After a rare good health day yesterday, I woke with an ocular migraine in the wee hours of the night- intensely painful pressure behind my eyes wrapping throughout my head into the base of my skull, spinning, dizzy, nausea, body aches, the works- a newish symptom I've been experiencing over the past year.
I finally managed to sit up around noon, shades pulled and coffee in hand, feeling like I was run over by a truck. The busy day of work and email catch up I had planned did not happen.
I am feeling anxious about my future and my ability to manage my finances with this debilitating unpredictable illness called Chronic Lyme. I am in a spiraling flare of the disease after a season of environmental trauma and emotional stress.
There is no quick fix take a pill and get better treatment. Only a long regimen of trial and error to address each area of damage to the body. Good days are simply good days. The goal is to find the right combination of treatment and rest to achieve a whole bunch of good days in a row and stop the progressive damage, in other words- remission. Chronic Lyme does not leave.
Unfortunately people sometimes do. Even the ones who really mattered. The ones you have every right to count on. The ones you needed and wanted to be with the most. In some ways, it's easy to understand; life isn't a fairy tale romance. It's down and dirty in the trenches and real. It often requires more from us than we think we have or even want to give.
It's an eye opener when people check out of your life at the very moment you need them to be there the most. The fact is that it is impossible to have the real connected relationships we are looking for if we avoid the bad days that are bound to come.
We need other people in this journey called life. We are wired for connection and wanting a shoulder to lean on when the storms are raging is not a sign of weakness, on the contrary, asking for help and expecting a kind, empathetic response can be evidence of our strength.
But when it comes down to it, there are certain battles in life that we must face on our own. Like a chronic illness, these battles remain hidden from the observer's eye. Not the battle that comes with fighting for better health, or to save a marriage. Or the one that comes with grieving a death, or losing a friend, or a job.
This is the battle that is both uniquely personal and universal. The battle of the ages. The one that wants us to determine our worth based on our circumstances.
The enemy of my soul wants me to believe that I am less than others, as evidenced by the people who leave, or the illness that stays. It trips me into cycles of anxiety produced performance and harsh self-evaluation.
But there is another voice inside, when I am willing to lean in and listen, the one that wants me to be real and learn to love myself without exception. This isn't a frivolous act or selfishly motivated investment, and it doesn't excuse the actions of others. This is a courageous step to discovering what is true.
We are all worthy of love and compassion. Not because of what we can do, but because our value exceeds what is visible on the surface.
It is at this place of falling apart, where everything around me tries to remind me that I have no worth, that I will rise.
I will not hide in shame or fear, I do not speak to play the victim, nor deny my true needs to make myself small enough to be acceptable and earn a scrap of love.
This is my story, my life. It is not all good or all bad. It is not all black and white. There are magical shades of gray and colors that are exclusively mine. There is nothing I can do, or stop doing, and no circumstance or person that will change my worth.
A wise woman tells me that the enemy's voice is the loudest at the most critical points in our story. I can choose to believe the lies and lose myself in the process, or I can choose to rise and embrace my fullest being in spite of all the noise.
Today I choose to love myself to the fullest. Today I will choose to rise.