I made an unexpected appearance at the emergency room this week, which culminated in a short hospital stay. I have been ailing for weeks, making the conscious choice to live each day as best I can. Managing pain and combating emotions and illness in everyday life is difficult, as you know. The discomfort became intolerable and I was frightened. My hospital stay placed me in a familiar, somber mood. Who wouldn’t be? There were a million other places I would rather have been, like home with my husband.
My family and friends could see I was visibly saddened and I capitulated to the weariness that filled my mind and body. “I’m tired” I unsparingly stated. This led to an in-depth conversation with two of my dearest friends. Both explained the unrest they felt hearing me speak the words “I’m tired,” feeling as though I was giving up. Thus, the intent of this week’s column is to reiterate that “I’m tired” does not mean “I quit.”
More than usual, I proclaim, “I’m tired.” In reality, I am exhausted. Fighting the MS beast every day can be devitalizing. I am tired of not knowing what to expect, and I am tired of pretending that I am not tired. People sometimes view me differently than they view themselves. Although I am honored to be held in such high esteem and to be looked upon as a person of inspiration, strength, and courage, I cannot meet this expectation at all times. The presumption that I must handle everything that comes with grace, humor, and a smile is fictitious. It resonates well, but realistically, it has no merit.
I have a right and a need to confess my weariness. Acknowledging my place and my space is crucial. It demands attention and respect. I truly exalt in the ability to comfort others and offer words to quell the storms that are raging in their lives. However, I need the understanding and support offered to others. I must feel comfortable knowing that I can express my vulnerability in real time, as the moments happen. My heavy heart needs to be uplifted at times, and I look to my inner circle to do so.
I am tired. My weariness is not attributed to weakness, but results from my humanity. I am made of flesh, and my experiences will reflect the human condition and all that defines it. I believe that my strength is in knowing that I am fatigued and having the ability and desire to express it. By giving it a voice, I am simultaneously encouraging myself to continue on. Granting myself permission to rest in my weakness today empowers me to pick up the pieces and try again tomorrow.
To my family, friends, and all who love me. Please know that I am not giving up. I will march on. Confiding in you eases my burden. If, and when, I say that I am tired, please just offer an encouraging word or thought. Conceding in the moment is not a tragedy. It, too, is an act of self-care. My daily prayer is that I will remain here to experience life with you for as long as I am allowed. I am not giving up. You’re the reason I fight with such intensity. To fellow warriors and survivors of MS, chronic illness, and adversity: Rest if you must. There is no shame in weariness. We will rest and recoup. We will keep fighting. Tired? Yes. Still, I refuse to quit.
“I will stand by you, I will help you through
When you’ve done all you can do and you can’t cope
I will dry your eyes, I will fight your fight
I will hold you tight and I won’t let go.” (“I Won’t Let Go,” Rascal Flatts)
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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.