I have overextended myself this week. It was a conscious choice, and for some unfathomable reason, I thought that I could pull it off. I was, of course, wrong, and now I pay the price.
ME/CFS is characterized by exhaustion after exertion: any exertion, be it physical, mental, or emotional. I realize that for those who are healthy or fit this is a difficult concept to understand. I struggled to understand it in the beginning, before the reality of it became my life. The hardest part is that I don’t always look unwell.
Living with this disease is a bit like climbing a mountain, for the first time, wearing a skirt and high heels, and trying to bring along a suitcase: the progress is maddeningly slow, and everything you do seems to work against you, but maintaining your composure and looking your best at all times is important, right?
Depression is sometimes wrongly stated as a contributor to the disease – a myth I would like to set straight. While depression can occur as a natural consequence of facing such a challenge (and being knocked down over and over again) it is not necessarily a cause of ME/CFS. The difference is easily discerned: a depressed person would never attempt to climb the mountain. We ME/CFSers will lie in bed for hours contemplating our next move should an influx of energy (an ounce will do) comes.
I know that for many of my friends, colleagues, and family members, it may seem that it is taking an awfully long time for me to recover and that some even question my motivation.
Believe me, when I say: no one wants this to end more than me.
For now, I must get back to today’s lesson: practicing patience. Again.