The phrase “practice makes perfect” is usually applied to scenarios where someone is learning something or training in some way but here I mean it in a slightly different sense.
As those of you who read my blog know, I have been battling chronic pain and chronic fatigue for several years now and it is an ongoing fight. (If you are new to my blog and want to know about this then I suggest you read this post to learn a little more!)
At the moment I’ve been seeing the Pain Clinic and the physio and we have had many discussions about where my future lies, what I can do to keep fighting and making progress, and how I can work on making myself better and living as normally as possible. I am not going to lie, I feel that my chronic condition has really held me back over the past year, with my health deteriorating so much in the first term of my first year at uni the year did not go how I expected or planned.
Being on holiday and back at home has made me all the more determined to get better. In September Tom is starting his first full-time job and will be moving to London and I want to be able to visit him easily and do lots of fun things. In October I start classes at my new university and I want to be able to throw myself into my course and into extra-curricular activities. I have plans to volunteer at a primary school and maybe with a charity, I want to have the energy for that. I am going to join the local gym and I want to be able to go regularly for proper workouts.
I know, that’s a lot of ‘I wants’. But the thing is for the past year, longer really, I’ve just been settling. Settling for things which aren’t as I planned, settling for something less than I hoped for, settling for a life I wasn’t 100% happy and fulfilled by.
Whilst I know that I will probably have to live with chronic pain and fatigue for the rest of my life, that doesn’t mean they have to completely dictate my life and it’s within my power to live life to the full as much as possible. I don’t want to spend my life regularly relying on people to help me with things, having to constantly make compromises and not being able to do the things I love.
I am not in denial. I know how difficult this is going to be and I know that there will be days and even sometimes weeks when I struggle and feel awful but I don’t have to constantly live as though I am an invalid.
With chronic conditions there are always periods of remission followed by periods of relapse, it’s just the way things are. I just want the remission to be the more significant part of my life. I want to feel healthy and able-bodied, I want to be happy with myself.
This is where the practice comes in.
Recovery and remission is not instant. It doesn’t just suddenly all clear up. Although some of it is just down to your body working better, a lot of it is down to the individual. Healthy living is so important for combating chronic fatigue and exercise really helps with the pain too. Equally your mental attitude can make an enormous difference to how you feel physically.
If I were to give into the pain and exhaustion, to just let my family, friends and Tom do everything for me, if I didn’t push myself to work, to study and to pursue my hobbies, I have absolutely no doubt that I would be worse and this is something my pain consultant wholeheartedly agrees with. It isn’t easy, you have to work past the lower levels of tiredness and aching. But it’s so worth it to be able to live the life you enjoy.
So I will practice pushing myself in a healthy way; not going to extreme to the point that my energy levels drop below around 20% or my pain levels rise above 8/10, but merely gradually doing more.
I will have goals to work towards, building up my physical ability and my day-to-day energy levels. I will make life worth living. I will live the way I love to be, I will make the most of all of the wonderful positive things I have and I will be healthy and happy.
I will beat this.