Chronic illness has a way of making one feel very powerless, like they have lost say over much of their own body. But a couple of incidents over the last few weeks showed me just how much power I still retained. And just how resilient the human body really is!
I had the epiphany a couple of weeks ago when I managed to desperately (and successfully) “hold back” a major crash, or at least keep hidden any outward signs of it, while in public. It was sudden, my energy was depleted, and I was feeling dizzy and nauseated as an intense gnawing ache gripped my body. Yet I was not in a position where I could easily make an escape and collapse in bed, or even find a place to be miserable in private.
So I tried my best to look as normal as possible on the outside. I think I was successful because I did not pass out regardless of how close I came. I am not sure how much sense I made during the conversation with my boss. I suspect I said things to just put off the talk for later. Processing anything seemed impossible at the time, as it felt like it took all my remaining capacity for effort to just hold myself upright and stay conscious.
Incidentally, this wasn’t the first time I was engaging in such a battle of will against my body. That was my modus operandi for the first year with FM before I learned how disastrous that is for me.
Given my past experiences, however, I knew I could not keep up the shield for long. Running on auxiliary power feels incredibly draining. Without exception, I always feel worse later when I can finally stop the show. On the contrary, when I am free to “give in” to the crash, I find I swing back from it faster.
I liken it to a dam that is holding back a flood. It works up to a point. But as the force of the water grows, the dam eventually breaks. And then it causes more damage than if you had just opened the dam(ned) gates in the first place. But sometimes it is necessary to risk that damage in order to evacuate folks and save their lives.
Sometimes I wonder how erecting such an internal dam is possible at all. My best guess is by the sheer force of will.
I find it amazing that such will is capable of us puny human beings! And the conscious awareness of that kind of strength of will is certainly a gift in itself. It is a reminder of the power that we hold within us, regardless of how much control we may feel we have lost to our illnesses.
But with great power comes great responsibility. Stronger the power, the more sparingly it is best exercised, so as to avoid its abuse. It will be a rewarding journey as I learn more on how to best channel and direct my will power towards achieving better balance and harmony in my life.