Confessions From the Sickbed

Before illness, I counted
days and hours,
not out of drudgery –
I had stretched myself
beyond normal limitations.

Before illness, I wore
responsibility like a hero
and defined by work,
prioritized tasks
above well-being.

Before illness, I joked
about the disabled,
lounging around,
living the life of leisure,
usurping the system.

Before illness, I prided
myself on saying ‘yes’,
being dependable,
loyal to a fault,
thought I was invincible.

As health faded, I trudged
from doctor to doctor,
undergoing tests
and humiliation,
learned to doubt myself.

As health faded, I chastised
myself for being overweight,
and not exercising enough,
and stopped eating carbs
and pushed further.

As health faded, I ignored
my body, failed to set
boundaries, continued
to eat on the run,
shame intensifying.

As health faded, guilt
consumed me –
for the compromises
I had to make, the failure
to meet so many obligations.

Now ill, I value
priorities, recognizing
that well-being proceeds
well-doing, and that
my body has a voice.

Now ill, I’ve learned
that richness is a quality
of living and not a figure
in a bank balance.
Happiness, the same.

Now ill, discernment
decides my relationships,
no longer willing
to negate self
to please others.

Now ill, I don’t pretend
nor strive to meet
the standards that fail
to sustain me;
I’m learning to be.

Now ill, I see
with compassion
how insecurity,
and longing for approval
drove me to demise.

Now ill, I pray
that wisdom and humility
will guide my recovery
and that life will await
this metamorphosis in me.

(This post is in response to The Daily Post prompt:  confess.  It is an edited version of the poem by the same name that first appeared on One Woman’s Quest in December of 2015.)




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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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