I’m a spontaneous kinda gal when it comes to writing and expressing my feelings. I really struggle with blog planning and find I lack sincerity, when not writing from a place of passion. This isn’t to say that other blogs are like this, but mine most definitely feels real when written on a whim. However that’s not to say that I do not envy those who find it a simple process of planning and execution!
So why I am I writing today? I had a dream, a really crazy, scary, realistic but inspiring dream! I was in my daughter’s bed, trying to rest and sleep off some pain and exhaustion. However my sleep was not restful, in fact it was quite the opposite. I began to dream that I was laying there, feeling very unwell. Unable to open my eyes, to speak properly or to move. Three people were in the room, as well as my children, trying to rouse me because we had to go out.
The first person to approach me was a person I know only by passing in the street. They were telling me I must get up, that I’m just being lazy and it really isn’t that hard to get out of bed. The second person was someone I know through my sickness and advocacy journey. They tried to pull me up to no avail and I snapped at them. They then proceeded to mock me, saying I was just attention seeking and could try harder. They also gave me a look of understanding but continued to disbelieve my current state. I looked wishfully at them, trying to use facial expression to show my desperation for belief. The last person in the room was my partner James. He touched my head, felt my chest to assess my temperature. He lifted me into his body and lifted me to a standing position, where I only stayed through his embrace. He carried me out of the room and then I woke! All the time my children were witnessing my encounters and looking questioningly at me…and with sad eyes.
The craziness did not end there. I woke feeling very unwell, almost as awful as the dream had conjured up. My daughter was in the room with me and had placed an extra blanket over me and was cuddling me tightly. I don’t quite know why but this dream had a profound affect on me but I had the urge to get up and not only write this but about my recent encounters with opiods and Fibromyalgia, and to draw for the first time in MANY years.
This dream signified all the things I have worried about, angered over and been grateful for over my years of sickness. The lack of understanding and blatant dismissal of my chronic conditions from strangers and acquaintances. Then there is the support and temporary help of those that should understand. Those that have known me, seen me slip, struggle and sometimes fall…yet have still judged when I have failed. I felt emotional pain when at this point of the dream. My first encounter brought me frustration but this one pain. Then came James, my constant. My dream was symbolic of all he has done and continues to do for me. The absence of judgement, the unconditional love and support, the fear he feels too and the acceptance that sometimes all he can do is embrace me and hope.
I have experienced these encounters and emotions over 12 years. Each one starts a fire in me. A fire to raise awareness so that the stranger can better understand my situation and of those like myself. This fire fuels my frustrations and empowers me to learn more, share more and guide others to do the same. Then there is the fire that burns for understanding from those I try to work with and connect with. Those I feel should understand when times get hard, or when I screw up. Those that forget no one is perfect and that we need others that go through a similar situation, to reach out and say ‘it’s OK, me too’ or ‘don’t sweat it, I’m not perfect either’. Then there is the fire that burns so bright, that the only thing I can do is use it to be grateful and love hard. I cannot do anything but fall into this fire to relinquish all power and fear, and allow those that love me unconditionally to look after me.
This may all seem deep and crazy to some, but I confess I have been following the 12 step programme (often used by addicts) and for the first time I have been putting my faith out to pasture. I am learning to understand that I cannot always plan ahead. That things happen for a reason and that a higher power will take care of things, if I only believe. I’m on step 4, the step that requires me to write a moral inventory. This inventory will be a list of all my faults, all my wrongs and all who I have wronged; it’s pretty heavy stuff! I am fortunate in that I have an incredible mentor and feel at ease with the process. I have been through self-reflection and change before but this time I need to exorcise some ongoing demons and not just improve on my character. I believe this dream was an important step into realising some of the anger and helplessness that I feel. I need to let go of this and so writing it down is a cathartic but necessary task.
The reason I wanted to share this dream, is because I feel many with chronic illness face these emotions. We have all experienced those who do not understand, those who do, yet abandon us somewhat and then those that never leave our sides. We all feel frustration, fear, anger, denial, hopelessness, hope and acceptance. It’s ok to feel ALL these things but it is better to open up and discuss or face them too. As I have written in a previous blog, grief is not linear. It comes in waves and throws us off balance. We feel we must be fixed instantaneously, yet know this is not possible. This creates more frustration, anger and fear. So what if we just try to embrace these emotions? What if we trust in that higher power and tell ourselves that it IS going to be ok? That this is a process of self-growth, of our personal evolution.
I don’t want to be frustrated anymore, I don’t want to resent or be angry at those who have wrong me or who I have wronged and I don’t want to fight against the times when I am helpless, or feeling that I do not deserve the unconditional support I receive. I am human, I am weak, I am helpless…yet I am strong and I am hopeful. I will trust in the programme I am following and I ask that those who I fight for, to know I will continue to do so! To those I have wronged or have wronged me, know I want to make amends and to those who support me, know that I love and appreciate you and surrender to my fate.