Every time I think I understand my limits, the darn target moves. It is like I am walking on jello trying to find anything stable or consistent. Well, it just does not exist when we are ill. Things change so fast that it is hard to keep up. Yet at the same time, there is so much monotony in chronic illness that we want to move faster than our bodies will allow. Instead of playing tug-of-war with our bodies, we can adapt to the moving target.
What works one day will not necessarily work another day. What works in the morning, rarely works at night time. What worked last week is a chore this week. And then there are the surprises that come along and we can do things that we did not expect one day, but then a month later we have taken 2 steps backward.
I test my limits often to determine where I am. This week y’all followed me on a walk that did me in for 3 days. I clearly learned, AGAIN, that I am pushing my physical limits too hard and paying the price slows down my recovery time.
I also tested my limits with a social activity to see if I could bust through some of the dark isolation I have been in due to illness. That worked. It was not a record-breaking victory, but I did have bite-sized success.
Every week it is something new, the target moves. As I test my limits I can find out where this moving target currently is.
One week I will have more physical stress, other weeks more emotional stress, other weeks both. There will be some weeks that I cannot even understand what happened but I will feel significantly worse. And I love the times when I wake up and realize I am doing better than expected.
How well are you listening to your body to know how you are truly doing? Are you aware enough to know when the target has moved? Have you practiced this enough to know when to push through something to test where you currently are?
As we learn to move WITH the target, we slowly move through a healing journey instead of getting stuck in it. I know, there is a lot to do to be on this journey. I know, the healthy lifestyle choices are really hard
Chronic illness requires that we engage and interact with ourselves to follow the moving target so we can move through this.
Maribeth Baxter, MBNC
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