Weathering the Daily Struggle

“There’s a lot going on right now.”

That’s been a common refrain for me since I started a new job and my husband had to have emergency knee surgery. I know it sounds like an excuse when I say that about why I don’t have time to read, or to paint, or hang out with friends. They probably think it is an excuse too. But the one who used to take care of everything else so I could work and pursue my hobbies is now severely limited in what he can do. So it’s all on me now. I just hope that whenever I say that, nobody asks me what exactly is “on me now.”

Because the truth is that there nothing going on with me right now that hasn’t been going on forever in everybody else’s lives. But with a chronic illness like fibromyalgia which limits my daily energy levels, those same daily activities feel like they are draining the life out of me, when for everybody else they’re just mildly annoying chores that they mostly don’t even think about.

To say that daily living chores and a fairly physically non-taxing job is wearing me out, I imagine is eliciting eye rolls right now. Like I should stop whining and suck it up at adulting. I am embarrassed to even admit it; it makes me feel weak and stupid. But it is also a frustrating reality I cannot escape.

For a while, I was taking care of my husband’s personal care routine when he was mostly bedridden. I will spare you the grisly details; suffice to say it was nothing physically taxing for a normal healthy person. He mostly took care of himself, all I had to do was arrange his things where he could reach them, and clean up after him. But now that he can hobble about the house, I don’t even have to do that. He’s even taken over meal preparations again, so we don’t have to eat like freshman undergrads anymore! (If you’re wondering about that last statement – I’m a foodie who doesn’t cook, and seriously lucked out with a husband worthy of chefhood!)

The rest of the “lot [that is] going on right now” is just everyday stuff that for most people is mindless living. I wake up early, limp to the kitchen for coffee and breakfast, I get dressed and work a full-time job. On the weekends I clean the house, do the laundry and get groceries for the week.

Nothing at all that seems out of the ordinary! Everybody I know does all of that and more, and still finds time for friends, books, hobbies, and exercise.

And yet yours truly collapses every day after work, unable to even consider going for the evening exercise class. I look forward to the weekend when I could rest. But even with my “tips and tricks” to ease my load, the weekends often end up being worse than the weekdays.

Laundry, house cleaning, dish washing, all take more arm and leg work than one might imagine. And I don’t even do a particularly thorough job of any of it. The walking and frequent bending/reaching during grocery shopping has always been hard for me. So we switched to online groceries that we now simply pick up at the store. But carrying those home, putting them up, all eat up pieces of my energy pie. Some activities eat a larger slice than others, and at the end of the day, I am barely left with crumbs.

So I am left weathered every night either passing out in exhaustion or unable to sleep because of the pain and discomfort. I am nearly continually in a flare these days, rendered functional only by virtue of tramadol. And a cold I fought for a week did nothing to help that situation.

I am also left cringing in shameful embarrassment at how far my life and fitness has fallen. For a long time it seems I had stopped thinking about how much fibromyalgia intruded into my daily life. When my husband took care of practically everything, and encouraged me to save all my energy for things that bring me meaning, peace and happiness, he did it all so apparently effortlessly! He never made me feel indebted for all that he does. Though I was always grateful, I now have a renewed level of appreciation for him and for everything he did. In doing them, he was saving me massive slices of my energy pie, because all those activities that are nothing for him are seriously draining for me. But most of all, I am grateful that he did all of that without making me feel any the less for not being able to be functional like a “normal” person.


I know this post ended up being something of a rant, but sometimes cheer takes too much effort. My hope is that this post sheds some light on what everyday life can be for someone with a chronic illness like fibromyalgia. And if you are a “healthy” reader who has an invisible illness warrior in the family, I hope this helps you understand what a struggle just everyday living can be for them, and why sometimes they are unable to partake in things that take no effort on your part.

The last few weeks with my husband’s immobilized leg haven’t been all bad however. There have been silver linings and moments of reflection. I promise to write more about them in a later post.

Love,

Fibronacci

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13 thoughts on “Weathering the Daily Struggle

  1. So sorry to hear that you have been tired all this time! Glad to hear that your husband is on the mend, and maybe soon he will be able to take over the chores and you can focus on going to work and coming home. Sometimes what some people do for us seem invisible until they stop doing it – some people are just nice like that. Agree that sometimes cheer can take too much effort. Like in your case, we can be too tired to do anything but lie down. Or when we feel we can find a better solution to the problem. Best to take things slow. Like you, I find carrying groceries a chore. I am quite a small person and when I have to go get groceries without a car, it can be sooo hard and energy draining.

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    1. I totally feel your pain about the groceries, being a small and petite person myself. It doesn’t help that I hate making more than one trip for it, so I load myself up all in one go. Every time, I think that’s a terrible idea, which never stops me from doing it again, haha! And yes, without a car, it’s doubly difficult! We didn’t have a car for a long time either, so I understand perfectly what you mean. Do you have good public transport where you are? In my town, it doesn’t help that we don’t. In my hometown in India, it was great because nearly every shop that you had a decent relationship with, is willing to take orders over phone for a later pickup or might even drop off your stuff at home. But I never found that was a thing here, not in this corner of America anyway. I am so glad that online groceries is becoming more of a thing! I feel it’s high time for it.

      Thank you for being so understanding about how I feel in this post. It is really very sweet of you. You are so right about the people who do things invisibly for us, and we never know it until they stop. It does us well to have a reminder for all that and more every once in a while. πŸ™‚

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      1. I also like to do my groceries in one go! Doing a second round can take up half the day! Public transport where I am is great, but there is still some walking to do. That is so nice of the shopkeepers in India – though the standard of living there might not be how it is in the West, such places in Asia aim to go above and beyond.

        Good to hear that you’ve got a car, and make good use of it πŸ™‚ Not just for shopping but maybe for a bit of travels when you are up for it πŸ™‚

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    1. Oh Casey, I am so sorry to hear that! I hope you get a respite soon. Sending many gentle hugs your way! ❀
      It is an absolute godsend to have somebody like my husband in my court. It took me a while to totally accept his help, but once I did, it made life so much easier and I am forever grateful to have him in my life.

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    1. I knew exactly what you meant, Mishka. πŸ™‚ Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone in feeling as tired and achy as I do, and probably also not alone in feeling as embarrassed and stupid and frustrated over it as I now do. I do agree that this will pass, and I am so looking forward to that! I have been making a point of resting more on the weekends, especially as my husband has been trying to help me out with as many of the little things as possible for him, and I am hoping it will all make a difference soon. The sudden changes in weather we have been having here are probably also not helping me much, especially as it heats up to 70s and then rushes down to freezing the same night! I am hoping that will stabilize in a few weeks a bit more as well.

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    1. Thank you for your kind message; it helps me feel less silly for admitting how draining those small tasks have been, knowing that others feel the same way and I am not just “making it up in my head.” I thought I was beyond thinking such things of myself, but they always come rushing back at you at the low points I guess. I can completely relate to the repetitive motions being very painful. Last few weeks, my wrist has been wracked with pain, and a little “mindful activity” made me realize how much my wrist was getting a “work-out” during vacuuming, dishwashing, stirring… the mindnumbingly small things that most people don’t even think about as they do them. So yes, I feel you pain, and I am so sorry that you feel that way. ❀ *Gentle Hugs!*

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