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The Quicksand of Illness

I just read a post at Chronicles of Fibromyalgia titled “I Am Taking My Life Back.” It was just the kick in the butt that I needed right now.

Going back through my journal last night, I see that on October 13th I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. This added to the lupus and fibromyalgia that I already have was too much. I allowed the diagnosis to knock my legs right out from underneath me. My journals turned, on that day, from positive and hopeful to negative and complaining. I can see that I abdicated my life to illness and while on the surface I kept trying, deep inside I felt defeated. In feeling defeated, I stopped exercising, doing yoga and meditating regularly. I was snacking as a palliative to the pain, both physical and emotional. I wasn’t paying attention to my self-talk and therefore it became too negative.

For me feeling defeated is like sinking in quicksand. The more I fight it, the further I sink. The way to get out of quicksand is to stop fighting and allow yourself to float on your back while you slowly and calmly extricate your legs. I have been flailing in a panic trying to stop myself from sinking deeper into illness without understanding why I was sinking. All along, I was sinking because the RA diagnosis was quicksand. I was allowing it to drag me down and consume me. No more!

I am now going to metaphorically lie on my back and extricate myself from the depths of despair. I have successfully taken control of my illness many times before in my life using my inner strength. I can and will do this again. Without fail, when I don’t feel in control of my life, my illness and my emotions, I don’t do well. Pain begins to return and my mood takes a dip. Enough is enough. Today I begin exercising, doing yoga and meditating. Today I take control again and remember that even though my body is ill, illness is not who I am.

None of this goes against my previous post. I do still think it is time to stop fighting the illness (therefore not sinking deeper in the quicksand). It is time to begin focusing on the good in my life, on my creativity, on having fun and finding joy in my days despite being chronically ill. Maybe I can’t chase illness from my body, but I do not have to let it define me.

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