Wax On, Wax Off: Fighting Back

So you know that nasty little chronic illness voice in your head? The one that tells you you’re lazy and failing at everything? The one that tells you you’re not trying hard enough or managing well enough? Well, I am working to kick that voice’s ass. If it has one. If not, I’ll kick any part of it I can get.

This how my nasty little chronic illness voice works:

Me: I’m so exhausted. I don’t think I can take Zoey to that birthday party this afternoon.

Demetri: I’ll take her.

Chronic illness: You can’t let him do that. It’s your job to take her. You’ll be failing as a mother if you don’t take her. And you’ll be failing your friend who is having the party. Let me spell it out for you: You = failure.

Me: Are you sure it’s okay? I know you have stuff you want to do.

Demetri: Of course. It’s totally fine. I’d love to take her.

Chronic illness: He’s such a liar. You see him sitting there at the computer? He’s googling divorce. See how he took a sip of tea? That’s to mask the rage that’s festering just below the surface. He thinks you’re an unfit parent.

Me: Well . . . maybe I can take her.

Demetri: No, honey. Please rest. I can see that you are tired.

Chronic illness: Did he just tell you you look like shit? He’s probably setting up a match.com account right now. If you can’t take your own child to a birthday party you are weak. It just proves you are an worthless parent and a draining spouse.

Me: But . . .

Demetri: Seriously. I want you to rest. You’ve done a ton this week. I really want to take her.

Chronic illness: Whatevs. You haven’t done anything this week. The house is a mess, the laundry is still not folded. Look! Dirty dishes by the sink. By the way, when was the last time you cooked a vegetable? And the carpets are disgusting. Vacuum much?  Slacker.

Me: (crying) But I should take her . . .

Demetri: Um . . . what just happened?

Chronic illness: Bwahahaha! Victory is mine!

So. Back to the butt kicking. Instead of letting the voice tell me I’m failing at life, that everything I do is not enough, I’m talking back. Except when I’m talking, each sentence is accompanied by some kind of amazing and arial karate move. You know, in my mind.

CI and ME

Here’s what I’m saying: It’s okay to be tired. (KIIIIYAAAAA!) But even more than that — of course I’m tired. (KIIIIYAAAAA!) I do a lot. (KIIIYAAAAAA!) It’s okay to let other people help me. (KIIIYAAAA!) It’s okay to rest — it’s okay to take care of myself. (KIIIIYAAAAAAAA!)

And in my mind, I am good. I am strong. I. AM. WINNING.

Well, at least I’m winning some of the time. Which is way better than winning none of the time. And that nasty little chronic illness voice? It’s going down. Maybe not today. But soon. Very, very soon.

What does your voice say? How do you beat it?



10 thoughts on “Wax On, Wax Off: Fighting Back

  1. Carrie Roberts Redi

    Jos- Loved this post! It made me laugh so hard, not at you but at myself. I don’t have a chronic illness but I have a voice in my head calling me a failure all the time. My house is always a mess, laundry not folded, dishes by the sink, etc. I did take my daughters to birthday parties this weekend and I had at least one daughter at each party clinging to me as if I had brought her to her death at the edge of a cliff. My voice told me I was a failure for doing something to impend their ability to detach from me and go have fun at a damn party. So, while I cannot begin to imagine the exhaustion and pain you go through every day (and still remain one of the most wonderful people I know), I think we as mothers need to let go of this idea of being perfect – that puts so much pressure on us. I don’t have a valid reason (like chronic illness) to warrant my house looking like a tornado hit it all the time or that I could be featured on the next episode of “Hoarders”, but I give my kids lots of hugs and they know I love them. I do feel good about that. I know you do the same for Z. You go, girl and kick that Fibro in the arse!

    1. joslyne Post author

      Well, I *was* hoping it would get a laugh or two. 🙂 yes, I think we all have a voice like this — no matter what we call it. And I’ve been there with the judgey-bad-mother voice. *sigh* Let’s kick that one in the bum, too!

  2. katecotton

    I love this. I was crippled by my inner voices after the birth of my second child and suffered a serious post-partum depression. My voice isn’t fibro but it is just my limits. And my limits are shorter than other women’s limits. I say “oh look at that woman wearing an actual outfit and taking her babies to go food shopping whereas I have to hire a babysitter so I can go alone. In my pajamas.” Lots of women can do so much more than me. But I *do* do stuff too. It’s the stuff that is important to me and my family. Bringing a little mindfulness to what I do do is hard at times, but helps a lot. Thank you for sharing your experiences because it provides perspective that can be applied in so many ways.

  3. joslyne Post author

    When I read your comment, “My voice isn’t fibro but it is just my limits”, I had an ah-ha! moment. So well articulated!!! All of this is about us accepting our limits and not comparing them to other people’s limits . . . . and then loving ourselves just the same. Easier said than done, I know. But something in all that clicked for me just now. Now I just have to put it into action!

  4. fibrosmart

    Joslyne, you’re awesome, KIIIYAAAAAA! I’m thinking of adding this at the end of all my sentences from now on, KIIIYAAAAAA! I relate so much to everything you wrote here. It’s so easy to let doubt and negative thinking spiral out of control, especially if I’m not feeling well. I think it’s really important that we figure out ways to combat those feelings when they crop up, and getting your internal karate on is hilarious and perfect! Thanks for this, I love it.

    1. joslyne Post author

      Thanks! I was actually doing some out loud KIIIIIIYAAAAAAAA-ing last night and my daughter thought it was hilarious. 🙂 I’m glad it made you smile! I think we should get those ninja headband things. We could *totally* rock that look! 😉

  5. becc03

    I love this post and the comments that have been left.
    I certainly have that voice and try so hard to KIIIYAAAAA! it out of my head. Some days it works, somedays not, but I keep on trying.
    Thank you for this. It reminds me I am not alone.

  6. Anne

    I am sitting here crying a little because I feel like I could have written any of the above comments (well, minus the children component), but I am feeling happy because it makes me realize I am not alone in thinking/feeling “it is just my limits”. And learning to deal with that. Because earlier in life I had no thoughts of limits–and now find I am letting them define me. And that is a struggle. Also I am laughing some because the karate sounds somehow triggered memories of “Tooowaaaanndaaaa”. Fried Green Tomatoes. Strong women.

    1. joslyne Post author

      Toooooooowaaaaaannnnnnnnnndaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!! YES! We have limits and they don’t define who we are! (At least that’s the place I’m trying to get to.) Thanks for your comment. It is amazing to know we are not alone! Gentle high-five over the internet!

  7. Pingback: Learning to Be Unwell (Somewhat Begrudgingly) | Fight Like A Mother

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