So far today, I have not been overcome by fatigue. Nor have I struggled against pain and discomfort. It’s not quite noon yet, and I’ve been up since eight. So this has been a good morning. I’ve even had enough brain power to try to write a little. I can tell when my brain power is low, however; I won’t be writing anything brilliant. But I might remember a few thoughts and jot them down, or fill in some details where I’ve just got sketchy notes.
I’ve had few good mornings in the past couple of weeks. Discomfort from abdominal distension and low energy from anemia have got me down much of the time. I am struck by how radically these conditions shift my perspective on the world.
When I am well, I wake up cheerful. Before I even open my eyes, my outlook on the world and the day is positive. I expect good things. And generally, my days are filled with good things, like love. I am able to appreciate any incidental beauty the day brings to my window. I warmly accept affection. When things don’t go my way, I can often still be gracious. I get excited about new ideas. I want to do things.
When I am unwell, all this is reversed, and I am miserable. I feel sour, like the dried up, moldy lemon I’m sure I would find if I opened the fruit and vegetable drawer. It’s hard even to smile—I can feel my yellowing face pinched in a horrible, self-pitying grimace when I try. Yuck. It’s really hard to like myself like this. When things get really bad, the whole world, with me in it, is ugly.
I don’t know how people who suffer with chronic pain or fatigue, whether physical or emotional, manage. Sometimes I think all the people we pass in the streets who don’t smile are probably unhappy and stressed or unwell and suffering. There is an awful lot of pain in our world. Those of us who are blessed enough to not be suffering, it seems to me, could take on a greater burden to relieve those who are in pain or exhausted or depressed. We can see this happen sometimes when a stranger offers to hold a door or help carry a stroller up a flight of stairs. Everyone smiles.
I was extremely blessed in my life to live with so much wellness and vitality until recently. It made happiness so much easier. I realize now I could have done much more to share that gift with others. So many never know the joy of a healthy body and a light spirit. Perhaps we could all think more about how to balance this vast inequity, especially as the well person who gives is rarely made weaker or less well for the gift. It can be something grand, like a big donation for the holidays. Or it can be a small, personal gesture. Or both. But I’m pretty sure everyone will benefit.