There have been many attempts to describe to “regular folk” the challenges of those of us who have chronic illness. The Spoon Theory is a good one. The Matchstick Theory is a little more apt. But I’ll attempt my own called, The Crap Theory. This is less about choices of energy and just…about what it’s like to always feel like crap.
You wake up feeling like crap. You slept crappy. There have been days when you don’t get out of bed, but over the years you realize it doesn’t make you feel less crappy physically, and mentally it makes it worse, so you get up. It’s slow.
You move your body. It hurts. It’s frustrating. But you do it anyway because overtime the crappiness will increase if you don’t.
You meditate. You still feel like crap, but you’re ok with it. Mostly. Not really. But you want to be ok with it. You also want to be a superhero.
You get ready for the day and interact with people who love you. You want to tell them all the ways you feel like crap, but they already know this. They know it so very well, that you decide to spare them the details and talk about other things instead: the upcoming cold snap, car coordination, we need more eggs, and you reluctantly watch a “really short!” video with your kid. You laugh. For a moment you forget about feeling crappy. Or maybe the caffeine is kicking in.
Your body tells you its time for a rest because you feel like crap, but seriously, you just got up, so you push yourself. You have realized over the years that mentally it’s better for you to do things even if you feel like crap. So you do things. It’s slow. Sometimes it’s painful when it wasn’t just the day before. Sometimes you can’t do certain things at all. You often cry. You remember that you forgot something important. Crap.
You rest. There are no questions about this. There are no others options.
Eventually, you get yourself moving again with whatever works. You may feel like crap, but you make a damn good cup of tea.
You do more things. You interact with people. You feel like crap so you are impatient, inconsistent, and moody. Over the years people distanced themselves from you. You understand, but it still hurts. Then a friend sends you a Loki gif and the crappiness is alleviated by his glorious purpose.
Today you can eat. Sometimes the crappiness keeps you from this, but not today. This makes it a good day.
Today music sounds right (sometimes it doesn’t), and it doesn’t hurt your head (sometimes it does) so you play some while cooking. You move a little. To anyone else, this is not dancing, but in your mind you are a hoochie mama.
You rest. You are annoyed. Did I mention you feel like crap? You look at your to-do list and cross out things, not because you got them done but because they never will. You feel guilty as someone else cleans up after you.
You lose yourself to fiction. Depending on how crappy you feel, the format changes. Today, it’s a book. Seriously, the girl should pick the 600 year-old ghoul over the wishy-washy werewolf. You come back to yourself and remember you feel like crap.
You are the first to get ready for bed. You stand by the bed and stare at your pillow and the litany of exactly how crappy you feel and how this may be FOREVER starts to unravel your soul. But there is a spark inside of you that crap can’t touch. It knits you back together again. That meditation breathing comes in handy.
You get in bed and tell God you feel like crap because if you have to live with it everyday, then He can hear about it everyday. He tightens the strings on your soul. You pray for other people and feel perspective. The person you love comes in and kisses you goodnight. You cry a little. You remember the good parts of the day. You feel like crap, but close your eyes and hope for the best.
You open them again remembering something important you forgot, again. Crap.
Move with intention.