“When I’m better”

Compared to this time last week, I’m feeling better. Not “better” better, but better than I was feeling then.

I spent all of last year saying “when I’m better I’m going to do this”, “when I’m better I’m going to do that” and wiled away far too many days waiting for better ones.

I think when you’re sick, you do need to take a certain amount of time to throw yourself a pity party – not necessarily a long, continuous one, but sporadic allowances to just let yourself feel crap; to feel your emotions arising from the current situation, maybe even show them instead of bottling them up.

When you’re living off pharmaceuticals and symptomatic such that physical activity is impossibly uncomfortable or dangerous, it’s OK to say “when I’m better I’m going to do this” and “when I’m better I’m going to do that”. The physical limitations scrape in as justification.

This past week or so, that no longer is acceptable to me. The rejection of that phrase “when I’m better” has been creeping up on me for some time now, and even though there have been times this year when I’ve in some ways been sicker than ever, too much time has passed for my life to be on hold.

There are certain aspects of my life that do and will remain very much on hold for the time being – I’m not exactly running 8km in the morning or spending an hour lifting weights. And there’s the “physical step back” from work that I’ve taken as of 3 weeks ago, which I am learning to do, and has made me even more productive. But I am slowly making adjustments to my mindset, made possible by my improved physical state, and avoiding use of that phrase, which only places negative connotations on the present moment.

It is something I’ve never had to do in the past, being an eternal optimist with a dash of realism. I’m a little bit embarrassed that I have felt so “down” at times, and I’ve tried not to appear that way as much as possible, for the sake of others around me, as well as my own good. In fact I credit my insistence in doing that, as well as my generally sunny disposition, as contributing towards my resilience throughout this saga.

So from now (or more accurately, from sometime in the past few weeks) I have banned “when I’m better” from departing my lips. In some circumstances, I may say “when I am feeling well enough”, exercising the full spectrum of wellness rather than the finite “better”, and I think that’s OK. More acceptable, anyway. “When I am at my best” is what I will allow myself to hear in my mind, whenever I feel the thought of “when I’m better” pushing its way in. It simultaneously reduces present negative connotations and stimulates positive imagery for the future.

I most certainly don’t resent any time I’ve wiled away because I know I’m getting that back tenfold, due to the personal growth and extra zest for life this experience has afforded me, and what that will allow me to achieve. That’s not even resentment masked with denial. I truly hold no resentment for the time that has passed.

Whilst I need to continue listening carefully to my body and be mindful of the need for self care, I hereby declare that I will do my absolute best, between now until I reach the day I can say to myself “I am at my best”, and beyond.

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