The loss we don't even notice...
Adaption - that is what us humans are good at and it's why we are the most "successful" creature on this planet but when do we adapt so much, we don't notice what we have lost.
Sometimes we have to adapt and grieve something we lose, but sometimes we adapt so much we don't realise we could actually be seeking help and could actually possibly find some ways to grow.
I've lived with chronic fatigue syndrome since 2010 and once I was diagnosed, I was told it was what it was and that was it. Nothing anyone could do for me. So I adapted my life.
I've lived with adenomyosis and endometriosis since my teens, and it took until my late 30's to be diagnosed, but most of the time I did not go to the doctors as I was told I was "making a fuss" and "it was my lot in life". So I adapted.
I've lived with asthma since I was 18 years old, I have only had one bad asthma attack, and I know my triggers, cannabis smoke, (as a teen and twenty-something I hung around with bands and went to a lot of music gigs so this wasn't very helpful), the smoke from smoke machines that they have at music gigs and parties, cigarette and vape smoke. (I loved the smoking bans). Exercise has rarely triggered my asthma, I regain my breathe very quickly and have rarely needed my inhaler. My peak flow meter reading each year is high, and I need my preventative inhaler only really in hay fever season, which does trigger some coughing. Again I go to my annual asthma check up and I rarely do anything about it. But I've adapted.
In 2022 I started HRT as part of my peri-menopause journey. All the symptoms I have for CFS are the same as peri-menopause and after only a few days of starting it, I felt energised for the first time in years. My brain fog lifted, I was less forgetful. I hadn't felt this for years and I was reminded about what I've lost and how I've adapted. As the weeks went on I found my joint pain had disappeared, pain which meant I could barely sit for more than 20 minutes, but I'd adapted and just listed it as another one of those things. My eczema disappeared, my dry skin, my brittle nail, the occasional dizziness I got and so much more that I'd attributed to "my lot in life" and I'd adapted. Yet I heard many in menopause groups complaining they didn't feel like they did when they were in their 20's. I realised my expectations were much lower so any small benefit was a celebration to me, but many want a magic pill and have never felt like this before, and the sudden onslaught of peri-menopause symptoms was devastating, they'd had no time to adapt, so they want a fix to it all. Where as I was happy with the small changes, as I'd grown to adapt.
I realise now, that most people don't walk around feeling like they have lead weights attached to their legs. That most people didn't weigh up if they have the energy to do one thing or another. And with my HRT I realised, I had hope again for a life with more energy. And then I got my first bout of COVID in March 2023...
I have never felt so ill in my life. (I lie I think my glandular fever when I was 18 was as bad) I should have gone into hospital as my blood oxygen levels were around 92/93 but occasionally dropped to 89. My mum has COPD so I got my husband to borrow one of her spare oxygen bottles. I wore an oxygen mask in bed and I admit to being scared. But as usual I didn't want to trouble the hospitals that are busy, and also I felt that I needed rest.
After 3 weeks I started to feel better, but my CFS symptoms were all back and my asthma was the worst it has even been. I went to the doctor who said "what did you expect, you have all these conditions it was bound to be bad for you" I left with no support and just a shrug of their shoulders and I did what I always do, I adapted.
I reduced my working hours, reduced my walking, I stopped walking up hills and only the flat. I paused on the stairs on auto pilot to prevent myself getting out of breath. I know how to quickly adapt, to quickly change my life and live it in a different way. I started looking at herbal supplements and alternative therapies and took the approach of focus on my mind, body and spirt, take it easy and of course, do it alone.
In June 2023 I had my annual asthma check up, I did the score card as I had in previous years. Normally my asthma barely impacts my life, but answering those questions highlighted to me how much it had. The nurse said to me " people like you adapt quickly, and then don't ask for help. But you can get it and its not ok for you to live your life like this" - following on from this chat my asthma medication has been changed and I saw a nurse practitioner in August 2023 to review my situation. She listened. We spent 30 minutes talking. She said " I wish more people were like you, but we can help you more too" she gave me some new medications and said "we should be doing blood-works on you on a regular basis as all your medical conditions could hide something else. " And with it she said "you are an at risk category we ned to ensure you get the help you need" - Just being listened to made me feel better, knowing I wasn't doing this alone. I've been given a new drug and last night I took it and it was weird to feel so much air in my lungs, its a feeling I haven't had for so long I literally just sat their appreciating the sensation. So this is what breathing feels like to so many people.
And all of this made me think about all of you. All of you who get used to being tired, get used to being depleted. Each day you adapt your life without realising it, like I have done. You stop doing something you love to allow time for the stuff you "should do". You put your own self care on hold to keep the job, look after the children, to cook the dinner. You adapt. And each time you adapt you don't even realise what you have lost until its pointed out to you, until someone stops and listens to you and you realise that it doesn't have to be like this.
You don't have to be tired all the time, you don't have to lead the "hustle" life that is put on social media and in our workplaces. You can live a life that's right for you and be comfortable for the first time. We don't notice what we lose and yes sometimes those loses are permanent and we need to grieve them, but we can also know it's ok to ask for help, It's ok to ask to be listened to and it's ok to want a better life for you.
And this is what I do now, I am the person to listen, I am the person to help. Whether its my free blogs and daily inspirational emails, my one to one coaching, or my membership. Know this is a place where you can ask for help and ask to be listened to. For more information, check my other pages or email me email@example.com