I’m just going to lay it all out there today. Very rarely do I allow my illness to keep me out of work. Generally all of my sick days have gone to cover surgeries (except this last time for maternity leave) but today I had to take a sick day for a flare. I didn’t sleep well at all last night. John or Abby didn’t either so it just added to it. Every square inch of my body hurts. I would like to know the license plate of the mac truck that decided to run me over in my sleep. The flare started Saturday night but I thought it was Celiac related as it started with abdominal/hip pain (even though I was certain I hadn’t eaten any gluten). It progressed yesterday and by the time this morning rolled around I could hardly move so I had to make the call to stay home. My husband knew that I had to be really hurting since I stayed home so he forbid me to do ANYTHING today (we move this weekend so our to-do list is 14 miles long). So I am behaving myself and staying in bed.
But here’s the thing. I feel so guilty. As if I’m being lazy or weak by spending the day in bed. I should be thankful for the opportunity to rest with Abby at daycare and John working on our new house but instead I’m beating myself up over whether or not I’m doing the right thing by staying at home. And then I feel guilty for beating myself up for feeling guilty. Flares are just a part of life with chronic illness and most of the time I just roll with the punches. I’ve learned to grin and bear it as I know there are things to be done but when I get to the point where I can’t, I feel like somewhere I’ve failed and let the enemy (aka chronic illness) win.
So how does one get over this guilt, as surely I am not the only chronicbabe out there dealing with these feelings? For starters, I think laying it all out there is a great place to begin. By acknowledging I have these feelings to start with allows me the opportunity to address them and figure out how to move past them. Second, I think it comes down to knowing your body. There is no other person on this planet that knows my body as well as I do. Over the last 7 years with chronic illness, I believe I have become very in tune with body and when I’m strong and when its time to take a break. So trusting my gut (like Gibbs) helps me to overcome the feelings of guilt or laziness (doesn’t mean they go away though).
So what about you? Any of you chronicbabes out there have suggestions for overcoming these feelings of guilt or shame related to your chronic illness?