When illness strikes hard, stress in my case, our lives can go from activities to isolation overnight, so to speak. It has taken me a few years to lower my pride and ego enough to being able to admit, let alone accept, that there is no deadline of when, or even if, this will be over. Day after day, month after month over the last few years, I would work towards breakthroughs and eventually getting back to life, thinking; “this is it, I have now officially graduated from being ill.” I cannot remember how many times I’ve been back to square one, but my guess is much more than a dozen.
The key here is to just adjust and do the little I can, when I can and accept the tiniest effort to be just as important as my previous days of beyond ordinary achievements. I do know that discipline in eating habits can keep most of the symptoms away. That’s easy to do when alone, but the minute other people start offering me sweets and pleasure eating, even just ordinary modern food, which often isn’t really healthy, it’s slippery slope again. See, I neither possess the discipline of a monk, nor an elite warrior. I’m an ordinary guy, with extraordinary lifestyle requirements. It can be hard indeed to switch back and forth between near social isolation and ill health.
Having that said, a secondary acceptance was to admit that my exposure to most people is going to be close to zero. When your network consists mostly of people that can easily handle an ordinary lifestyle and you haven’t developed superior discipline yet, you’re left with three choices:
- Constant failure.
- New friends.
I’m more than fed up with constant failure, and isolation is mostly being solved by walking around in society with Spotify on great headphones.
The people around us and the expectations of society, coupled with lifelong programming has a way more profound effect on us than most people realize. I’m still dealing with guilt from using expensive headphones that I bought in 2001, because I’m currently on welfare. The conservative rhetoric feels like: “You don’t deserve to be happy because you’re not paying for it.” It got to the point that I have deleted an old friendship entirely: Whatever it takes to get back on top. Right now, I don’t have the energy to care what people actually mean, it’s all about how it affects me and if it’s an obstacle to getting back to life and work, it’s simply a matter of a very quick sacrifice. I didn’t feel good about it at all to be honest. The relief is immense though. It’s like going out for fresh air.
This was just one step though. I will have to remain consistent in being realistic and humble to the very fact that most of my limitations are inside my head and thereby not only my responsibility, but also my opportunity to reap. I have accepted that whatever I do may not be enough, that this is an ongoing educational process and that I really don’t need to get back to my previous life. That in itself is a relief from the obligation of serving the expectations of society, and strangely enough, a fresh breeze of air that tells me that I might actually get back faster and better than I dare to expect.
Removing the need to win a race I’m not currently fit for and just accept that it is what it is, makes every day more enjoyable with little steps forward every day. Genuine acceptance does indeed smooth out internal frictions.
Thank you for reading,