Unless you are actually the one living with a chronic illness like IBD I don't think you can really understand just how exhausting and overwhelming it can become. When my symptoms first took hold of me in 1997 ALL I thought about was my gut and poo. No matter how hard I tried to take my mind off of it, I simply couldn't. I was sick and it was the IBD that was making me that way and it was all I could think of. Thankfully, my "obsessiveness" about this illness helped me to learn the many ways I could help heal my body. If you've read my other blogs then you know what I'm talking about - diet changes, Reiki, yoga, meditation, etc.
But, even after my symptoms calmed and I was able to get back to living my life without constant thoughts of poo and IBD I still found myself obsessing, and this time it wasn't helping. I couldn't get the house clean enough - mainly because after an hour or two of work I was simply too exhausted to finish the job. So, I'd have to quit even if the house was completely clean. Then, I'd end up feeling guilty for not being a good housekeeper and wife.
Even B.C. - before colitis - I'd had a pretty serious Type A personality. I came from a family with a German and Polish background and was born under the Virgo sign. Honestly, I was pretty tightly wound. But then add IBD on top of it and the fact that it limited my energy and, the two just didn't mesh.
I would wake up in the morning feeling under the gun to get everything done. This included things I hadn't been able to accomplish the previous day PLUS the things on that days list. And by that night I wouldn't be able to fall asleep because my mind raced with lists of all the things I didn't get done or done well that day.
My husband saw my frustration and while he couldn't help me with work he pitched in around the house. He'd do dishes, the laundry, and vacuum and dust the house. While appreciative of his help it wasn't uncommon for me to follow behind him and refold towels because they weren't quite right, wash a pot or dish again ‘cause he'd left a small smudge on it, or worry about the dust behind the books on the shelves that he'd neglected to find.
He got frustrated (being a Libra, things like dust and square corners on towels just didn't bother him) while I became even more exhausted. Finally, he gave me a book titled, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. . . and it's all small stuff. This was also around the time I introduced Reiki into my life. I read that little book every day for a month and slowly but surely the author's point started to seep into my brain. I could kill myself trying to live in a perfect house, with a perfect me and a perfect husband in an imperfect world, or I could let go of some of my obsessiveness and open up myself to learning to live in an imperfect, yet happy and fulfilling world.
Now, don't get me wrong. I loved this concept and I embraced it, but it wasn't EASY. Sometimes it still isn't. Moving from Reiki to yoga and meditation helps me to not over-do, over-think, and over-analyze my world. And I truly believe my body is happier and a bit healthier because I've allowed my brain to take a few steps back and not always to have to be perfect.
My house is not a dirty pigsty but it's also not spic ‘n span at all times. I can now allow newspapers and magazines to pile up on tabletops and not freak out. My husband has taken another stab at doing laundry, his way, and I'm now simply glad to have clean clothes that I didn't have to wash. Is my life really any different because the towels aren't always folded "my" way? Absolutely not! Am I happier because I simply don't worry about things like that anymore? You bet!
I've now got the ability to take that somewhat limited energy that I tend to have and participate in life and in those things that bring joy and happiness to my world, on my terms. I may not be a perfect, multi-tasking wonder woman, but I'm a much calmer and happier person living a more fulfilling life. And I'm grateful that I was able to let go of those insignificant small things that will always clutter my life's inbox.
Published On: August 25, 2008