Sometimes I feel like a fraud. I must be faking this. If something is wrong, if I have some sort of illness, how can I go a few days at a time feeling relatively fine? But then again, what does “fine” or “normal” feel like anymore? I honestly have no idea.
These periods of time where I would feel fine used to last a week or two. I would start to believe everything was in my head. I must be normal, then. Right?
In the midst of one of these normal spells, I woke up strong enough to go for a run. I ended up jogging at a slow pace for about a mile, maybe a mile and a half. Instead of coming home celebrating a victory, I came home and sobbed.
What is wrong with me?
How can I be fine one day and barely make it through a day without a nap the next? Is this something I just need to push through and solve on my own? Have I been making this whole thing a huge deal when it’s, literally, nothing?
I was soon reminded by my sweet husband that something is wrong and we will pursue it.
These periods of feeling fine have become shorter and shorter and “fine” has become a euphemism for, “Well, I don’t have chest pain and I’m not fighting the need to lay down and I can breathe pretty well right now.”
Since when did that become fine for me?
If I’m being honest, I don’t know if I want to feel fine all of the sudden. If I felt fine, I’d be left wondering what was wrong for the past year. Did I waste my time and money? Was I faking it? Yes, I want healing, ultimately, but I want answers first. And I’m not sure how to deal with that in learning how to pray in this season.
More honesty? I hate being seen as weak or dramatic. I don’t know where those fears come from, but having an invisible, unknown, and inconsistent illness has caused me to realize those fears. If I wake up feeling ok, I start to worry I’m being dramatic about it and I don’t actually have an “illness.” If I’m not doing well and give in to rest and inactivity, I worry I’m just weak and need to suck it up and get over it.
Do I need to suck it up and not let it affect my life? Am I being weak and dramatic? Have I made all of the right medical decisions? Have I seen the right people? Have I communicated my symptoms affectively? Am I handling this like I should be handling it? Are the doctors missing something obvious? Am I ever going to get answers?
These are the questions I wrestle with every day.
I’ve been writing this post over the past week and it has been so difficult to finish. I started it when I went through a few days feeling ok and I wanted to communicate how difficult it is when I feel ok.
Shouldn’t I be celebrating when I feel ok? Shouldn’t I be taking advantage of these days? Why do I feel guilty for feeling ok?
I feel guilty because all of these people are praying for me and asking how I’m doing and I’m continuing on with tests and doctors and all of the sudden I feel ok for a day? So I must be over-dramaticizing all of this.
But recently, I fell into a period of some really tough days. The time I got out of bed became later and later and the ache and fatigue became worse than before.
Now I feel weak. I feel dramatic. I feel like I’m not handling any of this well.
I can’t win.
And I think that’s the point.
I’m starting to see how much worth I put into what I do and the image I create for other people to see. I can’t quite put what I am learning into words yet, but this summer is teaching me how to truly rely on Christ because everything else that I relied on is deteriorating.
I don’t think I can or will get it right this summer. I just have to learn why God’s grace says that’s ok.
“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” — Psalm 119:37
Oh, that we would have the eyes to see what is worthless. Those things that hold our gaze so steadily. That we would receive life in the ways of Christ.