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.
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?