I put on such a good face and fool everyone so well.
I write a blog about living powerfully with CFS / ME for heaven’s sake!
But sometimes I really don’t feel powerful.
Sometimes I really don’t feel like I’m coping.
Sometimes I just get overwhelmed by the pain, the fatigue and all my responsibilities in life that I have to step up to in the face of chronic illness.
Tonight is one of those nights.
I feel vulnerable.
I feel weak.
I feel close to tears every few minutes.
It all feels a little too much tonight.
I know it will pass.
I really do this time because I know the way I’m feeling is just a result of my body starting to recover from the stomach parasite.
I know the stiff, sore, achy, tired body I have tonight is just my body strengthening and readjusting to being able to be more active after so many months of not being active.
But it still feels yucky!
I’ve never liked feeling vulnerable. Does anyone?!
I wouldn’t think so, but maybe there’s some people who do.
But ironically I’m quite the crusader for being vulnerable and showing your vulnerability.
This might not come through in my back-against-the-wall posts such as CFS & Pain: A Silent War On An Internal Battlefield, but I’m a big believer in acknowledging your emotions and allowing them to be expressed.
Feeling vulnerable is included in this.
Showing one’s vulnerability is not always appropriate.
If we go around on a daily basis showing constant vulnerability, people will take advantage of that – we are, after all, just part of the animal kingdom when it comes down to it, and when weakness is sensed in someone, it can be seen by others as an opportunity to “go in for the kill”.
But that’s not what I mean when I encourage people to allow their vulnerability and show it.
Showing our vulnerability lets others see that we are indeed human.
We are just like anyone else – subject to moments of fear, anxiety and weakness.
It doesn’t mean we are not also powerful, strong, amazing human beings.
If anything, it shows that we are also courageous enough to admit to the parts of us that we may not be so fond of.
Others relate to vulnerability. They don’t always relate to feeling powerful.
I talk a lot about living powerfully with CFS / ME and changing the context of how we view illness.
But I do know that something that has really annoyed me over the years, at times when I have been really, really low, has been someone who’s totally healthy telling me to “think positive” or something similarly glib.
It took me some years to just smile and accept that those people were just attempting to cheer me up or contribute to me in a positive way.
Ditto for those offering me advice on what they believed the “cure” was to my CFS / ME.
Everyone is just trying to be a contribution. I now get that communication just as it is and say “thank you”.
So back to vulnerability.
For me, it’s scary to admit I feel vulnerable.
I remember at a particularly low point last year, when I just knew I had to snap myself out of my constant crying and feeling of helplessness.
I knew I had to reach out to someone I trusted and ask for their help.
But it took everything in me to write that text “Can you talk? I really need you”.
When I spoke to my friend soon after, I told him how hard it was to say I needed him.
He asked “why?”, and I said “because I don’t want to need anybody. It scares me to need anyone”.
And it still does.
I’m a 40 year old woman who has had her heart broken once or twice, two divorces under my belt, and have dealt with being a single mother for many years.
To me, falling into the trap of “needing” someone is a recipe for disaster.
But there’s a difference between needing someone for my existence and identity and just needing someone to support me in a given moment.
Being needy and relying on another person to identify you and validate your existence is something very different than needing their support at times.
The former is something I think we probably all struggle with, and I like to think I do alright in that area these days, but I still have my moments.
But in general, I’m a strong, independent, powerful woman who lives my life the way I want to live my life and not at the effect of my circumstances.
Occasionally though, like tonight, I admit I could do with a cuddle.
I could do with someone else around the house who could do all the jobs that I’m required to do.
I could do with the general stresses of everyday life to be lifted a little – to be shared by another.
But that’s not what I have.
But what I do have is the ability to express my feelings, thoughts and vulnerability in words and share them with a world-wide audience on a blog.
THAT is my power.
So many people don’t have that.
I sometimes forget what a gift literacy is, and what a gift it also is to be able to openly reveal my vulnerabilities, feelings of weakness, and moments of doubt and fear.
If you’re a person who just doesn’t feel you CAN show your vulnerability, have a look at what you make vulnerability mean.
In this post I’ve revealed that I sometimes equate it with weakness.
That is a learned habit, a story I have carried from childhood.
Maybe you have a similar story.
But to admit our feelings of fear, vulnerability, doubt and overwhelm occasionally shows incredible courage. It is not weak.
So allow yourself moments to just cry if you need to.
Write in a journal, write a poem (I often do this), get on the phone to a friend … do whatever it takes to just admit you’re not doing so well and need some support, whether from your own inner resources and tools or from an outside source.
It’s incredibly therapeutic, and remember, tomorrow is always another whole new day.
THAT’S what I’m looking forward to! 🙂
Good night. Sleep well.
And Keep Smiling. There’s always someone worse off that you 🙂 (isn’t it terrible to think we have to sometimes use other people’s misfortune to make us feel better, but I think you get my drift! 🙂