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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

** balance, depression, dishes and lumps **

“It may be that I set my sights too high and so repeatedly end a day in depression. Not easy to find the balance, for if one does not have wild dreams of achievement there is no spur even to get the dishes washed. One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.” 
-May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

May Sarton + unidentfied feline

I adore this quote. When I first read May Sarton’s journal I was immediately in love with her. Like me, she suffered from rages of emotions where she would nearly black herself out from simply being overwhelmed with feeling. Like me, she was a snarky little creature -- and nothing is more moving to me than something poignant tinged with dry wit. Unlike me, she was super eloquent about it all. Her freewritten journals are perfect little nuggets of everything I’ve ever tried to express myself to be. (My freewrites, by the way, actually have handwritten “um” and “eh” peppered throughout.) This very quote cuddles with me on dark days, and makes me smile on bright days. Here is what it says to me, specifically:

Living with a chronic illness means struggling with the balance of: setting one’s sights too high, setting one’s sights too low, heroism, victimism, depression, and of course, dishes. All of these things reach a sort of heightened awareness to the chronically ill. May Sarton herself struggled with chronic depression (and was still a prolific writer and even turned her depression into art by publishing her journals about  it. You go girl.)

This struggle with balance isn’t new. Read any spiritual book, and it won’t be long before you run into a balance issue. Whether we’re talking about balancing good versus evil, yin and yang, kapha and vata, it doesn’t really matter.

In the Fibromyalgia world what we’ve got to work with is less clear. I like to think of it as a lump (feel free to personalize your lump, we’re all snowflakes, etc) consisting of:


Then we’ve got to take that lump and parse it out. Let’s start with “pain”. That in and of itself is a whole new lump:


At about this point you should be realizing that we are not equipped for this balancing act. Or acts. Hell, it’s a circus at this point.

This realization can possibly paralyze you with fear over the hopelessness of the situation...but my intrepid readers, I say No! Let this information instead empower us! We are absolutely not going to get our lumps (or our lives) in order by following one routine, by following one diet, by reading one book that tells us how to balance our minds. So let’s breathe a collective sigh of relief. This crap is going to take some time.

But remember that we still seek balance, no matter how difficult (or long) the path.

Like May said, we still need those wild dreams of achievement. Don’t just let those lumps speak for you, make you a victim. Keep peeling off a layer, and probing the layers underneath it.

May Sarton + unidentified canine

I have wild dreams of waking up at a regular hour, of whining less, of keeping the bathroom clean, and of painting all the things -- what about you?

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