It Never Feels Like Enough

The Last Days 368

I’m doing better, but it never feels like enough. When my body crashes, I start from the beginning, a ground-up battle that requires every fiber of my strength just to survive. My days are spent between the spaces of my bed and my couch, and every unnecessary task, activity, responsibility, and movement is put on hold. The dishes go unwashed, the clothes are left on the floor, I forget to eat, and showers become a precious commodity.

As the weeks progress, eventually I reach a turning point. And I breathe a sigh of relief. Perhaps around week five or six there is a small but clear shift. I still spend my days sprawled on the couch, but the pain has lessened. Concentration returns. I start writing instead of watching TV, thinking instead of falling through a mindless space in a cloud of fog. Slowly I begin cooking again and once again meals are palatable instead of barely edible.

But it never feels like enough. Each time I make progress it begins with an inhale of relief and ends with an exhale of disappointment. The pain lessens, but I can still barely participate in life. I begin to move more, but I still only go to work and any extra or social activities feel impossible and more exhausting than is worth the effort. I always want more.

Then perhaps another corner is turned and I reach my highest peak, the furthest I go, at least the farthest I’ve gone in the last two years. I’m walking for 15 minutes, standing for 30, and I can do one activity outside the house each day. Perhaps I even find time to do something fun, adding in activities that are less than necessary. But still, I’m just waiting for the next best thing. I’m waiting for less pain, more movement, more LIFE.

It’s never enough, and I always seem to lose it all anyway.

Perhaps I experience a few weeks or even a month at my peak and then in an instant, in a moment, in the blink of an eye it is all gone, all lost. It all starts at the beginning again. And this endless cycle is my life. The highs never feel like enough and the lows never get easier. They are just as devastating the tenth time as the first.

And somehow I need to break the cycle, but I don’t know how.

It truly feels hopeless when I think about it. I fear being too happy or hopeful on the good days because it only makes the fall more difficult. I hesitate to hope that someday I won’t experience the fall, that somehow I will escape the endless cycle and continue to make progress, because that kind of hope feels almost irrational and absurd when I consider these last few years. What makes me think that this time will be any different?

And I’m just not sure what to do from here. There are a few options, I suppose. I could accept that this cycle is my life. I could accept and prepare for crashes before they come, expecting what may be the inevitable. But that feels like a hopeless way to live.

I could adamantly fight against a crash with all my might, refusing to believe it is inevitable. I could live with hope that this time will be different. This time I will break the cycle. But that would just make the next crash that much harder should it come.

I’m sure there is a third way. I think it has something to do with living in the moment and redefining what acceptance means. It has something to do with recognizing that acceptance is about the moment and not about the future. Perhaps acceptance is about recognizing each moment of my life in the moment for the way that it is and knowing that each moment of my life is the way my life was intended to be. I neither expect or deny the possibility of a crash. I simply wait, and eventually I will see what happens.

Because as I said, it never feels like enough, so somehow I need to find enough in the moment, regardless of how the moment might be.

17 responses

  1. Good that you are thinking this through so carefully and rationally. Francis Schaeffer talked about “this moment on the clock,” and I think you are giving yourself good advice in both acceptance and preparation. It’s hard to stay in “this moment” when you’re on a roller coaster. Thank you for documenting your thinking for your readers’ benefit.

    • Yes, so true – the constant roller coaster ride and unpredictability are really what make it so difficult. As I was thinking through this more, the statement I have settled on it, “a crash is probable but not inevitable.” I feel like that recognizes reality, but also allows for hope and faith that God could work in new ways in the future.

  2. Acceptance is not a destination, it is a process….I forget this all the time myself! It’s hard to live a life of such limited ups and downs. It’s a one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, sometimes a one minute at a time challenge.

  3. I love this! Especially about acceptance. I find that the good day and the bad days both come, but when I’m always worrying about the “crash” I completely miss the opportunities to embrace my days and appreciate the good. Sometimes it is just strapping on a helmet and trying to enjoy the ride!

    • I like the picture of “strapping on a helmet and trying to enjoy the ride!” Unfortunately I have always hated roller coasters 😉 But, yes I do agree. Thank you for your comment and stopping by!

  4. You just read my soul! I dislike the fact that you feel this way, but I’m not alone so it helps too. Acceptance has been very difficult for me too as I was extremely active before all of this happened. I hope you can find peace, I really do. But until then, know you aren’t alone in your feelings.

  5. You really capture the emotional freefall with chronic pain. I have been there as well many times and my heart goes out to you. You describe so well “inhale with relief and exhale with dissapointment”. It is not easy for me to remember to live in the moment either, but on the rare occasions that I accomplish this fete it is worth it. Sending a gentle hug to you this very moment 🙂

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