I have always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason – no matter how shitty the thing is, there is always a bright side. There is always something great that comes out of something awful, even if that great thing takes years for you to see.
I haven’t quite figured out the ‘reason’ behind me getting sick yet but I have a few ideas. I don’t think I’m particularly deserving of it but that’s not how these things work. It’s a fact of life – not everyone can be healthy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be happy. We all have our days where things are too hard and we lose sight of our goals – whether you’re sick or not. Before getting sick for me this was doing bad in an exam or relationship stress. For me now, it’s not being able to shave my legs or brush my teeth some days because I am too weak. Yes sometimes things in life are hard, but without these hard times – how would we appreciate the good times?
This was how my morning started the other day …
It took me almost half an hour to motivate myself to get out of bed and brush my teeth. I wasn’t procrastinating – I was literally trying to scrounge up every ounce of energy I had to get up off my bed and walk four metres into my bathroom. I got up, my legs barely holding my weight, and stumbled into the bathroom using the walls to prop me up. I grabbed my toothbrush and immediately I could feel the weight of something so small, it was as though it were 50 times its actual size. My hands were too weak to turn the tap on. Fuck it, I thought. Who needs water anyway? I picked up the tube of toothpaste and tried to squeeze some out – nope, not happening. The tube wasn’t nearly empty or anything – my hands were just too damn weak. I ended up basically wrestling the toothpaste between my knees to get some out. By this stage I was puffed out. I couldn’t stand to brush my teeth so I sat on the toilet. The motion of brushing back and forth was exhausting my arm and after less than a minute, I had no energy left to keep brushing. I got up and went back to the sink, where again I wrestled with the tap – this time successfully. I realised I had drooled toothpaste down my mouth and neck but couldn’t feel it. This was it. My day was over. I actually had to go back to sleep for hours after this. The tiny amount of energy I did have was gone; and what had I achieved? Poorly brushed teeth. Wow.
After this morning, each day that I get up and brush my teeth without too many complications – I am grateful. Today is a better day I tell myself. If I hadn’t had such a shitty morning that day, I would have never gained this appreciation for being able to start my day with something as simple as brushing my teeth. This isn’t me saying ‘be grateful that you can brush your teeth because your life is better than mine’ this is me saying when you have a shitty day, look for the silver lining – because believe me it’s there. You may not be able to see it straight away, but those clouds will clear and a rainbow will emerge.
When I tell people that I have a positive attitude about my illness – that doesn’t mean I love being sick and there are so many great things about being sick – because that’s a load of shit. Being positive about my illness is not focussing on all the things I can’t do but instead looking at what I can do and being thankful for that. Being positive about my illness is realising that without it I wouldn’t have been able to fall in love with writing again. Being positive about my illness is realising that I have so many people around me in my life that love me unconditionally and have helped me through my hardest days. Being positive about my illness is accepting that some days I’m going to struggle to do anything other than breathe but knowing it’s okay because not every day is going to be that bad. Being positive about my illness is accepting that it’s something I can’t change so there’s not point wasting my life being sad about it.
Maybe my ‘reason’ for being sick is to inspire others, to help them through a tough time. Maybe it’s to grow as a person and develop inner strength. Maybe it’s to prove that we are not invincible or to show that life’s too short to waste not doing the things we love while we can. Maybe it just is the way it is.
Whatever the reason is, I’m sure time will tell. Until then, I’ll keep finding my own rainbows in the dark.