Even in 2015, it's still a feeling that can overwhelm and shock me, as it has for many years now. Hope has been restored in the sense that I now know that lots of others in similar circumstances, often feel it too. Something I had no confirmation of, up until early 2014. This fact in itself has done me a lot of good and I try to remember this when difficult to think of the progression in the many different aspects of life. The stuck and trapped mentality rears its ugly head without warning, but especially when in an incredibly bad flare up. Living this life can make you feel like you are a car stuck in the mud or sinking in quicksand.
Like so many other people with chronic illness and disability, I find it hard to maintain a dependence on large amounts of positivity within my daily life. I understand that this 'stuck' feeling becomes a valid aspect in a continuous progression towards accepting and building upon my disabled reality. Low moments in my week or month tend to slightly positively push me in different ways, when I didn't think it was entirely possible, so in theory they becomes my silver lining. However, there are also a lot of incredibly difficult times where feeling stuck in my tracks often feels like it is taking over my life. I notice that my body seems to feel paralysed, my breathing shallow, my soul numb, my mood incredibly emotional and my movement weak in these despair moments, a huge reality check and emphasis on the 'stuck' feeling.
There is never a certain time period or obvious pattern that will pass and cause my stuck feeling to amplify. Sometimes it's how I feel in my day to day achievements, sometimes my hourly achievements and sometimes it just falls down to how I feel in myself and my disability. This surge of feeling rears it's ugly head in the moments where you want to think of your future, your present and sometimes even your past. Just feeling like you are stuck on a treadmill, at the same pace, living with same life because of chronic illness is something I have always found very difficult to process.
When you become housebound with a disability, your life seems to lack much structure. This forces you to imagine and think about what life could be like if health and physical abilities were on our side. It is cruel to do this to ourselves when we have an illness or disability, but we do it anyway. Only because we want better for ourselves, our present and our futures. There isn't harm in wanting to be a better person, feel happy and content in your circumstances. However, when you know the circumstances are not particularly 'normal', there has to be a line drawn where you need to stop being so hard on yourself. This is when being chronically ill and disabled makes you rely in large amounts on any ounce of positivity you can find within your circumstance, and most importantly a hell of a lot of patience.
No matter how positive you may want to think about your situation, when the sheer reality hits you that you have lived this life for so long, it becomes pretty hard to shake the feelings of how your current situation is making you feel. You feel as if you can't escape this lifestyle and convince yourself to an extent that you are certain it will become just like all the other years that have passed by. Will I always feel this trapped, stuck and depressed by my reality? Will I be able to grow in the ways I wish too? Illness and disability can cause you to think irrationally and have low expectations of yourself. You feel numb, distressed, depressed, trapped, unhappy and emotional when dealing with these prospects in life.
Diverting your attention when bed bound or housebound is never an easy assignment. I feel a huge sense of despair and anger over wasted years being house bound, the loss of control of my happiness and so much more. There is nothing those with chronic illness want out of life more than normality and fulfilment on a level that is comforting. Personally, I feel normality could really relieve my 'stuck' factors, however I also know currently, there isn't a normality in my health circumstances. I would love to eventually seek my version of normality one day but for now, I can't control aspects of my pain or health. My symptoms and pain levels have the ability to change from hour to hour and for now, I can only focus on just getting myself through that.
Another prospect that can suddenly emphasise my 'stuck' feelings is realising I will possibly always be this ill, disabled or in this much pain. Whilst stuck in a low mindset, feeling hopeless and unfulfilled in aspects of my life. It's not the way I want to think or feel about life and only independently can I potentially pull myself out of those thinking patterns. I can work towards personal goals and although they may be at a slower pace than average, they are not impossible if I set my mind to the task at hand. I know that in being disabled, we are not supposed to put too much pressure on ourselves and our achievements. However, I also feel that selective goal setting is good for me, personally. I am far too hard on myself a lot of the time, yet I I also like to feel I am working towards something positive and worthwhile in my life with disability. Slow progress is better than no progress at all, as they say.
We are taught from a young age that anything is possible, I do truly believe that is so but its not to say that it will be an easy climb along the way, for anyone let alone those with a disability or illness. On days where I feel more positive, I am usually quite optimistic over this 'anything is possible' mantra. I can think clearer about just getting through and solely focusing on today. However this doesn't mean that the lower days, moments and thought patterns that stem from illness don't swoop in with angry impact, as and when they please.
Being chronically ill is such a roller coaster. There are no magic words that can bring a person comfort when they ask themselves why they have been given a life of illness or disability. I am often guilty of pondering over why my life feels on pause. Will life get any better? Will I be able to achieve my goals, will I be happy enough? What steps do I take to get there? These thoughts and questions can swamp your mind when you are in a bad place with chronic illness, only because its a destination that you aim to reach fairly quickly. You are constantly wanting to better yourself but it can feel like the most cobbled path. I want to actually be a part of life, feeling free from illness and its chains like anyone else my age has the ability to live. Illness and this stuck feeling, often makes me feel like I don't have an established place in this world and it has done for many years.
As sad of a life illness or disability can be, it wont hopefully always feel this way. Life may become brighter, hopeful and enjoyable. Illness is one of those sink or swim moments. Except deep down, we all know there is only one choice and that is to keep swimming, even when the tide feels too over whelming. It's not easy at all to accept this being so young, I found it hard in my teens and I find it hard as an adult. I find myself in despair over this way of life more often than not, but the bottom line is, it is what it is, nothing can change the diagnosis.
I have tried to become more forceful in my abilities, when feeling stuck. There are so many days in a month where physically, my disability and pain feel incredibly over powering and in control. Which to a daily extent, they are. It is not easy to achieve on a day to day basis when in so much physical pain. Not only is it physical, it's usually mentally draining too. When I feel stuck and cooped up, I attempt to take the reins on controlling an ounce of my happiness to make myself feel free of what is trapping me. This is to prove to myself, that even when I feel like I can't, I can. Now I must admit, these small things don't bring me great joy whatsoever, it just feels like a valid necessity that is needed to feel like I am a part of the world and not just fading into the obscurity of my home, away from every ounce of life and living.
I have been trying to become more aware of when I tend to focus too much on this 'stuck' predicament. Ultimately, it is a case of becoming accepting of your current reality, being hopeful that your future can become better yet also being balanced with wanting to fight for a current, fulfilling purpose in your life. It's not fair to allow the circumstances that feel out of your hands, to have the ability to let your life pass you by. Every day is special and every day counts. Every day gives us the chance to change small aspects of our routine, every day is a new possibility for things to fall into place.
It's a struggle to remind yourself to not get continuously caught up in that smothering 'stuck' feeling. It is purely punishing yourself, whilst tending to leave a negative cloud over your current abilities within disability and illness. These abilities are things in which we should be proud of, regardless of the circumstances. We all know just how difficult the smallest tasks and aspects of daily life become. We are angry at this thought in itself but we need to accept it for what it is. Anger towards situations out of our control usually takes more energy than just getting through today.