Not everyone knows what it’s like to be constantly tired and in pain. In today’s world where more and more people strive for happiness and positivity everything is black or white. You either have a severe disease that you can get a treatment for, or you are completely fine and if you don’t feel like you are, it’s your choice to change it with “a power of mind”.
But chronic illness isn’t black or white. It’s invisible to the eyes of others, but it's also very real to the ones experiencing it. Chronic pain and fatigue feel real to me. I say they feel real as if they don’t exist because for other people, even doctors, they don’t. They do exist for me though. I live with it every day.
I rarely talk about my physical symptoms as I dedicated a big part of my life to sharing my experience with anxiety. For the longest time I couldn’t accept the fact that my pain is something that I have been dealing with for years, and it’s not going to go away. I still can’t, and maybe there’s something good about it, as we should never lose hope. But I guess acceptance and awareness are freeing, because they let us finally shift our focus to something else.
My every day starts with pain. And every day is somewhat a struggle because of that pain and fatigue that comes along with it. Today was one of those days. But the difference is that I got to spend it in nature.
Sunday morning is usually the time I make tofu scramble for breakfast. Tofu is a great source of protein for those who follow a plant-based diet. I also love avocado toast, who doesn't? Most of the times I find cooking very therapeutic, as well as making a table. Sometimes pain can be distracting when you are in the process of doing these things, but I learnt to enjoy cooking regardless.
Tofu scramble is also a great way to eat lots of veggies in one meal. I basically add everything I find in the fridge at this point. Spinach or kale actually shrink while cooking, so I use lots of it.
One of the reasons why I eat plant-based food is because there is a correlation between healthy diet, mental health and chronic pain. More on that later.
Healing power of nature
It’s been a while since me and my partner went on a hike. Winter is the season of “pillows” for me as I spend a lot of time at home. It’s cozy, but my body still craves movement, and my mind needs fresh air.
Walking for a long time isn’t easy for me as I get tired fast, but it usually takes us a few hours to finish the trail. I am a true believer in the power of nature and movement, even if I am not feeling well, like today.
I think if I do even a little bit for my health every day, it will pay off. My physical state will support my mental state and vice versa.
Walking in nature, capturing those precious moments and trying to be as present as possible is something I am grateful for today. I don’t need much to be happy, and I think that despite all my struggles I manage to balance my life perfectly.
Photography is my second passion after writing, and I spend quite some time taking pictures of what catches me eye. I find that it also helps me to be more mindful and productive as I am doing some "work" while hiking. Being productive helps me deal with anxiety a little bit better.
The air is fresh and crisp, and I am in love with these bare, yet magnificent, trees. Lately I have been quite uninspired, and I am not going to lie, chronic pain does not help with that. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), I think, has also been playing a part. But nature is something that always helps with low mood, especially when there is sun, like today.
It does make me sad to be so helpless when it comes down to feeling healthy, because as any other human I see a strong connection between how I physically feel and my happiness. And now I feel like my health stands in the way to my overall well-being. I feel good with my life, and at the same time I feel weak in my body.
It is just one of those days... I most certainly have days when I feel incredibly strong. Balance is important. We see balance in nature everywhere we look. And it makes sense to us that seasons change one another, that flowers start blooming in spring, and everything looks a little bit gloomy and sad in autumn and winter. It's important to recognize same patterns in our own lives, even within our bodies and minds, and use this time for recovery, if it is possible. Take it slow and easy, step by step. Be patient with your body, be loving with yourself.
As we are moving closer to the end of this trail, I look back to see how far we have come. And I feel a sense of relief: I made it, I am well, I am tired, but I am alive.