Out Of The Darkness

It is time to start blogging again. Writing provides a cathartic outlet for the thoughts that are continually swirling around in my mind. They are thoughts that I know others who
live in a world of illness or pain, can totally relate to and hopefully also find some comfort in.

On a daily basis ‘WE’ who are ill, wear a mask so that those around us perceive us as being strong, or “coping well”. There are definitely times when this is true, but more often ‘WE’ are masking the truth of the pain and suffering that we are experiencing on the inside.

Following Christmas this year came months of deep, dark, depression. I can only write about it now, as the darkness has started to lift and I can feel the sunrise peaking up on the horizon. This time period was a time where I have wanted to just lock myself away in the safety of my apartment. I found it difficult to be around people and I had cut off from even some of the closest of my friends. I was tired and weary of wearing the happiness or ” I’m fine, thank you” mask. My emotional banks had been depleted and the time had come to stop living in denial of my illness. Coming to terms with the words Specialists had delivered, “there is no cure”, caused me to start taking my illness seriously, which for me is spending time alone as I needed desperately to replenish my emotional bank account and locate an inner strength that I knew lay somewhere inside of me. When you keep giving and putting the needs and welfare of others first, your emotional bank, action by action, depletes this emotional account. Holding fiercely onto your independence in this situation has the ability to empty this account even quicker.

I have learnt that balance is needed in all aspects of life. Not just physically, but emotionally, socially and spiritually also. It is okay to accept help and say yes when assistance is offered. I have had to learn that it is not viewed as a weakness to own the fact that I cannot do all that I used to. I have had to accept help as required and learn to be honest about my physical limitations, both with myself and with others. I have been provided with new found strength to speak up (this is definitely a work in process though) asking for what I may need or expressing how I am truly feeling!

I am so grateful to have such an amazing support network of families and friends. To help them understand what is happening with my body I provided information sheets on my illness. The illness is rare and loved ones had found it difficult to fully understand what was happening. This information sheet saw a real change in attitudes and an ability to understand what I had quietly been experiencing. I recommend this task highly. Their love, support and acknowledgement of my daily struggle with pain has helped me to find my way through the fog and darkness of depression. I began to feel that it was alright not to wear my ‘happy’ mask all day, everyday or when the special people in my life were around.

Depression is a difficult experience. One that can come and go in waves and creep up on you when you”re least expecting it. Each of us will have different actions that we can take to improve our mood. For me it has been meditation classes, short walks with my puppy and making an effort to spend more time with family & friends. I still have my difficult moments, but try to remind myself that life throws all of us challenges and it’s how we respond to these challenges that makes all the difference to our quality of everyday life.


9 thoughts on “Out Of The Darkness”

  1. It’s really a cool and helpful piece of info.
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  2. Hi Narelle–thanks for following my blog! You give me inspiration to get out a blog post that I have been trying to write for monnnnnths. I am a very big fan of yours. It just feels like we have so much in common. I have a different disease, but I have chronic pain, and anyone with chronic pain, I think, can understand the many miseries. When I got your post yesterday, I stopped everything to read it, and seriously, I was dumbfounded! That grey cloud you described sounded a lot like what has been stopping me for the last several months.

    For me, it hasn’t been a dark depression as much as it has been exhaustion from that very smiling and telling everyone everything is fine that you described. I just couldn’t articulate what it was until I read your blog. When you said it….well, I just can’t thank you enough. You know, the other thing is that I feel pressure to try things, to prove that I am getting better. Because some days I am better.

    Like, for example, I went swimming in the ocean for the first time in six years a few days ago. Fantastic, right? But it took me two days in bed of recovery. Nobody who said, “See? You can do it!” walked the floor and tossed and turned in pain for 48 hours. Do you do that? Just to please someone, you do something that will make you look good in the moment–and please that person. But you know there is a good chance that there will be hell to pay later….

    I’m sorry to vent. But I wanted to thank you for finally helping me understand what was keeping me in this downturn. I’d rather soak up some sun. It is, after all, the heat of summer here in Virginia.

    Best to you!

    1. Dearest Heidi, thank you so much for your words of inspiration. I could totally relate to everything you stated, especially your ‘swim’ experience. I spoke about your experience and we both agreed my next blog should be on invisible illness. Take care dear friend 🙂

    1. Hi Adelineannie,
      Thank you so much for your encouragement and it certainly feels great to be blogging again. Following an overwhelming reaction to a similar Facebook page earlier this year indicates that chronic pain and illness can be extremely isolating. Hopefully by putting my thoughts down it will give comfort to someone who may be feeling the same and know that they are not alone.
      Having a reliable and ongoing support network is so important, especially if mobility becomes a problem. Thank goodness for Social Media.
      Health & Happiness

      1. Hi Chronic Pain Survivor,
        I am transitioning from using my work identity to my out-of-work identity. In real life i am Jenny, OT, with whom you have been in contact, via Coralie. Adeline was my Grandmother’s name, and so ‘she’ is my pseudonym. She was such a strong person in my life until her death on my 17th birthday. i am yet to overcome the nervousness of blogging as my own self. I admire you enormously. So i am starting small, and with my pseudonym. When i do a bit more to my blog, i will indeed share it (anf this means working out how to share it! Such a dinosaur!)
        best wishes

  3. Chronic pain survivor, fantastic to read your new post, albeit describing the difficult journey you have been making. One of the sayings that has been like a mantra for me over the years is: ‘Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.’ My journey has been very different to your own, though at times the difficulties seemed insurmountable. Family, friends and inner strength are so important. Keep safe

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