The more I speak to other who are also housebound or have a chronic illness the more I have found that we all eventually find a point were we are contented with life and cope with everything that comes our way. It is as though our lives become peaceful. I have been trying to work out where this peace comes from and why we didn’t have it before becoming ill. I can think of no point in me life before my MS forced me into my home for good, that I was continually at ease and continually happy with what I had. Of course I had spells where life was good and I was happy, I’m not saying that I was constantly stressed out and hated my life, but this is so different. The more I have thought about it the more I seem to come down to two factors that may well explain it.
The first one is easy it is stress, there is so much stress in our everyday live now that it doesn’t surprise me that so many become ill because of it. A average day for all in our modern world start with stress the second the alarm clock forces us into being awake, rather than waking when we want and at our own pace. I still have the alarm set each day be my reaction to it has changed, I have now lost the next daily stresses of a simple thing like getting ready for and arriving on time each day for work. The commute for many involves traffic jams, crammed buses or trains and being held up by others not moving as fast as we want them to. In general the entire day at work has the potential to be a total minefield of stress bombs waiting to explode when we least expect or need them, stress attracts more stress. There is a precious point in the day lunchtime, a point that we should be able to relax and recharge for the second half, in reality is often as difficult as the rest of the day. Waiting in queues trying to get what we want to eat, expectation of enjoying a tasty meal that normally takes longer to get, than to eat and normally not quite what we thought of. Possibly try also to run a couple of errands the back or the supermarket adding into the stress pull before the afternoon battles. Work over and back to a commute, racing to get home to tackle those household chores that are piling up. Sound familiar? If you have kids the stress levels are all increased 10 fold.
The second, well this took a lot more thought and my conclusion may surprise you because I believe it is expectation. This world has and is damaging each and everyone of us due to expectations. We are bombarded daily with thing we never knew we wanted until the ad told us we did, we strive to constantly to acquire symbols of status cars, houses, cloths, holidays and as soon as we have them, they are out of fashion so we start again. Once you have a chronic illness you expectations change all those status symbols become unimportant, our requirements of them also changes, for example clothes. They need to first of all be easy to get on and off, comfortable to wear, easy to wash and require no ironing, fashion them may enter the equation about here, this type of clothing rarely has a designer label or their price tags. If you can no longer work, well again expectations change as you have to adapt to an unchangeable budget, that budget is also one of the changes you have to accept and it changes more of your life than you may think. If your illness like mine means that you don’t know if you will be able to walk tomorrow, well you don’t plan for tomorrow, everything is about today.
With little stress and changed expectations and the knowledge you can’t change any of it, once the grief and anger is over a sense of contentment settles in, and life becomes peaceful. To many especially the young the idea that the latest phone and the best clothes are of no importance will sound nuts, but I can honestly say I am so much more content now than I ever was when I had the phone and the clothes.