Health Whining

Hope Fatigue (and Silver Linings)

I have health issues. This is not news. I call them my Health Blahs and being overweight my entire life, I’m not terribly surprised, other than the timing. No, the real surprise lies in how much can hit the fan in just a couple of years. I remain tremendously grateful that I’ve had only chronic conditions diagnosed, as opposed to life-threatening or terminal. I know I’m lucky and I count my blessings to the point of what must be near-tedium for those around me the most.

Chasing silver linings, I call it.

Some new health wrinkles have made life super interesting for the last six months or so. Because of the new onslaught of testing that they triggered, I recently received news that a biopsy was negative, all clear! I was thrilled and let my terror level on the issue drop almost completely. One less thing to prevent me from getting back on a physical training regimen.

There is nothing new wrong with you, thank God. Keep your hopes up, everything’s okay! It’s not cancer!

*deep, cleansing breath*

Then, instead of the usual skip in my step and a lightening of an invisible lead weight, I slumped under the weight of utter and complete exhaustion. The good news just kinda broke me. It was very confusing. I thought it was one of my wacky neurological reactions by way of relief, but I found myself unable to shake it.

“Great, now I have to be happy and hopeful again.”

The thought of bearing the weight of hope again was a surprisingly daunting task this time. And obviously, this reaction is a curse amongst those of us that follow the path of the Silver Linings.  You give people, places, things and events the benefit of the doubt, every time. You respectfully give encouragement where it’s allowed. And whether vocalized or not, you forgive. Give things a chance to work out, even if not exactly in the way we hoped. When in the darkness, allow yourself to see the silver linings and you’ll often be blinded by their brilliance.

And life is really damned short. I know I say it all the time, but it really, really is. Tragically short, no matter how long you live. How could you not seek light in dark times? Find the silver linings, name them and follow each of their fragile trails. Nourish them and feed them hope. Otherwise, how can you even breathe in the universal horror and aftermath of so many tragedies and hardships of humanity, as well as in personal relationships in recent years.

Yes, hopes get dashed. I don’t count disappointments like I do blessings, but sometimes wonderful people do unkind things. Sometimes test results don’t go your way. Sometimes things go wrong, with or without a person to blame. And sometimes, you get tired of re-lighting a candle that keeps getting snuffed.

It’s the first time in my life I’m feeling a real urge to go dark, as in, take a break from Hope and Silver Linings and all the disappointment that they bring. Take a break from social media and the boost it usually gives me – less isolation to make me cray-cray and what-not. Skip Balticon and other gatherings of friends. Hibernate, until the stings are faded. But, even in the comforting lull of solitude and quiet is something trying to kick me out of the dark and back into motion…

… captivating high-pitched giggling from upstairs; plans for LT’s summer visit have solidifying; a happy and smitten; dreams of a visit by J; opportunities for time with far-flung family and friends which guarantee face-breaking smiles and joy; making new friends; countless loving gestures and endless patience from my husband; an increase in time with  joyful little kids; unspoken dreams and downright plotting; plans for seeing my distant niece and the family she’s made; glorious spring days with my husband’s hand in mine as we watch Kaylee frolic like a puppy…

Realizing that even when the day is ending with the sun going into hiding for another night, we are still given a view that has inspired countless people with its beauty, a spectacular image to carry into the darkness with us. Burned into retinas at times, and others, it’s just the idea. The knowledge of what awaits them if they care to turn their eyes towards the upcoming dawning light. The darkness is bookended by a brilliant show of nature, eternally promising light and warmth. The night is long enough that we appreciate dawn when it comes, and short enough that we can easily hold the memory of sunlight against the dark night. You don’t even have to have hope for it to happen. It just will.

Going dark would be a real struggle, is what I’m saying. Isolation speeds the process, but it’s not a fun one to live with, and I won’t do that to Chooch or our Housies. And I can’t when I’m around our kids. If only it were the right time of year for a good sulk in a cave somewhere.

Instead, I’m setting limits on time and expectations (more on this when I’m feeling less fragile) and counting spoons. My shrink had to remind me to save one each day for myself. Can’t believe I forgot about that, but I’m now saving two each day: one for me and one for Chooch. And when we are with our sons, I’ll also save a spoon each for them. I mean, if I can’t take care of those that give me a reason to push myself out of the dark, what’s the point?

And yes, I’m exhausted, but as I brace for another appointment, I’ll sling my bag of Hope back on. I always do, and with beloveds like mine, it’s not actually that hard. Just…