I resent the idea that I should never spend a few days feeling sorry for myself. I see no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do that without judgement.
First, I’ll say that this is how I feel about my own self-pity. It’s different for everyone. I make no judgement on you just like I want no one else to make a judgement on me.
I set a few rules for myself. If I ever seriously consider suicide, I need to seek help. If it lasts more than 3 days, I need to pull my way out of it. If it leads to me not taking proper care of my health in a way that will have effects that last beyond those few days, I need to stop. I need to not feel bad or guilty about it. I need to let myself have my feelings.
That’s it. Those are my only rules.
Yesterday was one of those days. I was having pain in a new joint. Every 3-5 years this happens, and the pain is permanent. A long time ago I stopped hoping it wouldn’t be. So when I felt that all-new-yet-totally-familiar pain, I knew exactly what it was. And I was devastated. On top of that, it’s been humid lately, which means I just feel shitty in general. My pain is worse, my fatigue is worse, it’s all terrible.
Just 2 hours after the pain started I was sitting in my naturopath’s office describing it. The timing of that appointment was a tough coincidence. I started crying. One thing led to another, and she started offering me a homeopathic remedy to calm me down. She was careful with her words. She never mentioned “anxiety” or “depression” or anything similar, but obviously that’s what we were talking about.
Now, I understand why she wanted to calm me down. My adrenals are struggling. My pulse was low. My blood pressure, which is normally low, was so low that she couldn’t even get a reading after three tries. It wasn’t good. Crying like that would only make my adrenals worse. I get that.
But I also felt judged. Maybe it was all in my head. Maybe not. But that’s how I felt. The way she talked about my need to calm down and not lose hope didn’t sit right with me. And I resented it. Because I had every reason to feel bad.
Most days, I’m pretty happy and cheerful. On the bad days I’m less so. Occasionally I’m in a bitchy mood, but not too often. But every now and then, I just need a day or two of wallowing in self-pity. I’m dealing with life-long pain, fatigue, and disability. I spend hours every day dealing with my health in one way or another. My social life is planned around medical appointments, timing of medication, and how I think the weather will make me feel on any given day, among a dozen other things. Dates are too difficult to be fun. Making new friends feels like climbing a mountain, because they just don’t understand my limitations. I will be dealing with for this the rest of my life. It will most likely get worse over time, not better. I can’t work, and I can’t afford to live without a job. I don’t have the money to move to a nicer apartment, to get a dog, or to go to the theater. Technically I don’t have the money to pay my electric bill right now, either. I can no longer travel. I miss my friends who live farther away. My memory sucks. I have trouble remembering big events in my life, what I did last week, and the plot of the book I’ve been reading. I spend hours dealing with doctors, insurance companies, and pharmacies. I sit around the house wanting to be productive and get things done, and I just can’t do it.
Oh, and by the way, I also happen to feel like absolute shit.
So I give myself a few days to feel crappy. I feel sorry for myself. I feel like none of the treatments that I work so hard on will ever help me improve. I cry if I want to, I don’t cry if I don’t want to. I avoid going out. I avoid talking on the phone. I feel pissed off at the doctors, at my body, at the world. My anger and bitterness are so strong, you can practically see them vibrating off of me.
And that’s ok. I see absolutely nothing wrong with it. I know it won’t last. I just need to get it out of my system. I need to have a few cumulative weeks every year where I feel this way so that the rest of the time I don’t. That’s what works for me. And if it bothers others, well, then they need to deal with that themselves. They can’t put it on me. Because that’s not my problem. I have enough problems of my own to deal with, as it turns out.