This past week my health has been terrible. After a bright start, on Monday, I’ve been on a downward spiral knocking into everything on my way down. I’ve felt completely drained of energy. My painkillers help to deal with my symptoms but, for most of the time, it’s felt like I’ve been taking Tic-tac’s instead. I feel like I’ve been getting worse every day.

Unfortunately, I’ve had to cancel each and every plan I’ve made. To the extent that I haven’t left the house since Sunday.  The most painful plan to cancel was on Friday night. I was devastated and all I wanted to do was cry but I just didn’t have the energy.

Me asleep in bed

On Friday night I had to miss the hen party of a really good friend. I had helped plan the party and was so looking forward to it. For the four days I’d spent in bed before Friday, I comforted myself knowing that when Friday came, all of this resting would have paid off. It just wasn’t to be.

This person has become a close friend over the last few months. I’ve wanted to be involved in helping her prepare for the wedding, as many of her other friends have. I wanted to show how much I valued her by devoting time and energy to their day. The fact that I haven’t been able to be involved has been difficult, frustrating, even painful.

As I write this there is only one day until the wedding. It scares me that, at the moment, I don’t even know how I’m going to get dressed on the day. I don’t want to miss out on yet another important day. I’ve already had to miss two weddings, and countless other things, because of my illness.

I hate having to go through the pain and disappointment of missing these things, time after time. When stuff like this happens, and I miss events that I’ve been looking forward to, it makes me want to cut myself off from everyone. Suddenly being a complete recluse feels like the easier option. It makes sense, at the time, that it would hurt less to have no plans, no friends, than to keep having to cancel, and miss out.

My mind even goes as far as to plan a life for myself from my bed. I’d exist without real contact with friends. I’d have virtual friends and even join an online church. Then I wouldn’t have to deal with the pain and disappointment.

I’m telling you about this because I would wager that a lot of people in my position feel the same. It’s an inevitable feature of chronic illnesses that you’re going to have to miss out on things, often at the very last minute. It can be really painful. The temptation to withdraw into your own world of despair can be strong. This, however, is never the answer. Just because it’s the easier thing to do, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

God has called you, and me, to do more.  I know that I’m meant to be a part of my church. I know that I am meant to be part of the world around me. My challenge is to not lose faith in the dark times, and to make the most of the time I have when I’m well.

Not only do I want more for my life, but I want more for my husband. I don’t want him to have a recluse for a wife. I can’t surrender because it affects him. In the same way, he can’t surrender to depression because it affects me.

Cutting myself off from the world won’t help me to get better. It’s better for me to live with the pain of disappointment than to become a fatality, by locking myself in a coffin.  I need to hold on to those things that make me want to get out of bed. Without them there’d be no point me fighting to get better. 

Love Katie x

This blog post was written by Paul Davies, based on dictated notes from Katie.