And Ended Up Being a Window Into My World
Not so long ago, I talked about how I realized that I am a double agent. I outlined 3 steps of how I eased into this role. Today I tackle the last of those steps.
Today, let's talk about embracing isolation. I wish I could just say, “Don't do it,” and that would be the end of that. But we all know it's not that simple and definitely not that easy.
And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. - Ecclesiastes 4:12
Despite the fact that I have been digging out through prayer and a change in inner dialogue for weeks now, I still am fighting this isolation just as much today as I was when I first noticed it.
I feel terror, not just fear, but real terror, at the tiniest of tasks these days. Tasks that, once done, bring me joy and peace. Tasks that lead me to feel less alone and much more encouraged. Tasks that I never before considered to be tasks. They were the things I looked forward to, the things that kept me forging ahead, the way that God poured blessings onto my head.
Keeping in touch. Writing an email. Processing through my blog. Silly conversations with friends. Interactions of all kind. These should not be tasks to be dreaded, even feared. So why are they?
I think a big part of it has to do with the fact that I have lost much of my confidence. I no longer trust myself and I am very self-conscious and even at times ashamed of what has happened to me. I no longer talk on the phone because my speech is so affected, I am sometimes difficult to understand. I also speak so quietly that others have a hard time hearing me. It's due to the muscles weakening, including the ones for breathing. It's not my fault and it doesn't mean I am at all diminished mentally. But here's the rub...
I sound like I'm diminished mentally. I feel like I sound like that. I fear that I sound like that. I'm not as quick-witted as I once was, either, which I know is due to the level of pain I deal with every day. Regardless, it adds to my, “I'm an idiot” scenario.
This opens the door to all other kinds of self-doubt. What if my personality has changed and no one has the heart to tell me? What if I'm no fun anymore? What if my mental ability is way lower than I recognize and I just keep talking and talking because I'm clueless?
Now I can no longer have a conversation where it doesn't become a second-guessing of everything I say and how I say it. Was that wrong? Did that sound bad? Am I off-topic?
Problem number two...
My life is my illness at this point. Seriously, it really is. I do genealogy, I write, I watch movies, but my life is pared-down, bare-bones at this point. It's impossible for me to watch the news and keep up with current events because any type of stress sends my symptoms through the roof. I sleep mostly during the day, thanks to a high level of pain, an inability to breathe properly, and a brain that has lost it's mind regarding proper sleep time. So my awake hours and other folks' awake hours have a very small window when they meet. I have to prioritize every day so that I can try and get my top priorities accomplished sometime between I'm-finally-awake-enough-to-interact and I'm-technically-awake-but-brain-has-left-the-building. I mostly watch the same movies over and over. Read the same books over and over. I don't really leave the house other than to get to the doctor.
What do I have to contribute to a conversation? My life is what it needs to be right now. My schedule is what it needs to be right now. But it's weird. And it's boring.
The rest of the world has a life and I'm just not part of it anymore. I feel like the awkward conversationalist, the fumbling one. How do I respond to what he just said? What bit of information does she think I know that I obviously don't know?
And last but not least, I'm just so flat-out overwhelmed by all life is throwing at me right now. It's hard to chit-chat when everything is so very, very serious. And yet, I also feel guilty for talking about my health and my reality to others every single day. Have I become a whiney hiney? Is it fair to share my burden when the burden is so big and heavy and ugly?
Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that the most difficult step to tackle would be this third one of isolation. I'm granting myself grace... something I'm learning to do on this journey. I'm asking for prayer regarding my terror of “others”. I'm giving myself another week to process with Jesus, now that I've really gotten to the root of what is causing this. And next week I will write about what He teaches me.
It's going to be so, so good.
Sweet Jesus, I am coming closer. Closer to You, Your light, Your warmth, Your strong open arms. Please help us all who struggle in this way. In Your name we pray, Amen...
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May God Bless You,