Some of these not good days aren’t even bad days. They are just not good. The weather might be gloomy or chillier or windier than normal. I might be even clumsier than I normally am and drop my mug or spill my oatmeal in the morning. I might miss the train and have to wait for another. Or my back might be extra sore, for no reason at all.
My anxiety might be high, the adrenaline pumping through me like I’m about to take a test or have an interview, but I’m not. All of these things make me feel just frustrated, but in particular the last two.
I want to feel good on days that I should feel good. If I have a long day and put a lot of strain on myself, I understand if I don’t feel good physically or mentally afterward and have to recover.
But those days when I don’t? Why then? Why I am not energetic, or productive, or relaxed? I feel a lot of guilt. I try to push myself to work anyways, to do what I can. Sometimes this works, but sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes I just have to take part of the day off to just not do something. It sounds passive, but often, for me, taking care of myself means physically resting. I heat my lavender body blanket periodically in the microwave, drink my favorite tea, or watch a TV show I’ve watched many times before.
These days sometimes feel pointless, like they’re useless wasted days. I’m definitely not seizing the day or the moment or making each moment count. Who can though? Especially with chronic illnesses? Who has that energy or free time?
A friend of mine developed chronic (almost constant migraines) and had to take medical leave. I asked what she did when she was suffering from migraines, thinking maybe she had a novel way to use that time.
She looked at me with a wry look, “Lots of really bad reality TV.”
I laughed at myself for my unreasonable expectations.
No matter what I do or people with chronic illnesses do, you can’t erase these days or cut out the times when you just don’t feel good. There is no lifehack or magical cure for these days. They just are. And they happen when they happen.
Pushing against them sometimes makes it worse, like when a migraine is threatening and I decide to keep working anyways. It’s a surefire way to make the migraine explode into being and shut down everything.
After that point of no return, I can only sleep or lay awake wishing I could sleep.
But damn it, I still do it. I learn from experience and then I go and ignore all previous lessons, thinking this time will be different. It’s usually not.
I know I need to eat every so often, to lay down when I can, not overschedule myself, not drink sugary drinks, to get enough rest (including naps when possible), and a host of other things.
Sometimes though, I do everything “right” and I still feel crappy or grumpy or sore or all three. This is one of the particular frustrations of chronic illnesses. Sometimes there are no clear reasons, nothing to blame, especially not ourselves.