Friday, September 02, 2011

Alone in the Struggle: Dark Night of the Soul

Insert blog post about me feeling sick and tired and in pain from fibro. Insert blog post about me feeling overwhelmed. Same song, eightysevenththousandths verse. Could get better, but it's gonna get the old song goes.

That's why I have not been blogging lately. I don't want to complain and it's been a season, a YEAR really, of going deep within and seeing the blackness and feeling the desperation of not really belonging anywhere except perhaps to a little cyber community of likeminded and like-illed persons.

And the darkness is black enough for me to really have to struggle to see the people in my life who DO care about me, and who DO love me, to really see that they do.

I don't know that it's depression so much as me struggling against a fleshly response to being chronically ill. Its hard, you know, when nobody outside your family realizes how sick you are and have been for a long long time. I wear that mask, the happy face when I'm out or when I'm at Church. What else is there to do? Be honest? My honesty is my absence. The times when I'm NOT at vespers. The fact that I don't have the energy to make it to Matins because I've been sick with mono since January and now am dealing with the fibromyalgia kick in the pants I knew would be coming on the heels of the mono.

I'm convinced that people don't like chronic illness. Makes them uncomfortable. They want it to go away. Or they want to pretend like it doesn't exist, or they want to give me advice that will fix it. "Have you tried X diet?" "Have you tried X naturopath/doctor/medicine?" All those bits of advice really just serve to make the advice giver feel better and to make the recipient of said advice feel like it's their fault or that if they tried harder, they would be well.

I know people love me, but the do so at arms length. That's not love, folks. That's sentimentality. It's not love.

What about: I know this is a forever thing for you. How can I be with you in your illness? How can I be with you in your struggle?

But that particular thing is the thing that is so rarely heard. Makes me wonder how I can help someone else. Makes me wonder what the purpose of my life might be? Can I return the same love to others, even in the midst of my own illness and struggle...even when I've not been the recipient of such love myself?

God help me to see where I AM such a recipient. Because I suspect that I am, but that I'm just not seeing it right now.


Matushka Anna said...

Still praying for you in my daily prayers. ((hugs))

And you'll be happy to hear that I have absolutly no advice for you! I'm just sorry that this is your cross. Hang in there and don't feel bad about sharing.

Anonymous said...

I have MS. When people are quite concerned for me I feel uncomfortable and labor greatly to seem very well and happy. When people are very positive and upbeat for me, or act as if unaware of the reality I live, I feel lonely and almost forgotten in my adversities. God help me!

Xenia Kathryn said...

I've been wondering how you've been doing, Alana. I've missed "hearing" from your corner of the world, via this blog.

I wish I lived closer, so I could offer a meal or something. This past year was a very difficult one for me, too. Sometimes it was all I could tend to the small spark of faith in my heart, throughout the darkness.

Good strength, you are in my prayers!

Linny said...

At the very least, you've helped me see how I can interact with my mom, who also suffers from fibromyalgia, as well as Rheumatoid Arthritis and bi-polar. It's never occurred to me to ask her how I can love her with her illness. Admittedly, I've pushed her away because I get tired of her constant pain and because I don't know how to help her cope with it. So, thank you.

Monica said...

I was just thinking about you today, realizing you hadn't posted in a while. Lord have mercy.

Gold said...

Nice to hear from you again. I don't have any advice either, but I'm reading and interested in what you say.


insulated wine bags said...

Im so happy to hear that you are getting better and stronger. Have a good faith.

pinkpowerlink said...

Ditto, ditto, ditto ditto and ditto! Sweet woman, you have done it again. You have put into words my own frustrated efforts to think through my own feelings. It's very affirming to know you know exactly what I feel, both emotionally as well as physically. We are in community in this way as well as sisters in Christ. Thank you.