One of the catch phrases in my line of work, education, is that whatever new thing that comes along, and believe me there are so many “new” things that come our way, is that this new idea, strategy, system, curriculum, etc., is the “New Normal.” It is a phrase used so often our line of work that it really carries no meaning anymore. However, I started thinking about this phrase in regards to my own health.
Although I do not like to admit it, I am fairly stubborn when it comes to my work ethic. What I mean by this is I will sacrifice pretty much everything else to “get the job done”! And, I have been happy to do this most of the time. My work is rewarding, challenging, fulfilling, and interesting. Unfortunately, with my health compromised as it is, the work has become very difficult to perform. It is mentally and physically exhausting. It was this way even when I was in tip top shape, but I was able to balance it out. Now, I force myself to get through the day, sometimes counting how many hours or minutes I have before I can head out to go home.
I HATE this. Really, I do. Already, I have made compromises in terms of work, compromises I didn’t want to make at all. But, I physically cannot keep up like I used to do. Meetings after school? No can do. Extra duties during the day? No can do. Saturday workshops? No can do. I am mostly limited to the 8-9 hour work day, five days a week and even just that can be like climbing Mount Everest. My weekday evenings are spent laying on the couch like a zombie. Sometimes, on the weekend, I can manage a night out, but that is very rare indeed. It is all somewhat surreal. Like this isn’t my life. Sometimes, I think I am having a dream, and I will wake up soon and be able to do everything I used to do at work and otherwise.
But now after 20 months in treatment, I am beginning to realize that in fact, this is my “New Normal.” This is my life right now. It is a hard, hard realism. I’m struggling with it. I would like to believe that if I just keep my nose to the grindstone and keep up my stubborn facade that I will one day wake up and be myself again.Yet, in my heart, I know this isn’t going to happen. While I know I should not look at this as defeat, I feel like it is. I’m wrestling with changing my perspective because I do know that acceptance of this fact is the more positive way to go, but damn, it is difficult!
I am sure there are many of us struggling with this acceptance process. I sure wish it was easier; I wish I could snap my fingers and Wha La! I would be ok with the New Normal.
How do you accept this disease and the hurdles it brings to us? How do you change your perspective about the physical and emotional struggles without feeling like you are giving up a part of yourself?
Wishing all of us peace, -B
I think we have to give up a piece of ourselves when we battle this disease. The bacteria physically takes pieces of us! I struggle like you. I often feel defeated and very sad. It is like you watch the world pass you by because you can no longer join in!! We must hope that someday we can get our normal back!! Sending you hope and strength!!
Thank you, Heather! You are so right about losing pieces of ourselves. I’m trying to turn that idea into a more positive perspective such as not what I have lost but rather what I am gaining from this experience, but wow, it is a difficult switch to make. I wish there was a handbook on how to deal with Lyme! Sending you back hope and strength!
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Wow. I have been battling this exact thing. When my wife or family asks how I’m doing, it’s easy to say “not bad” or even “pretty good” because I’m used to being dizzy, lightheaded, and nauseous (or any number of other “mild” sympotoms) all the time. To me, that’s now normal.
And I’m the same way with work right now. Went back a few weeks ago and I hate that I can’t do everything i want and need to do. It’s hard to come to terms with. I went from being an over-acheiver to a just-get-by type of person. I’m still adjusting to this.
Good luck – sounds like we’re in similar boats.
Hi Brian, first, thanks for reading my post. 🙂 I totally share your feeling of being an over-achiever and trying to become a get-by person. It is sooooo hard! Even when I was an over-achiever, I was still looking to do more, and I enjoyed it. Now, I have cut back on many things, but it looks like I am going to have to do even more shaving. Mentally, this is really difficult for me as I am sure it is for you as well. I have always been hard on myself; stepping down and doing less, well it hurts my confidence and self esteem. Pity party, anyone? I am trying to focus on the positives and the things I can do, but it is still a challenge to let go! Maybe learning to let go and accept myself a bit more is part of my journey. I’m not sure. I sincerely hope your journey is going well. Stop by again if you get a chance.
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