I am extremely grateful for having a sinus infection, ear infection and possibly strep throat. I know that sounds insane on the surface, but if I have learned anything over the last three plus years, it is to grasp for the positive with claws and hold on tight. I am grateful to be normal-people sick and not chronically ill. I am grateful that I got to drive my own happy ass to the doctors and wait by myself for three hours waiting to be seen.
When I was deeply in my illness, it was extremely difficult to do anything else but throw a fabulous whining pity-party that was all-inclusive to those who surrounded me (I should probably note here that there were not that many people left). I was not dignified when I was sick; I was simply trying to survive. Unfortunately, when I go in feral, survival mode it isn’t very pretty and I barely had my shit together for myself, let alone anyone else. Being sick is a solitary and lonely thing, especially when you aren’t in a very good place mentally and you shut out the world and grit your teeth just to get through.
I am extremely impressed by people who become these ethereal, positive examples when they are extremely and chronically ill. That was not me (I was like a really bitchy version of Satan, complete with cloven hooves). I’ve always been a little bit like that cat-that-won’t-sit-in-your-lap, but the extreme medical testing, and subsequent surgeries morphed me into some sort of hide-under-your-bed-scratch your-eyes-out cat.
Being any kind of sick thrusts me right back into sheer panic. I have to be patient and kind and forgiving to myself and, let’s be honest, that isn’t a talent I possess. Unfortunately, for me, I have had to figure it out. In the way that I figure a lot of things out (the hard way). I first tried to get sober when I was 21 and I didn’t actually get sober until I was 27. That time in-between is what I would delicately call the “hard” way. I repeated many of the same actions expecting different behavior. Not drinking or using drugs is only one component of sobriety and I have to look at how my behavior impacts my life.
I believe that even people who do not struggle with addiction issues, have to look at what they are contributing to how they feel in their daily lives. As Joss Whedon said “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” So today, I find myself trying to be grateful everyday. Some days it is harder than others, and some days the only thing I am grateful for is that I am alive. Turns out my place on this earth isn’t finished. The things I know are greatly eclipsed by the things I don’t, but I realize (even when I feel like I’m in the blackest-of-black abyss) that having a shitty attitude isn’t going to make me or anyone else feel better. So today I am grateful and here’s hoping my next illness will be a common cold sans complications.