That title sounds a bit depressing doesn’t it? I think it’s something that we’re taught from when we’re little, or maybe it’s a cultural thing, but we tend to keep going beyond when we should, push too far and not really know how to listen to our own bodies when they’re giving us the warning signs. I’m mainly writing this from a spoonie point of view but I think it’s something that people without a chronic illness need to learn, or remember, so this post is a bit of a friendly reminder as sometimes it takes someone else saying something for you to really acknowledge it. At least it took someone saying it to me for me to stop feeling guilty about it.
As spoonies, people with a chronic illness, we tend to be forced to learn this lesson. A lot of us either don’t realise what we have or don’t get an official diagnosis until we’ve got to the point where we’re stuck in bed all the time. This means we often have already done the pushing beyond what we should as we didn’t realise that we should have stopped days, weeks or months ago and rested rather than pushing on and trying to do what we had always done.
Even after having ME for twelve years it’s hard to accept sometimes, especially as I can see how much I have improved over that time and it feels a bit like taking many steps back, but there are days when you have to give in to it. Whether it’s because you’ve done too much and your chronic illness is at the point where if you do more you will be paying for it for a long time or because you have a bug that’s going around. It doesn’t mean the chronic illness has won, it just means you’re taking a rest to fight it stronger when you’ve recovered a bit.
Pushing beyond what your body is telling you can be good, to a point, but it’s knowing this point of no return where the repercussions are going to be worse and either extend the illness or your recovery time. As I said before, most of us spoonies have learnt this lesson over time, even if we choose to ignore the warning signs sometimes, but I think it’s something people without a chronic illness should remember too.
So this post was a friendly reminder that, if it’s one of those days where you just can’t get up, where your body is telling you that you’ve gone way over that line where you should have stopped, then try to take some time to yourself. Give in to it, relax and try to spend a day (or even an afternoon if a whole day is impossible) doing nothing. I don’t mean maybe doing some tidying or things you think of as ones that take no energy, truly doing nothing but laying down with a duvet, your favourite show or book and letting your body recharge. And try not to feel guilty about doing this. Maybe guilty is the wrong word but you do what you have to do to keep your health as best as it can be.
Just because you give in to it for a bit doesn’t mean your giving up. It means you’re being sensible and you’ll recover from whatever it is that set you back that bit quicker. If you are able, and I know it isn’t possible for a lot of people, try to take one day longer than you expect to if it’s a bug or illness alongside your chronic illness. It’s hard not to start doing things as soon as you feel able but, as spoonies, we know that if you do things too soon then it takes even longer to recover.
This post comes from a duvet nest as I’ve managed to catch the bug my parents had in too of coming back from a weekend trip for a family wedding so I’m crossing my fingers this post makes sense!
As a side note and totally unrelated to this post it made me smile how many times autocorrect thought we were spooks rather than spoonies, now I’m seeing us all as spies. I hope you’re all as well as possible.
The sign link is here, they’re in the U.K. and cost £4.99 if you’re interested.