Over the years I have gotten pretty good about accepting the limitations placed on me because of medical issues. My diet is extremely limited, so I’ve learned to eat before going to group gatherings, to carry food with me, and to cook just about anything using substitutes for the foods I can’t eat. I figure it out and despite limitation continue to enjoy food. I’ve learned to work around injuries when exercising. Tendonitis in my ankle flares up, I do Pilates instead. Costochondritis (rib inflammation) flares up, drop the Pilates and embrace long walks. Break the living shit out of my toe, let’s do some leg lifts. I adjust, I modify, I keep moving.
My mental illnesses are a bit trickier, because they can’t always be planned for. But where I can, I plan. If I have a day filled with crowded spaces and constant interactions with people, I make sure I have a nice quiet evening at my house planned for that night. I have a light on a timer in my bedroom that turns on every morning to help simulate the sunrise. I keep lavender on my night stand to take if dreams wake me in the night, and I have gaba in my purse to take if I’m out and about and start to feel panicky. I accept my limitations and I work around them.
At least on my good days I do. On my bad days, I feel like I’m being betrayed by my body. I feel like there is some sort of conspiracy to prevent me from doing anything useful, or anything at all for that matter. Then I spiral down into self-pity and resentment and my depression kicks in and all I want to do sleep all day. But if I sleep all day, then I wake up and feel even worse, because then I REALLY didn’t get anything done. It’s a vicious cycle, and can feel never ending. At least that’s how it’s felt lately. So I’m adopting a new mantra. Okay, it’s not new at all, it’s actually well-worn, but I’m pulling it out of the closet and dusting it off.
I’ve been repeating this to myself a lot lately. When I feel like I’m not writing enough, creating enough, or moving forward in my career. When my dogs are bouncing off the walls with energy and I just want to take them on a nice long walk, but have to remind myself to let my foot heal so I don’t have to have surgery. And especially when I look at everything the current administration is doing and I want to take action, protest and make my voice heard, but some days the thought of even making phone calls is overwhelming. It is on these days that I am now saying to myself – Do what I can, when I can. That is enough.
That is enough.