Regular Doses of Grief

Saturday, October 26, 2019
This isn't a super cheery post for me, but I think it's something that needs to be written. As with a lot of my posts on chronic illness, I share this not just for myself (though it can be cathartic, it's sometimes just downright scary), but for others who might be going through something similar and think they are alone in it.

Today's topic is: Grief. 

I'm not actually talking about the grief that comes from losing someone, either to death or just distance/end of a relationship. I'm talking about the grief of losing the life that you cannot live because of your chronic illness/es, chronic pain, or other condition that changes the way you want your life to go.

Now, just quickly, a little proviso - I am really happy with my life and where I am. A lot of the time I feel content, and sometimes I feel excited about the little things that I have set up for myself in my life. I have done my best to work around my illnesses and sometimes worth with them so that I am living a life that still has some meaning, even when I can't do a lot of things I would like to.

That being said, I do find that about every six weeks to two months or so, I feel really sad, and sometimes really angry. I think I have written about this before, but not in the context of it being grief - I didn't know at the time that that was what I was going through. I just felt so angry and often that anger would then turn into tears and I would have to cry myself out until I was exhausted. Often then I would have a certain amount of time where I just felt low and ridiculously un-cheerful, until I felt capable of pulling myself back up and just enjoying life again. I didn't know where it was coming from, and it's only been in the past couple of years that I've realised: I'm grieving. I've started linking things together, and these 'doses of grief' often turn up after I am feeling a little frustrated with how little I feel that I can do, or I am sad that I have to acknowledge to myself yet again that I can't work or study or, sometimes, even read or write.

I've been feeling a little low and frustrated lately, and just realising over and over that I can't do some things that I really want to be able to do. I am feeling a bit stuck, and it doesn't help that this has been a bad pain week. I posted on Wednesday about self-care and how it helps, but at the time I honestly thought I was just feeling low because of my pain levels, not that this was one of my 'doses of grief', and those aren't so easy to snap out of. I'm sure some part of me just wishes that I could 'get over it' and move forward without this grief coming up so regularly, but the fact of the matter is that I need to have this. I need to be able to grieve sometimes for a life that I wanted to live, even whilst still being so grateful for the life that I have. I think past-me really couldn't believe that I could hold those two things at the same time, and so the length of my grief 'dose' would spiral out for much longer in the past because I was beating myself up for 'not appreciating the life I have'. I do, and I'm also still sad that I can't do some things that I had planned for myself, like: live in another country; have an 'actual' job so I could earn money; have more pets (Peppermint is probably an 'only cat household' kind of cat, but I can't help feeling like if I had more energy I would be able to introduce her to other friends and she would be happier (yeh, I've stopped beating myself up about this, but sometimes I still think about it); be more active on social media and get back to making videos, and make them even better; write a lot more!; be a better friend; get back to swimming, which I always loved and still do; study more! particularly languages....

The list goes on, but that's some of the things. Sometimes I beat myself up during these periods of grief for not getting more done and being more diligent about my writing or book reviewing for example, but I just try to remind myself that I am doing the best I can. I am doing the best I can. And that looks different to other people's 'best', even other spoonies' 'best'. And that's okay. Sometimes I even believe myself! ^^;

Anyway, I think these periods of grief will probably come up for me for the rest of my life (as I do believe that I will be sick for the rest of my life). Sometimes I will deal with them better than others. At the moment, this one is a little harder because of other difficulties in my life, and not feeling like I can talk to others about things that much. And that's okay. It just is what it is. I'll navigate as best I can, and maybe have a few crying sessions until I feel a little more able to take on the world again.

I hope that, if you have period of grief like this, you know that you're not alone. This sucks. I'm sorry. Let yourself grieve. And then, hopefully, come out the other side of your 'dose of grief' and find something to make yourself smile again, even if it's just a little cat meme.

Love to all who read.

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