There’s Always a Trade-Off


I drop the butter knife. Wash it off, stick it in the peanut butter. Drop it again. Wash it again. Try again. Got it this time. Sandwich made. The eggs frying in the pan need flipping, and I break them both and make a half-scrambled mess of them.

Sitting at my computer to work I hit all the wrong letters. I use the backspace more than any other key. My hands aren’t working. I can’t work. My arms tingle and fall asleep as I try over and over again to enter the correct numbers for the capitalization table I’m working on. My hand twitches on the mouse, copying the wrong set of shareholder names, jerking across the spreadsheet throwing them back down where the allocation dates go.

I lay on the couch, arms resting on my stomach. And I’m angry. I’m angry that my arms aren’t working. That I’m shaking and jerking around and I can’t even scroll Pinterest because my arms are so tired.

I have fibromyalgia. I’ve been diagnosed with two unrelated chronic illnesses in the last six months. I feel like my body is betraying me. I’m only 37. I should be able to run one errand and not have to come home and rest. But I can’t. I went to a consignment shop and bought two t-shirts, came home, and felt like my whole body was going to give out. Typing this, I have to pause and set my hands in my lap every few words. They lay on my thighs and throb.

And I’m so blessed. I’m blessed that I work from home (regularly, not just because of Covid) and I can take as many breaks as I need to get my work done. I’m blessed that I have friends and family who support me and help with the kids. I’m blessed that I have an amazing physical therapist who is kind of like a bartender in that I can tell her anything while she’s working on my back. I’m blessed to have a husband who wants to see me take care of myself, and so he helps with the kids and the dishes. And, I’m blessed to be alive.

Because I could easily not be. God has orchestrated an amazing safety net that has caught me every time I fall off this tightrope of balancing severe mental illness and the stress of Meniere’s disease and fibromyalgia. My pain and hearing loss and lack of coordination and even the voices I hear are a small price to pay for the gift of being alive.

The next time I forget that, please remind me.

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