Life isn’t always fun. It will always have highs and lows.
Times when we are ecstatic. Times when we are happy. Times when we are content. Times when we are melancholy. Times when we are bored. Times when we just have to deal with drudgery.
I’m sitting in the “dealing with drudgery” category at the moment.
Often when I’m in this place it’s because I’m at a crossroads. I’m not quite feeling fulfilled, I need a fresh purpose.
Sometimes it’s just because life has lulls and we become acutely aware of the mundane.
The Daily Drudge
As someone with a debilitating chronic illness, my daily routine is so mundane, and getting even more so, as my disease and disability progresses.
This time last year I could get out regularly with my husband, even for an hour, once or twice a week.
I’m blessed if I can manage to get out once a fortnight now, and often it is nothing more than a car ride around our local countryside. I’m incredibly grateful I can do this as the scenery is uplifting and brings such joy.
The mundane part of my life is the strict routine I have to follow everyday:
- Up early for medication with breakfast.
- Potter with basic household chores after breakfast.
- Back to bed mid morning to try and control the intense break through pain.
- Get dressed late morning.
- Have lunch while watching a TV show with my husband.
- Do some admin/house keeping tasks after lunch.
- Lie down for 90 mins late afternoon.
- Get up for dinner.
- Clean up after dinner.
- Shower and go to bed.
There are other daily things I obviously attend to during the day while resting my body, including managing my online forum, writing, playing brain games and chatting online with family, watching a couple of favourite TV shows.
I’m a multitasker by nature. I’ve always had multiple projects on the go at home and work.
When I was at school my teachers gave me extra assignments as I would finish my work too quickly. I enjoyed the extra work.
My brain is healthy but as my body continues to crumble, the pain is making it hard for me to have the energy I need to keep up with my brain.
This conundrum has heightened my feeling of being stuck in the drudgery of my situation.
It’s a little like being stuck in a job you really don’t like, but you don’t have an easy or immediate opportunity to be able to make a change.
This example sums up drudgery well, except my “work drudgery” is my diseased body!
Is There A Solution?
Sometimes there is a solution, especially if a change in purpose or a new opportunity, can be added to your life.
In terms of progressive chronic illness, solutions are not necessarily going to jump out easily, if at all.
I’m sure I’m not alone, in needing to find a way to deal with drudgery, due to severe disability and pain.
How on earth I can dig my way out of my current ditch? How on earth can others, in situations similar to mine, deal with the daily drudgery?
One of my main hurdles, with my disabled life, is wanting to run when I can’t even walk.
I’ve spent my life serving others. Growing up in a home where my Dad was a church Pastor and my Mum was a Social Worker, I was surrounded by wonderful examples of always putting others first. I embraced this way of life fully and always put other’s needs before my own.
I married an Anglican minister and we enjoyed a wonderful working partnership for years of caring for others together, until my health ripped this amazing calling away from both of us
Serving others is my happy place.
As my disease has progressed over the past 4 years, my body has demanded I focus on my needs.
My worst nightmare!! I don’t want to focus on me when my heart is craving to serve, lead and spend whatever years are left of my life, in a fulfilling way.
Those who know me well will say I do serve others through my blog and forum etc.
Yes, to a degree I do, but what scares me is I am finding these activities more and more exhausting as my body threatens to suffocate me.
So I guess I have a choice. I can find a way to deal with the drudgery and fightback, or I can pull the doona over my head and give in.
I’m going to try and fightback, even though I don’t quite have the best strategic plan yet.
In an effort to help others, who may be feeling like this, I’m going to try and come up with some ideas.
Let’s Get Digging!
Here we go…my tips for “Dealing With Drudgery”:
- Acknowledge how you are feeling. Say it out loud, tell a loved one or friend you are in a drudgery ditch.
- Review your daily routine to see if you can change it up a bit. For example, if you need to rest your body but not your brain every afternoon, could you set a challenge to read a book genre you perhaps wouldn’t normally read. Something to make you really think. Or perhaps contact someone everyday who you haven’t heard from for a while to see if they are ok. It can be a text or DM, but you might just be the person who helps them break out of their own drudgery.
- Perhaps you do need time out to have a holiday. I’m pretty sure part of my drudgery feeling is because I’m a little burnt out from working so hard on all things within the “My Medical Musings” brand, including writing a full book! It’s just possible I might actually need to give myself permission to completely stop for a while and “just be”. I’m seriously thinking about doing this for 4 weeks, but I also feel a strong sense of responsibility for my forum members. I have to really weigh up the pros and cons.
- Find a new purpose to fit your new limitations. This one might take a while to discover. The best place to start is to make deliberate time to think about what you are capable of doing.
- Engage constructive thoughts and self talk. Avoid thoughts like, “if my body was ok, I could do….”. This line of thinking will only cause you to sink further into the drudgery ditch. I’m guilty of doing this lately and it’s really not helpful. I’m changing my thinking to ” my pain is intense, so I’m limited in my ability to physically move. I need an activity which will engage my brain and can be done while sitting or lying down. Something to distract me from the pain and it needs to be something different to my current activities“.
This list is definitely not all inclusive, and my attempt to get out of this ditch is a work in progress.
Just Passing Through
Writing this blog post has been a good start for me to begin dealing with the drudgery.
My hope is it might help others feeling similar, whether because of chronic illness, enforced lockdowns and other COVID restrictions, to not accept drudgery as a permanent state.
I intend to think about this drudgery as a phase. It’s a time I’m passing through. If I focus on realistic possibilities and dare to dream a little, I may even find a new purpose.
Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seenHebrews 11:1
Don’t lose hope. Never lose hope.
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women
If you would like to read a little more about my journey, here’s the link to My Story