Chronically Ill and Finding Diamonds
I'm chronically ill. So far, I've been diagnosed with neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS) and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). I'm also battling something the doctors have yet to figure out that causes extreme dizziness that never goes away, imbalance issues, and frequent falls from both symptoms, among other issues.
For those of you who also fall under the umbrella of "chronically ill," you know it means we won't get well. We may get a little better. We may experience good days and fun times. Getting well like we used to be isn't necessarily in our future. It just isn't.
But. There's always a "but," right? But, just because I'm ill doesn't mean I'm not blessed. Sometimes it's only when life gets us really down that we are able to see the true and lasting treasure God has planned for us.
We are able to see diamonds where others see only coal. We can see light where others see only darkness. We are able to appreciate life's simple blessings that others may take for granted.
I'm certainly not talking badly about those who are well; conversely, I'm so glad they are! I wish we all were in good health, able to come and go as we wished, to be able to walk and run and jump without a thought of how it affects our bodies. To be carefree like that is a blessing!
The Good Days
I don't mean the good ol' days, but the good days. The days we feel more alive, more energetic, and more alert. On those days, I'm able to walk up and down my porch steps a few times to enjoy the outdoors. I may even be able to water the flowers in my small flower garden. I feel like trying to vacuum a bit of the house (I've learned I'm not able to vacuum the whole house in one day; I'm only able to accomplish that in pieces).
Those who are chronically ill consider "good" days in different ways. Some may experience a little less pain. Some may consider it a blessing to be able to have the energy to play with their children in the backyard. Still others may consider a good day when they are able to go to the big box store and still have the mental fortitude to go grocery shopping afterward.
The Bad Days
On the flip side, people with a chronic illness have bad days. Like the good days, there is a whole spectrum of examples of a bad day.
I don't know about you, but on my bad days, I suffer from brain fog causing me to simply stare at the computer screen without a single thought in my head, completely unable to process the information that earlier made perfect sense to me. I also get so dizzy that walking without support isn't an option. Only by holding onto the walls and living room furniture am I able to get around. Bird watching through the windows is as close as I can get to being outside, and trust me, I absolutely love being outdoors.
I have a close family member who has fibromyalgia, and has pain all day every day. Of course she has good days, but on her bad days, I only hug her in greeting with as much pressure as she hugs me with. The impulsive hard-squeezing hugs cause her more pain, and I'd never purposefully hurt her for anything, so I've learned to be more gentle in our happy greetings.
The Ugly Days
Yes, we have good days. Folks with a chronic illness also have bad days. I hope that the use of the term "ugly" days made those of you "spoonies" smile a little. Okay, maybe you didn't smile; perhaps you internally nodded your acknowledgement of an ugly day's existence. Why would someone do that, you ask? It's because we've been there, and we survived that horrible day, that's why.
Ugly days are the days where we may not be able to get out of the bed or where someone may be in such severe pain, they may only be able to concentrate on breathing.
My ugly days seem very long, like there are at least 25 hours are in that day. I may not be able to turn my head without being overwhelmed with nausea. I may have to crawl to the kitchen to try to get something to drink. I just sit somewhere in a comfortable chair in the living room and just exist some days. I can't read a book, play on my cell phone, or write a letter. I just exist until bedtime, or whenever it is I'm finally able to go to sleep.
Hitting Rock Bottom
Having an illness that will never go away is a life-changing experience in many ways, and it takes a strong person to live that life. If we don't consider ourselves strong at the onset, with time we realize that we are.
I've recently hit what I consider to be my rock bottom. When multiple specialists told me they couldn't help me, I broke. I held it in for a while, trying to internally process the information they gave me. I was foolishly relying on myself to be able to deal with the loneliness, the heart-wrenching thought I'd never be able to find help. I resisted talking it over with anyone, because somehow saying it all aloud would make it too real.
Many people diagnosed with a chronic illness experience hopelessness and intense depression. Personally, I know I experienced both of these, along with being frustrated at the situation. I was wishful of a full recovery, yet unable to get my earlier optimism back. I was physically and mentally fatigued. I cried often, I yelled and screamed in tears in the privacy of my home while my husband was at work. I wanted to be angry, but I didn't hold God or anyone responsible.
I felt like this until I finally broke down in tears one night and confided all this to my caring husband in a bumbling, weeping mess, while he embraced me tightly. He reminded me of what, or I should say who, is important and should be my focus.
Remember when I said all some people see is coal instead of seeing anything valuable? That's where I was when I hit rock bottom, and all I could see were the dark rocks in my path.
That all changed the night I was reminded of the diamonds God has given us! Big bright diamonds are all around, but I was blinded to their presence because of my fear and sadness.
I am so blessed to have my family and friends who support and love me. I may have felt all alone, with no one who understands, but that isn't the case at all! Even better, I don't only have the physical family but also my spiritual Christian family is there for me and are praying for me. That's a diamond!
Yesterday, I was listening to the radio while in the shower and I heard the song titled "Why So Downcast O My Soul" and when I started singing this song, I questioned myself. With all these diamonds I'm surrounded with, why should I be so downcast? Why should I still be trying to carry all this burden myself? I immediately began praying, and God answered my prayer by lifting the pressure from my heart almost instantly. I actually felt lighter! God is so good to me!
Whatever it is that is troubling me, such as my health (or seeming lack thereof), is temporary. To know and believe that is also a diamond given by God.
The biggest diamond? I'm bound for heaven! One day, this chronic illness will be taken from me, and I'll never be sick ever again! I will walk the streets of heaven and sing everlasting praise to the Creator. What a day that will be!
"Why So Downcast O My Soul"
Seek and Find Diamonds, Too!
If you're reading this and you don't have a chronic illness, be thankful. If you do have a chronic illness, be thankful. No matter our condition in life, our finances, or our jobs, we can all be thankful. And we can all find the diamonds in our own lives.
So when you feel the pressure of the world on your shoulders and you think you've hit your lowest point, look closely and see the diamonds in your life!
Treasures are always present; they're just waiting to be discovered!
© 2017 Diana Majors