Normalising my symptoms and my suffering, as best I can, has served me well for the most part. On any given day I couldn’t tell you what my symptoms are without having to really stop and think hard about it.
Spoiler alert. When I stopped focusing on my symptoms so much they were still there. Sorry to those who believe illness is solely created in the mind and manifested into existence by our thoughts.
So I’m still ill, but I’ve been able to normalise my symptoms to some extent. Doesn’t mean they’re not there or that they’re not debilitating. I just can’t always identify specific symptoms anymore. I’m just ill; a generalised illness that is very normal to me.
When you’re at the diagnosis stage you need all the evidence you can get. You might keep symptom diaries and activity diaries. But where I’m at, that becomes a waste of energy. This is not possible for everyone. Pain, in particular, is far harder to normalise in my experience.
I accept as best I can that I am to feel poorly every day. Some people don’t like that. They read those words and respond with “Nooo Anna! Things can get better! Don’t give up on recovery!” Those people struggle with the idea that certain things are beyond our control.
But I digress! Despite the knowledge that I will feel ill each day simply because I *am* ill, I can still lie in bed racking my brains for the cause of that day’s particular awfulness.
“What did I do with my legs to make them burn like this at rest?”
“How much did I do last week to make me so nauseous today?”
“What has led to my vision being more blurry than usual?”
The answer, more often than not, is nothing at all. There isn’t always a rhyme or reason for an exacerbation of my symptoms. And that knowledge is powerful actually. It allows me to step away from the constant self-analysis.
When outsiders might say “Someone must have overdone it last week!” when I share with them that it’s a harder day, it becomes more challenging to remind myself that my normal is to be unwell, and that feeling unwell is not a result of my actions. It is simply a result of having developed a medical condition that has upset my body in ways so few can grasp. I am unwell at a cellular level. My immune system misbehaves. Even when I have been Little Miss Sensible and done everything ‘right’.