I wish I could rest.
Real, deep, fulfilling rest. Laying my head down on a soft pillow and closing my eyes, without feeling the anvil resting on my chest. Sitting in the sun and listening to the birds in the trees, without feeling the heat of the sun’s rays set fire to my skin, my body scream from the exertion of my pose, and my mind in agony for being too long away from home. To just be – without being ill.
There is a great irony in being too unwell to rest. What I call “rest”, what occupies most of my time, is no more than a forced cessation of motion by a body that has no more reserves. It is the downpayment into a bank of energy which has been emptied, and I cannot risk letting run into debt.
Someone once said to me regarding chronic illness, “even existing is an effort.” And it’s true. There are no breaks, and rarely a moment when you don’t feel the full force of your illness crushing your body.
Sometimes I forget, for just a brief second, what my life is – when laughing at a scene on TV, being engrossed by an online article. Then the moment passes, and I realise most people aren’t hiding inside behind drawn blinds, night after night, unable to leave the house, or sitting in front of their computer during the day, with no thought of work, study or a life outside of home.
The symptoms of my illness are exhausting, but so is the act of living with a chronic illness for so long. And after seven years without a break, this illness is breaking me instead.