Let me be honest here. Brutally honest.
It’s been a bad week. Rough. Emotional. Full of pain. Frustration. Stress. And then, just when I thought things couldn’t get harder – depression started to rear it’s ugly head. All while I battle an unexpected flare up of endometriosis complete with my second period this month.
All of this the week of my birthday.
I missed work Monday because I was that miserable. On my birthday.
It’s been rough.
I’ve missed more class this week than I have in the entire semester. Between the exhaustion, the pain and just being unable to do anything – I couldn’t drag myself out of bed. It was either classes, or work – but not both.
I had every intention of getting up and going to both classes this morning, but a rough night of sleep, pain that left me doubled over this morning and the fact that it was one of those mornings where I knew I had to take some serious pain meds, – that wasn’t going to happen.
I hated it.
I wanted to cry (and still do).
Worst of all?
I felt guilty for realizing that I need to take care of myself.
It’s a hard thing to learn that you need to take care of yourself, especially when you are facing so many chronic health conditions. It’s been my biggest fight sometimes. It’s hard. It’s frustrating. More often than not, I’ve pushed myself too hard, too far and too often.
Lately, it’s been too hard, too far and much too often.
When I turned off my alarm this morning, I sat in bed fighting with myself over the choice I made.
Do I go and push myself too far?
Do I stay home and rest?
I’d look at the clock every minute or so, telling myself I still had time to get up, to get ready and get out the door.
Eventually, knowing that I needed the rest, the heavy medication and to take care of myself won. I still felt guilty. Even more so when I woke up after noon, despite knowing how much I needed the rest, despite knowing how bad the pain was this morning.
I felt guilty.
I felt guilty, horrible and selfish for taking care of myself.
I felt guilty for taking the medicine I knew would help me get some relief. I felt guilty sleeping for another few hours when my body absolutely needed it. I felt like in many ways, I’d lost the fight. I’d given in – that guilt was a hungry thing, grabbing onto everything I had and lingering.
I knew that if I pushed too hard, too fast, too often – I’d make myself worse.
I sat in bed, staring up at the ceiling as I felt the guilt eat at me, repeating quietly to myself that I had to take care of myself. I had to put myself first.
There are times where I feel like people around me don’t see how hard I fight. I fight hard. I always have some sort of barrier put up to protect myself.
Sometimes, I stand surrounded by people – and watch and wonder if they can hear me scream as I drown with the fact that self care is hard. Putting yourself first is hard. Learning to do this every day is even harder – but so many times, I feel like it is a silent scream that no one hears.
Do they see the fight in me? I honestly don’t know.
I’ve been at my job for nine years and I am just now getting to the point where I am comfortable telling my boss how I really feel on these bad days, and that is something incredibly hard to do.
Learning to say no, to create boundaries, to take care of myself (in any way I have to), is a fight. Sometimes it’s more than I can handle and I feel like I’m drowning in the guilt – but these are the times where I know I am doing the right thing.
It’s the hardest times that make you realize that you can be at your lowest point, drowning underneath everything but finally feel like you can breathe and just let go.