People with chronic illness often use the words “keep pushing on” or “keep moving forward.” We use these words because we know that if don’t keep moving, our diseases will win. I often wonder if when we say these words and practice them whether we actually believe them. I am not sure that I always do.
The fact is, it is hard to keep moving forward, mentally and physically, when you are so tired. I am tired of being sick and I am tired of trying to juggle my health demands with my personal and professional lives. I know that people who live with chronic illness get what I am saying but healthy people really do not.
When you are sick, being tired has a different meaning than it does when you are healthy. When I was healthy, tired meant feeling exhausted because of school, work, or sleepless nights taking care of small children. But now, being tired means being consumed with fatigue all the time. I wake up exhausted and it does not matter how many hours I slept. My body often feels like I am lugging around a really heavy box because I am so overextended. I am regularly tired to the point of tears because I cannot figure how to function with all the pain and fatigue.
I am emotionally and physically tired. I am tired to my core and to my very existence. And I don’t know what to do. Simply saying “keep pushing on” or “keep moving forward” is a pretty difficult feat. Just thinking about all that life throws and then trying to juggle that with my health demands is awfully draining.
Showing progress is a relief and it makes moving forward easier. But the setbacks, they send me in the opposite direction. They make me even more worn-out and I am discouraged. How do I tell my family, my friends, my job, that I need a break? There is no way to do that. There is no time – life goes on even though I am sick. I still have to work, take care of my home and family, and I still have function just like a healthy individual even though I am not healthy.
In my mind, I know what to do: “keep pushing on” or “keep moving forward” – sounds simple to the average person. I know this is what I am supposed to do and I have done it before. I know that better days are ahead. Chronic illness is full of ups and downs – good and bad days. I know all that. I also know that the solution is to keep moving forward and try to not let it all get to me. Right now, it is quite hard before I am feeling defeated. I really am tired.