an open letter to fellow warriors

so, here’s the deal. living with an autoimmune condition sucks. today is a hard day for me. scratch that, this whole week has been a hard week for me. but today is especially tough. i spent the past several days dealing with the plague [aka the common february cold/flu] and am still feeling the effects on day six. my head feels like it is stuffed with cotton, and my legs feel weighted down with ten elephants a piece. the back of my head is still buzzing from the neurological vibration tests i had done – 24 hours ago. i’m headed straight for a vestibular migraine based on all this combined with today’s weather so i’m trying to type fast. even though i canceled over half my week’s events and appointments, i was still drowning. i was up late almost every night, missed my afternoon rest time every day, running around trying to cross things off my to do list—but never actually managing to take one thing off of it. emotionally i’m MC hammer—DON’T TOUCH THIS.
this is the thing. sometimes, you just have to throw in the towel. some days you just CAN’T “power through” and try to hustle through it all. you just don’t have the strength to take a deep breath, arm yourself with whatever will keep you shielded from the overwhelming symptoms and muscle it through the day’s tasks, chores and housework to collapse into bed already halfway to dreamland. you’re tapping out. at ground zero. running on fumes for the past 100 miles already. redlining. throwing in the towel already soaked with the proverbial sweat and tears of doing this yesterday, the day before, the week past. it’s too much. you’ve got nothing left.
if you have an autoimmune or chronic condition, you get this. you know this exact feeling i’m talking about. you feel it in your own unique way, but you still get it. the people around us shake their heads—“you just want attention,” or “you aren’t really that sick.” my personal favorite is: “but you look great!” that one makes me want scream, cry, hulk out all at the same time. [TIP: we autoimmune patients will always ‘look’ fine. that doesn’t mean we feel fine. THAT DOESN’T MEAN OUR BODY ISN’T LITERALLY AT WAR WITH ITSELF ON THE INSIDE.] when you’re at this point i’m describing, you feel alone. no one gets it. but there is nothing you want more than for someone to come up alongside you right now, take that list out of your hands and tells you: “go rest. That’s an order.” (bonus points for whoever then works on that list for you. keep them around.) they get that the forest is too big for you today. the redwoods are kissing the clouds and there is no such thing as sunshine. you’re overwhelmed, emotionally cliff diving and the hardest thing is—you know you have to do it all over again tomorrow. there is a dread so consuming in that knowledge that only we can understand. it is one of those most awful feelings i am convinced a human can feel: it’s two parts desperation mixed with a tablespoon of helplessness, a dash of grief and stirred. bake in a pan of FAILURE and serve piping hot with a side of loss. [i saw doctor #17 yesterday so i’m feeling all the feels, if you couldn’t tell.]
to my fellow warriors, i salute you. its 11.24 am and i am already throwing the towel in on today. my nerves are overfiring and my body feels like a live wire. i’m exhausted and hungry and my bed is calling my name. to the world, today is friday- but to me, its MEday. we HAVE to come first. our bodies, our emotions, our symptoms- they have to be managed first before we can be at all productive in our daily lives. there should be no shame, guilt, or fear in that. we are fighting a battle today. keeping marching on.

i can no longer feel my right arm or leg,
lisa.