Chronic Illness, Feeling Lazy, and The Drive to be Productive
Honestly, after weeks, months or years of mostly laying in bed though, even the most rational and typically logical thinking of us are prone to start buying into the mind made belief that we are lazy, unproductive or failures because of the time spent bed or house bound while healing (or, sometimes, even those around us unfortunately might say things to make us feel this way …but don’t believe them. Don’t believe the lie).
The part of you that already knows you are somebody because despite external matters, you do still in fact exist. And while we are talking about external matters, that part of you, who you are at your core, will stay the same whether you are bedridden, famous, or anything in between.
When I hit remission, the first thing I did was move to an entirely different state where I did not know a single soul to work at my dream publishing company. I went to live by myself and be independent in every aspect of my life in what was a foreign land to me, one I had never even visited, after not so much as spending a single night alone for years. I went to be all alone and entirely independent, after having a caretaker around 24/7 to depend on for the previous few years.
Was I crazy? Clearly. But more than anything, I was human. More than anything I was a 20 something wanting to be “productive”. Wanting to be SOMEBODY. It seems that with the return of my health came the resurgence of that particular, nasty egoic but very human state.
While sick, I only had so much energy to spare. I had two choices: use what energy I had left to focus on healing and my inner self, meaning the complete shedding of the egoic state which was always striving to be productive to an unhealthy degree, or cling to the identity of being “sick” and place all the energy of that egoic state into that new identity —into being a spectacular ….sick person? No. Not okay. So I chose to shift into a different state of being, having nothing to do with proving myself as some accomplished person who was super productive. Rather, I let go of that tiresome part, and shifted into a state of being rooted in mindfulness, in consciousness, in present moment awareness.
Perhaps it was never really a choice —to give up the idea that being sick meant I was lazy and I needed to be productive and proving myself to others (whatever that means anyway)—, but rather an inherent instinct to survive because the only way to do that was to drop the facade.
Either way, one thing is clear: whether or not I consciously made this choice to shift out of caring about appearances and into a state of present moment awareness at all times didn’t matter once I healed. Once I got well and got all my energy back, I also got consumed with the desire to be productive, to do 1,000 things at once, to go back into life full force rather than ease my way back in and pace myself. Basically, there was no gradual shift from bed bound to functioning human being. Instead, I went from bed bound to going 100 miles/hr all over again (focusing mostly on surface things …again… like I vowed not to go back to doing), which inevitably led to overexertion. Fast.
Pair that with the fact that I moved into a place infested with black mold, and BAM, within literally one week I went from feeling healthier than I had felt even before getting Lyme to gaining over 30 symptoms back (seriously, over 30, I know that sounds dramatic and hard to believe …and I probably wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t lived it. However, it’s the truth).
Thus, my dream job in the dream state moved to transmuted into an all around nightmare within 7 days, leading me to have to move back home as a completely debilitated person who had to undergo years of treatment once again. In the end, what was it all for? I thought it was “passion”, but looking back, I know it wasn’t. I am not ashamed to admit it was the humanness in me wanting to appear productive and as if I was achieving something great in life …when in reality, I now know the greatest achievement is here, right now, in this very breath. And the next. And the next. True achievement is found no where else other than in the breath, in the here and now. Everything else is just surface material, most of which is meaningless when it really comes down to it —and when you get late stage Lyme and other illnesses, it does REALLY come down to it. So, therein lies the lesson: be okay with where you are at in this moment, especially if sick.
Be kind to your body, to your soul, to your entire being. Be grateful for each breath, do not curse the present, craving a different life (usually one resembling those on your social media feeds…); because I can PROMISE you this: if given that other life you crave, you would still carry with you the very same breath you have now, the one and only tool that is a vehicle to your inner most being. And in that other life, you would for some reason, be craving a different life, and would eventually come to the same exact realization (if lucky) —the breath you are taking at this very moment is the only thing that matters, the only true thing, the only thing that never changes as long as you live, no matter how far you go, no matter how far your external circumstances change.
So breathe, be here now. Healthy or sick,