This past week was Invisible Illness Awareness Week. Invisible illnesses are illness that impact a person’s life, but cannot be seen physically. They are “invisible” to the naked eye.
One invisible illness is anxiety. Anxiety comes with a whole host of symptoms and emotions. One of the worst feelings is not fear, but regret — the feeling that you just aren’t doing enough to achieve your goals. The sense that life has gotten away from you. That you’re a failure. That you’re lost and can’t get on a solid course.
I relate to feeling lost because my illnesses (anxiety, depression and digestive) have prevented me from doing things people my age (34) are doing and from achieving the goals and dreams I had for myself. I don’t find overly positive ideals and motivational speeches helpful any longer when it comes to combating these demons. I think we need to hold on to hope for a better tomorrow and never give up believing things can improve, but it’s also important to live in the present moment and take each day as it comes and to keep repeating to yourself that you are doing your very best, that this illness really isn’t your fault. Don’t compare yourself to everyone else…you are not everyone else and you aren’t living their life. At the same time other people are not you and are not facing what you have to face.
For me, going to the supermarket is a major ordeal some days. Other people work 2 jobs, go to the supermarket and take care of their kids, while at the same time, managing to achieve their goals. I am not them and they are not me -I keep reminding myself.
This week my goal was to go easy on myself. My dream this week was to just feel a little bit better than I did last week. And maybe help someone feel a bit better too. And guess what? All my dreams and goals came true for this week. Maybe next week I will dream a bigger dream. But that’s next week. Here I am today. And it’s enough.