This is my life:
Friend: “Hey Amanda, I’m having a super awesome birthday party this weekend. Do you wanna come?”
Colleague: “Hey Amanda, volunteering 5 minutes of your time for this cause that you care about will guarantee that bad thing will never happen again. Can you be there?”
Ryan Gosling: “Hey girl… wanna go out Friday night?”
Me: “Maybe. Please.”
(Ok, so I might have paraphrased a little.) Between the migraines, the neck pains, the anxiety, the depression, and feeling high from the painkillers, I’m living a “maybe life”. I cannot commit to anything – even things that I really want to do – because I never know how I’m going to feel. Instead I just say “maybe” to everything on the off chance that I’ll be there (but most times I’m not).
I was starting to worry that had I not gone on leave, I would lose my job. In the weeks before I decided that this is what I needed to do, every morning involved a 5 minute evaluation of if I felt pain-free enough to get up and go to work or not. It was actually easier when I knew calling in sick was “out of the question” because I didn’t stop to question it – I just sucked it up and went to work. (I suspect that pushing myself like that for so long is the reason it got this bad.) But then the season ended, my workload drastically decreased, and it was so much easier to pop some painkillers and stay in bed knowing my work would not suffer in my absence. I thought that recognizing this and taking a leave was the better option then being a “maybe employee” calling in sick all the time (but I guess we’ll have to see how that plays out).
My personal relationships have been suffering too. The boyfriend and my friends have all been great, but I know this “maybe life” of mine isn’t easy to deal with. On the rare occasion that I do say “yes” to something, I’ve turned around and broken those plans at the last minute, or ended up leaving early. I even did this when my dad (who I see maybe twice a year) was in town.
Luckily, I’m the only one that makes me feel bad for being this spastic and undependable.
I know that I need to be selfish right now. That the whole point of taking the summer off was to work on me. I’m actually enjoying all this alone time. All this quiet with very few obligations is giving me the time to really think about the things I want to do versus what I have to do. But being in my head this much, and slowly pushing people away is not healthy. It might even be making me more depressed.
It helps that I predominantly keep in touch with a lot of my friends and my immediate family over the Internet which is fairly easy to do, no matter how I’m feeling. (Although I’ve been trying to arrange a Skype date with a friend for months now that hasn’t happened.) The problem is, I know I need to maintain, if not improve, my relationships with the people around me, too.
But how do you maintain healthy relationships when you’re not healthy yourself?
I’m being honest and upfront about how I’m feeling. I’m seeing the doctors and I’m taking the medication. I’m slowly, but cautiously saying “yes” more often than “no”. I’m trying to do the best I can. I hope this is enough.
Are you or someone you care about living a “maybe” life due to health issues? How are you/did you cope?
Note: Apparently there’s a whole marking campaign out there about chronic migraines and “living a maybe life”. I don’t have TV so I didn’t know this until I was adding the focus keywords to my SEO. And here I thought I was being at least somewhat original. Whoops! This post is NOT affiliated with whatever company that is in any way. Sadly, I’m not affiliated with Ryan Gosling either.
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