The prevailing belief in kiwi culture is that if you just try hard enough, you’ll succeed. Try, try, and try again, right? Yeah. It’s a nice idea. But it’s not true, and it’s used to punish people way more often than it is to encourage them.
I should know, I punish myself regularly. If I only tried harder, I tell myself, I could get well. If I only tried harder, I could work fulltime. If I only tried harder, I could own a house and have a baby and visit the Galapagos Islands, preferably with David Attenborough as a personal guide.
It doesn’t matter how improbable any of these things are – if they are or have been at all a possibility that I can wield against myself with the devastating accuracy only one who knows you truly well has – then I will. You’d think it were my favourite pastime, considering the headspace I give it. Just wacking round in my brainbushes, taking out valuable veges and pretty flowers at will.
I’m getting out of hand. You get the point.
When someone is very sick – like, say, I am very sick – it’s not possible to think oneself well. No matter how many wellness gurus might try to tell you otherwise. Thinking alone does not a healthy person make.
In fact, the more I try to force myself to behave like a healthy person; the worse I get. I’m not one.Trying to hold myself to the same standards is counterintuitive. It’s the same as the fact I’m not a marathon runner. Why the hell would I try to keep up with one? I’m only going to do myself an injury.
That doesn’t mean I’m not on the same course, or that I don’t look ahead with the same focus. I do. I want to jump all the same hurdles, I want to cross all the same finish lines. I just have to do that at my pace.
I know this lesson, but it’s one I learn over and over. There’s a part of me that steadfastly refuses to believe this is my life. That thinks I can’t possibly actually have these illnesses. Any moment now, I’ll wake up, and it will have all been a horrific dream, and I’ll jump out of bed and go to work. (Amazing, how your priorities change. God, I’d love to be able to go to work).
The reality of my disease is, I can try as hard as I goddamn want, but it just. Will. Not. Budge. Never have I felt more powerless. I have tried everything I can, for the illnesses, the meds, the side effects. And I’m getting nowhere.