Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Enter (02/27/06)
- TITLE: ENTER THE MERRY-GO-ROUND OF CHRONIC ILLNESS
By Lorene Weaver
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I just didn’t wake up one day and decide I was going to be chronically ill. I didn’t decide I needed more attention so I got on crutches to do just that. I didn’t think a way out of the dreaded housework was to be ill. I didn’t spend my time reading medical books picking and choosing symptoms from here and there. I didn’t invent my pain. I didn’t create my very unusual manifestations of my illness to wow the doctors. In 1985, I was diagnosed with fibromylagia and received some help with medication to help me sleep through the night. The other symptoms persisted - fatigue, pain, tripping and falling, grouchiness, misery, etc.
In the next decade I discovered the weakness in my legs was getting worse. I fell more. After one fall I started with dystonic like posturing with my right shoulder and arm. Eventually it spread to other parts of my body. I felt like a freak show going from doctor to doctor only to be told it was all in my head (IAIYH). I figured they couldn’t come up with any other answer so to save their professional appearance they blamed it on me.
Millions of chronically ill people stay that way because of the treatment they receive at the hands of their doctors, families, and friends. The amount of guilt heaped on a person classified as IAIYH is crushing, burying them under mountains of self-guilt and the certain notion they are crazy which in turn becomes very self-condemning. This sets up a cycle of extreme depression, thoughts of suicide, and isolation. The stress of this adds more layers of self-destruction to the chronic illness that is well entrenched in such a body. Cycles are like trying to get off a moving merry-go-round at an amusement park and landing in an upright position. What can be done?
I have been through literally years of counseling and I am currently seeing a psychiatrist for depression and a therapist for support and encouragement and, at times, a tongue lashing! I am on cymbalta which has taken my pain from my polyneuropathy away as well as resolving my orthostatic hypotension. My depression is gone. Even with all that being done for me, it was something I read a few weeks ago that has lifted a weight off.
I do not believe in circumstances just happening. I believe that God’s plan and His timing for my life are just what I need to be all He would have me be. These many years of counseling with a therapist and alone with God were needed to bring me to the point I am at. Where is that?
An article stated that “babies and children who are abandoned grow up to be chronically ill”. I had both parents but I was abandoned emotionally. My years of counseling showed me that. My lowest point in my life came at age 36 when I admitted I had never known a mother’s love. Twenty-six years later I read this statement of abandonment and know that’s what happened to me. I am not to blame. I survived the best way I knew how. I hated the pain of abandonment so I turned it off and refused to feel. I didn’t knowingly make myself physically ill. It was not intentional.
Will this awareness make me 100% free from the ravages in my body? I expect some improvement. Finally a doctor is doing the genetic testing I have wanted. I believe there is an answer there. How much of what I have lost muscle and nerve wise will be recovered, I don’t know. Nor do I know if there is any way to stop the progression of weakness. What I do know is that I can do some things to help myself. Before there was no responsibility on me for my upbringing but now I feel responsible for taking care of myself the best I can. I am exercising on land and in the pool three times a week. I just feel healthier and happier for doing it. I stand up straighter, I’m making better use of my abdominal muscles, and I have a smile on my face. I am getting off the merry-go-round of chronic illness because I have a Father God who loves me, a brother, Jesus, who intercedes for me, the Holy Spirit who encourages and directs me, and God’s timing is right.
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