Over the last few months I have had a serious loss of direction. Although I still don’t feel as though I have a sense of direction, I am beginning to look again. After finishing up with running summer camp, I found myself battling the impact that such an increase in activity had on my health. From my perspective, it felt very much like a losing battle. As the two weeks came to a close, my pain levels skyrocketed- but I was shocked to find myself coping better due to the sleep pattern I had begun. For the first time in many years, I was asleep at 9pm and awake at 6am. This had actually been my sleep routine for the vast majority of my life (though in my teen years it was closer to 10pm to 6am), altered only by the advent of medications that compromised my sleep cycle. It doesn’t help that my husband does rotating shift work; it is quite hard to go to sleep before him or without him. I think that if I had been able to continue this sleep routine after summer camp, the last few months would not have been so hard. Contrary to my nature, I wallowed. Truthfully, I am not sure wallow is even a strong enough sentiment to express the head space I was in. I had pushed my body, and it pushed back with ferocity.
After the unfortunate celiac reaction and the deterioration of my already poor joints shortly after the camp had finished, I felt defeated. Completely and utterly defeated. It is much harder to cope with pain when you can no longer physically do your coping mechanisms. I would usually turn to arts and crafts to boost my spirits and distract myself, yet I was bested by my illness and unable to do anything. It felt impossible to fight against the sense of helplessness that had welled up within me. Already combating the constant sense of uselessness most with chronic illnesses go through, I felt true despair. This has been very difficult to struggle through.
In the midst of this, somehow the smallest of gestures has changed the direction of my focus. Last night, my aunt showed me a very nifty little project that she had started at her homeschool meet-up earlier in the evening. She had learned a simple yet elegant form of weaving using straws. Almost instantly my curiosity was piqued, and I examined her progress carefully to sort out how she was making the project. This examination gave me a tiny spark of something I hadn’t felt in months: inspiration. I tried a few rows and was astonished to find that it did not hurt my joints at all to do. With excitement, I ran to my art supplies and grabbed out everything that I needed. I started making a brown cotton belt, something simple to begin.Before bed I was able to make a solid two inches. Today, I finished a quarter of it and have felt productive for the first time in a few months. Though I am not entirely over my negative emotions, this small and simple craft has turned my gaze away from the seemingly perilous battle towards brighter possibilities. If there is a craft I can spend hours doing without pain, there has to be more that I can do as well. There may even be ways to make the other activities I enjoy possible as well, though likely with reduced frequency.
I am not giving up, as much as I have been wanting to. I hope to renew the fervour I used to possess for life over the next coming months, and I am planning to use this blog as a means to do so as well. Writing a blog post is an accomplishment, and it is one I can do even with limited use of my hands if pain is flaring. Even in the worst of times, there is always something that can be done. There is always hope.
Even though it is as simple as weaving a belt, I am proud of my accomplishment today.