Body Love: F is for Fragile
It is hard to love a body that is broken. I have written about my physical health conditions extensively on this blog. But I never shared what it actually feels like to live in a body that is never okay. If I could ask for a new body, I would. It doesn’t only have to do with that I am not especially fond of the way my body looks, but also the way my body feels and behaves. I can’t change the fact that I am physically ill, but I can maybe try to look at it from a different perspective other than feeling defeated about it.
That is a huge step to take, and I don’t think I am in any way ready to comfortably sit in a seat where I don’t focus on the negative, but instead try to embrace my body as a whole. I don’t think I am even in the state of acceptance yet. Acceptance would mean in my case that I acknowledge the reality that I am never going to experience what it is like to wake up and feel okay. That I will always have to watch what I eat. That things will get worse and not better. That I will always have to fight with pain, fatigue and other symptoms.
I know it would be a good step to take, to get to a point where I acknowledge these things. Acceptance is the one and only way to go if you want to live life to the fullest because you are genuine about what is possible and what is not, and you are able to make the best out of your situation. But it is not what I want, it is not the sort of full life I want. I want to be healthy. I want to at least have the possibility to be healthy if I worked on it. And it sucks, and feels so unfair, to not even be able to hold on to that. All my physical health conditions are chronic and will get worse with time. All I can do is try to slow that process down.
My mental illnesses definitely don’t help in all of this. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and a huge part of that is crippling health anxiety. So every physical symptom that I have, turns into something deadly in my mind. Cancer, heart attack, stroke. You name it.
Every day I genuinely think I am dying of something. And it is very unhelpful that most of my conditions have very non-specific symptoms, so I can’t logic my way out of my anxious thoughts. Add to that a fear and distrust for doctors and the healthcare system, and there are hours of every day, when I am honestly convinced that I am dying, and think that there is no one and nothing in the world that can help me. So you can imagine that having to deal with that sort of anxiety, is really making it more difficult to come to a place of acceptance.
These days I am struggling a lot with an IBS flare-up. I am in constant discomfort and pain, and after cutting out more and more food that could still trigger the symptoms, I am down to eating almost nothing. At this point I am eating vegan, gluten-free and low carb food. It is about as nice as it sounds, especially if I can’t have sweeteners either. It is not only the pain and discomfort that frustrate me and make my life difficult.
There is the health anxiety (it could be cancer!), and there is the realisation that this is just another thing that is going to make my life less enjoyable. It isn’t enough that the Diabetes is limiting what and how much I can eat, I need to limit myself even more. Food is not something nice and comforting anymore, it is all about avoiding bad food, and the fear of whatever I put into my mouth could potentially give me pain.
This is an example of how my physical illnesses affect my life. And I don’t want it to be that way. I don’t want to have to count my spoons because of my chronic fatigue syndrome. And I don’t want to have the headaches from my postconcussion syndrome. I don’t want to feel constantly tired, dizzy and cold from Hashimoto’s.
I am stuck in a difficult place when it comes to turning my negative perspective on my fragile and broken body into acceptance. And there could even be a further step: an appreciation of my body’s resilience. My body survived a lot of trauma, it got damaged, yes, but it survived. Despite all the issues that I have, my body carries me every day, to the shower, on walks. It can bring me pleasure through sex. My body is still functioning, despite everything.
It might be time that I see my body more than just a shell to hold my mind. I need to learn to acknowledge and accept the chronic struggles, and work with them so I can feel the best way possible for my circumstances. And maybe I should show more appreciation, even if it is through something as simple as self-care or allowing myself to rest.
I am doing the A to Z challenge during the month of April. My theme is Body Love. So you will get 26 posts from me, following the alphabet, related to the topic body love. You can check out more about the to A to Z challenge by clicking on the banner. You can find a list of sexbloggers participating in the challenge on Mrs Fever’s site.