Something I learned about myself recently that changed my perspective.
I disappeared from here for a little while. I guarantee it most probably upset me more than anyone else! Starting this blog and connecting with people, both chronically sick with vestibular or other disorders, or those from my past has been incredible. This space has allowed me to express what it’s like to live with vestibular disorder and has validated others going through something similar. It has been without a doubt one of the best things I’ve done in a while.
Sharing my story and illness has been empowering and exciting, whilst also testing my physical limits. So it has allowed me to reflect and once again re-evaluate my own expectations, especially on this platform – and I’ve learnt something pretty wonderful about myself.
I think we are all guilty of putting too much pressure on ourselves in life and getting swept up in excitement! For me, even though I realistically know my physical limitations due to illness, I’ve been getting frustrated on days where I am symptomatically a lot worse and unable to do what I had planned. Go figure, I know an insane amount about my illness and management, I accept it, I live and breathe it – yet for some reason I was frustrated that my brain couldn’t keep up with the unrealistic expectations I put on myself… Make sense of that for me would you?!
So why am I frustrated? Unpacking this makes me think it comes down to motivation. Motivation isn’t really something I’ve ever lacked. I’ve always been able to give my all towards things I set my mind on. Even the way I have fought hard to get better since being diagnosed. But I am now feeling motivated *to do something for myself* for the first time in a long time; outside of physical progress or healing. It is motivation for sharing my writing, connecting with and potentially helping others. This type of motivation has been so fulfilling and has spurred me to keep going.
But now that same motivation I so willingly welcomed into my life in a new form, is being challenged. My vestibular brain was pretty quick to put the brakes on and go “but you can’t physically handle too much more!”
So that’s how my motivation met frustration.
When speaking through this frustration with one of my best friends, he reminded me of something pretty great. I’ve developed patience and understanding from my experience with illness that other people search a lifetime for. And he’s right.
I’ve embodied patience like I could have never imagined over the last three years – for myself. I don’t question, I don’t dramatise, I don’t wallow (too often). I am patient, which allows me to accept, to experience things as is, and to not let anxiety and stress take over.
I think patience is something you develop more of and learn to get comfortable with when chronically sick. So just like I live with patience for my illness, I need to introduce patience to this creative outlet.
From this conversation I came to appreciate this growth of myself caused by my illness. Vestibular disorder has taught me a tenderness for myself that I needed. Something I quite often afford to others in my life and they come to me in search of. But battling vestibular disorder has meant it is now my turn to treat myself with this same softness and understanding, and apply it to what I do here.
So creating looks different for me now. It has had to get a little more organised which seems counter intuitive, scheduling in creativity! But it’s a necessity for me. Not too much screen time, breaks as frequently as I need and keeping structure to my days that my brain relies on. I’ve set little tasks for each week and I am getting better at planning. AND I’m treating myself with kindness based on how I am at the beginning of each day, because it is always a surprise. Most importantly I am not sacrificing the practices that give me peace in my days, those are non-negotiables and my priority. Even if they take all my energy and I can no longer undertake tasks I had planned for. Whatever I can manage is ok.
Here’s to staying motivated, sometimes frustrated but mostly – patient.
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