Bleach Body Ready
Writing about invisible illness is, for the most part, incredibly cathartic for me. I write for myself, to act (I hope) as an advocate for those in the same rickety boat as myself, and to share information, spread awareness to those who love us, and to those without knowledge of unseen conditions. But there are times when I’ll feel incredibly low and incredibly ill and writing about my condition is the absolute last thing I want to do. I am too busy living, breathing and loathing it.
I feel a sense of responsibility to the people who read my books and blogs and listen to me waffle in videos to keep the momentum up. I know this is unfounded, and for the most part an imaginary series of deadlines entirely created by my own anxious mind. But I still feel like a bigger let-down than a bouncy castle with a pin in it if I am unable or unwilling to write for a day or so. Part of this is part and parcel of living with chronic illness; we often never we feel we are doing, saying, writing, sharing, being enough. That comes from within, and our own experience of having to miss work, social events or series 3 of whatever Netflix show is trending, because we are too sick to leave the safety of our duvet.
I’ve been thinking about this feeling of obligation a lot lately, because I’ve felt unable to fulfil mine. I’ve been focused on writing my next book, alongside working full time and all the daily stresses we all experience. I’m not leaving myself a whole lot of time to just do sweet F.A. [I think that means falling asleep...?]
I noticed recently that when people ask me how I am these days, I’ll automatically assume they want an update on my health; after all what else is there? When I considered the gravity of that statement I felt incredibly embarrassed. Is that all my life has been reduced to? Medical notes? Do I only have mildly humorous hospital tales and bowel-related puns to share with my friends? Is being ill all I am?
Ok so I know the answer to all of those questions is a solid no. Especially the ‘humorous’ bit; my hospital tales are “Hilarious! Five Stars!” – My Mum. But it’s easy as someone who lives day to day with poor health to fall into the habit of assuming everyone else thinks about it just as much as I do. Or, at the very least, that there is little else to me now than being the ‘sick girl’. SO, with that in mind, if anyone out there is reading this and can relate to my ramblings then I suggest you try to take a few minutes each day to remind yourself what you have to offer the world, and what makes you happy. Being continuously ill is exhausting; it can completely consume, so in the moments when we are feeling blue, try to recall what makes you ‘you’. I don’t know you, dear reader, so the work has to be done yourself here; you could be a serial killer for all I know. But if you are a serial killer, then remember that’s not all you are. You’re probably very methodical, with great personal hygiene and a loyalty card for bleach.
There’s always something to be found that makes us uniquely ‘us’ – part of that of course, is the fact that we are chronically ill, but that’s only a tiny piece of the beautiful jigsaw that makes you, you. So the next time someone asks how I am I’m going to assume they want to know about ‘me’ first and my illness second. And that’s exactly what I told those police officers who were at my door earlier asking why I have a loyalty card for bleach.