When you live with a chronic illness no one can see, its often, really hard for you to explain why you cant or dont do things. Normally, I try not to put much stock in to other people’s opinions, but some days, the cumulative effect just hangs on me.
The most important thing to realize about someone with a chronic illness, is they didnt choose to be ill. They dont choose to be limited. They cannot simply choose to just be physically better. This is their reality.
In the past month, Ive been confronted about not volunteering for something at school or church. Ive been teased for being a hermit and taunted for never leaving the house. Ive been accused of being lazy. General conversation can be difficult some days. Its so hard to relate to people who dont understand. Its hard when people cant see past the surface, to the desires of your heart. If people could see in to my heart, they would see how passionate I am about so many things. They would see how excited I am to get out and explore. They would see, how limiting this illness is. They would see those limitations are not something I chose.
POTS sucks. Its taken my youth. Its stripped me of my right to live a normal life. Its taken my career. But you know what? POTS has been a gift. Its taught me empathy and understanding and shown me that I can do things I never thought I could have before. POTS has taught me to stop and enjoy the simple things in life. POTS has taught me to persevere despite feeling alone and misunderstood. POTS has made me a fighter. POTS has helped me understand that people are not always who they seem. POTS has taught me to appreciate the people who love me unconditionally. POTS has taught me to strive to love others the way I want to be loved.
Do you want to know the truth? Im scared. Im scared stiff most days. POTS used to be simple, nice and neat. It offered a few, occasional bad days in a host of good. It let me know ahead of time when it was going to act up and we had a nice agreement that it wouldnt, as long as I followed its rules. Ever since my pregnancy with Lukas, all bets are off. I dont get warning signs to when I might pass out anymore. I have more bad days than good. Even though I have had this most of my life, its like a brand new thing. POTS and I have to get reacquainted.
Last night, I sat my six and four year old down and discussed our action plan. “What do you do if mommy passes out?” The look on my six year old’s face when I showed her how to call 9-1-1 was sheer terror. “how will I know if you are just passed out or dead?” she asks. Can you imagine trying to wrap your head around all of this as a six year old?! Does anyone really think this is a conversation I want to have with my children?
No. No one chooses POTS. No one chooses any chronic illness.
People judge, its part of our human nature. I do it, you do it. Im learning, first hand, how deep those effects can be. Im learning how much I need grace, for myself, from others, and mostly from my Savior. My soul aches for the times I know I have passed judgement on others and caused them pain.
Its been a rough week. Once again, POTS is changing the rules and its kicking my butt. The guilt is knee deep. Instead of a home cooked meal, my husband gets to come home to a castle of laundry and cook dinner and do bath time and bed time by himself. He’s tired, Im tired, the kids are so tired.
I dont want to be a complainer. I try my hardest to smile and find the good in all things. But some days, I get weary and sad. Some days, I need to eat a whole bag of rolos and just shut down. I need time to regroup and reflect and get ready to fight some more. Today is one of those days. Today, I cant even stand without feeling like I might die. Today, I just feel like it all may fall apart. We all have those days, dont we? For one reason or another, the breaking point just comes. No one has it all together. Everyone has their own hidden “illness” be that of body or of heart. We all struggle in this world, from time to time. So, this is me, just being real. Im struggling today. Im feeling unheard and misunderstood. Im feeling loss. Im feeling alone and Im feeling scared.
Tomorrow, Im going to get up and put all of this away. Im going to choose happiness and, by golly, Im going to choose contentment. Its a daily choice, to be content. Comparison will steal your joy. I wont let it. Im not going to feel inferior because I cant this and cant that. Im going to hush those voices of judgement, be it from myself or those around me. Im going to make peace with the idea that some people just arent going to like me. Im going to remind myself, that not all people are my tribe and that is ok. Im going to remember to cherish the ones that are.
I will remember, that I am a child of God. I am made perfect in His image. I am imperfectly perfect to carry out the plan He has for me.
I. Am. Enough. In. Christ.
And friend, so are you.