When I first became ill, I always expected to recover. To get back to how I used to be. But that just never happened. After months of feeling dizzy, having chest pains, aching joints and shooting pains, I have come to realise that this is my new normal. What I used to know as my default setting has changed. That to me is the weirdest thing about being chronically ill. The change from what was once your normal to your new normal.
If you don’t suffer from a chronic illness or disability, you probably won’t get it. I didn’t and on some days, I think I still don’t. Sometimes I sit hoping tomorrow will be the day I wake up feeling the way I used to, hoping I can go back but deep down I know the reality of that is slim.
Things that used to come easy to me such as doing a full day at work followed by a gym session now on some days feel unachievable. Weeding the garden and cutting the grass used to be an hour’s job now takes all day and leaves me depleted of energy. A day spent walking around a city exploring zaps me of everything for days after.
I am 24, I am relatively fit and I like to say healthy – bar my chronic illness! How can cutting the grass leave me so tired. How can that be?!
The disconnect felt between what I think I can do and what I can actually do is not helped by appearing to the outside world completely ‘fine’. I don’t have a viable disability or well recognised illness to pin all my troubles on. Some days people see me and I am a busy bee, working away, going out, travelling etc but what they don’t see if the after effects of that. Me sat on the sofa while my partner cleans the house because I just can’t get it together that day. Or me working from home tucked up on bed because my legs hurt to much to make it into the office.
That is my new normal.