how if they can run 19.3 miles why am I struggling with walking 3? I don't know their story, I don't know what being "sick" means. I don't know how long they will take to recover from pushing their body.
I do know that I feel like I am moving slowly. I know that after going grocery shopping and cooking a couple of meals, I usually need time to sit or lay down and recover. I know that I tend to limit my activities to one a day because I need so much more down time then I used to. I can logically tell myself that my body is constantly having to use it's energy to regenerate my bladder lining and heal internal damage, but it doesn't help. Knowing all the science doesn't give me certainty, doesn't give me a mathematical formula that says "you can do this much." I hit walls all the time.
This past week has felt like a huge regression and this morning I felt defeated and wanted to hide in my bed. In truth I am making progress, it just just slow and requires me to be clear to see it. So I looked up at Adam this morning and told him that I couldn't make packing up the house a priority right now, that I need help with continuing to make my health and well being a priority. That I have applications for residencies I am working on, and that is my other priority. In addition to helping to take care of Adam, I only have room for so many balls in the air. While I braced for Adam's response, since this weekend I was focused on getting stuff down for the house. He simply said "I am happy you see that, I was wondering how long it would take you to put something down." One gift of this condition is that priorities quickly become clear.
So I offered the ways that I can contribute to packing up the house without feeling so much pressure, because moving to a smaller, easier to care for place is important. I just need to be clear on what is being asked of me in this project. It would take too much energy for me to take apart furniture and move it downstairs. But I can work on the smaller projects like fixing sinks, planting flowers and packing up glassware.
The grieving process is still ongoing, as I continue to accept that there are things that do not make sense for me to do right now. That it is not about desire, passion or will; it is just something that I need help with. In this culture we gain so much significance and praise for doing things by ourselves. Maybe it is time to start praising the people that are asking for help too. Because honestly, asking for help has been the hardest lesson for me during this illness. Honoring my body, mind and spirit and acknowledging that I will not be able to do the things that mean the most to me without a little help from the people in my life.