I might be really weird or immature, but my main reaction to becoming ill was not to relax and slow down, but rather to push myself to keep living my life as if everything is normal. But it is not.
I am basically at somewhere between 10-50% of my normal energy and ability level (at about 20% these days) but trying to be at around 80% of myself as a parent and as a professional.
Granted, my normal is not 100%. It is more like 120% so this is much less than I would normally do still.
Part of me refuses to rest my body when I could be out doing things with or for my child. The end result, though, is that I get extremely exhausted really fast. Every day. And then my temper kicks in. And I feel like I have already tried so hard and I reach my limit and that is it.
Thing is, I feel like if I did less, I would get depressed. And I need not to go there. On a professional level, as soon as I went down from 9/10 pain levels to 3/10 I committed myself to a crazy amount of work that I did not need to commit to (peer-reviewed writing when i am not on tenure track). I did it for professional affirmation. And because i kept getting invited and i did not wanna let my illness limit me. So this ends up creating more stress for me in an already stressful time of lots of changes for my child (that are physically and emotionally draining already).
I write this and I know I have no intention of slowing down.
One obvious change in my life and energy levels is that I sleep more. I can do much less when awake. I need to walk slower. I get tired faster. My hands hurt after typing for a bit or holding my phone to talk. My brain is often in a *fog* that I cannot exactly describe or explain. I get sick more often than usual (my usual is very rarely). I have weird side effects from meds that I ignore then when I voice them to my medical family I discover I need to check them out. I know exercise should help me but I am too exhausted to do that now.
And yet my social and intellectual needs are the same and my emotional needs have increased – though I have told no one of this up until this moment. I don’t know if anyone would understand and I don’t know why I am writing about it publicly now.
I know I am much better off than many people and that I am lucky I got this now rather than when my child was younger and physically needed me more.