I’ve been both physically and mentally ill for as long as I can remember, and they do play into each other, but right now, it’s as if my physical illness has taken over to the extent that my mental illness isn’t really that significant an issue because I’m so busy trying to manage my physical health and do as much as I can that my mental health is in a very different place. I know I’ll never be completely mentally well, given how much of my life I’ve spent ill. I also know that my physical health is deteriorating and that I don’t know how far it’ll deteriorate or how I’m going to handle it. So I’ve decided to learn to be happy. That sounds odd. I would never ask or expect it of anybody, and I’m surprised to even feel able to try. This may last a day, before it falls apart, but I’m ill. I may well be ill for the rest of my life. There’s nothing to say there is any kind of cure approaching for me, and there are many signs and symptoms that suggest a deterioration in my condition.
The iller I get, the harder life will be for me, and the more overwhelmed I’ll be. I’ve got important stuff to print and post, important paperwork to do and post, and important bills to pay, and all of this is overwhelming me, even though it’s all I have to do urgently. I’ve got a short essay to write, and that’s all I have to do semi-urgently. I’ve got surgery coming up next week, and a trip away less than a week after it, and I need to at least get the paperwork bits done before I go away, because I’m going to need to rest after it. Alongside this, I’m going to learn to be happy though.
Maybe that’s phrased wrongly – I’m going to learn to find beauty in a world that is cut into drastically by my illnesses, and I’m going to learn to appreciate it, so that however ill I get, and however little I can do at times, I have learned to find beauty and peace with myself.
Am I religious? I’m not sure. I don’t believe in the abrahamic God, and I’m not a creationist, but I do believe prayer can be effective, even if it’s just a form of meditation really.
I like stitching and sewing. I like reading. From my bed I can see roses out the window, and a hedge, and trees, inside the window I can see my darling bonsai tree. I have friends that are always there for me in a crisis, even when I can’t be there for them the same way, and I have a beloved boyfriend who is here for me, and who is committed to me despite my worsening health, who understands that and is willing to work with it because he loves me. I need to be better at telling him how I really feel, and how unwell I really am, but that’s something I need to do in general.
I am privileged for being able to go outdoors in my wheelchair, and smell the fresh air, for all that I need a lot of help to do so, and I am privileged to have a family, both chosen and blood, that are supporting me as much as they can.
There is beauty in the world and if I can’t see it somedays, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
I’m not trying to develop hope, because I don’t need that. I don’t want to live in an imagined future where I’m well, for all that it provides a rest when I am tired of the present illness, it is not good for me, it takes me out of finding beauty in my own life, and adds to the feeling that my value is determined on my ability to do things.
I am here, and for that reason alone I have value. I don’t need to create an imagined world in which I’m well to have value, because everybody does, simply for being, for existing. I am not going to fear the future, because that will not make the present easier to bear, and I’m not going to hope for it because that will make the present less real.
Capitalism teaches us that we have value in what we produce, and I can’t produce, so under capitalism my value has been destroyed, but I don’t need to experience the world that way, I can instead see it as having value in my being, deserving support and help simply for existing, and I can see my existence as a hard fought battle when I realise what odds I’ve fought and won against, and how unlikely it was that I would ever make it to where I am.
This is difficult, but when have I let that do more than delay me in my life, and I know that some days I will rely on having learned to find beauty in the world, so I am determined that I will do so, however tired and unwell I am.
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-Whence I am blogging specifically about disability