Almost a year ago now I was working 40+ hours a week running here there and everywhere to get things done and spent my days off resting for the busy days ahead. Now my life consists of numerous doctors’ appointments, waiting for referrals, filling in benefit forms and remembering to take tablets. I must admit it has been difficult to adjust to as I have spent the last 3 years constantly on the go with a schedule to tell me where I need to be and what I need to do. Time at home used to be a very rare gift and I would count the days until I had a day off. Now, however, I spend most if not all of my week sitting at home procrastinating.
It is very difficult to be productive when you are always in pain as the line between being productive and overdoing it is very thin. I find that on days that I have a burst of energy and feel motivated often leave me paying for it for the next few days. Living with a chronic illness of any kind can be pretty challenging. It can be difficult to accomplish the tasks that you need to, however, actually doing these tasks takes a toll on you mentally and emotionally and you often start questioning your ability and worth. On many occasions, I have begun to question whether I will ever be able to go out for a few hours without being left exhausted and in pain for the days that follow. Battling with my condition has also had a large impact on my social life. I am unable to plan in advance as I may not feel up to venturing out when the day arrives. I find myself often choosing to stay at home rather than going out and meeting friends as I know what the outcome will be and usually do not feel it is worth the aftermath. I find it difficult to determine how much is too much as on some days getting out of bed and having a shower I could deem as too much.
Honestly, one of the things that have hit me hard is the amount of weight gain the lack of productivity and motivation has left me with. The tablets I am on also do not help as one of the common side effects is weight gain. This is one of the parts of chronic illness that I wanted to talk openly about as I am sure it is something that many people are going through, whether they are suffering from an illness or just struggle to find the motivation. Exercise has become really daunting and as much as I would love to get rid of the extra weight, the pain and fatigue hold me back and it is just easier to sit and eat that slice of cake. Don’t get me wrong, it does not matter what size you are as long as you are comfortable with that size. Unfortunately, I am not comfortable and since becoming a size 16, I have become more aware that my weight continues to increase. Most of my clothes no longer fit and the thought of wearing anything relatively tight makes me uncomfortable.
However, in all of this doom and gloom, there is a light flickering at the end of the tunnel. You have to think about why you want to lose weight. Two of my main reasons would be to feel like myself again and to feel healthier. Although I am unable to control the medical side of things, I can try my best to take some control of my body physically. There is an exercise that you can do but, you just have to make sure you pace yourself and don’t over exert. I am trying to jump on the exercise bike when I can but, not for too long and go to aqua aerobics when I feel up to it. I just have to listen to my body and not work against it and hopefully I will start seeing the benefits
In relation to productivity, many people living with a chronic illness are aware of Christine Miserandinos spoon theory which I have only recently learnt about myself. The general idea of this theory is that someone suffering from a chronic illness or chronic pain would start there day with X amount of ‘spoons’. This person will then exchange a certain amount of spoons for each task (this would vary based on the intensity of the task and how long it would take amongst other things). The point of this concept is that you only have a certain number of spoons to use on each day so you must use them wisely. You can hypothetically borrow spoons from the following but, this will leave you with less to use on the next day. I have found this concept useful when prioritising tasks and to make sure I do not overwork even on days when I have the energy to do more. I would recommend the spoon theory as something to be mindful of and also as a good read.
I didn’t write this post to get any sympathy and I don’t claim to know the ins and outs of what is best for you but, even if one person finds comfort in knowing that they are not alone when it comes to feeling unproductive, then to me this blog is worth writing.