Fatigue is one of the most difficult things to cope with when living with chronic illness or pain. It can make even the most mundane activities seem impossible, and sometimes it can come on so suddenly that it stops you in mid-sentence.
To better manage life with ongoing fatigue, many of us try to set boundaries. Limiting the time spent on telephone calls, for example, or scheduling only one outside activity per day instead of over-booking and then feeling the ill-effects for days afterward.
But, sometimes and often subtly, the boundaries become thick, impenetrable walls, shutting out things that might bring us a better sense of wellness, productivity, or spiritual resilience. One, brief phone call might become no calls at all. One dinner with friends might become dining each night alone.
Fear can be a powerful catalyst in building walls. Fear of rejection (because of illness). Fear of becoming more ill. Fear of forgetting how to be sociable.
Depression, too, can play a part in wall-building. That feeling of not wanting to do anything, go anywhere, talk to anyone can take over little by little until it becomes all-encompassing.
Balancing our lives and the fatigue that can crush us is never easy. And, sometimes, it is completely appropriate to hibernate. But sometimes, we have to look at our boundaries through more reflective glasses and ask, “Am I retreating out of fear?” “Should I speak with my doctor about the possibility of depression?” “Am I doing enough to take care of myself so that I can have ‘good days’ when I can be more social and more active?”
Good questions, all. And helpful to each of us, no matter how far along the “living with chronic illness and pain” journey we are.
Blessings for the day,