The inherent vagueness of acceptance

ME/CFS

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Another long weekend stretches before me, with no money, no energy and no prospects of social interaction because everyone has other people or things in their lives. So hurrah!

Everything hurts and I feel like I’m a thousand years old right now. So things are great. The only thing I have really thought about for the past couple of months is work and how freaking exhausted I feel, so life is as full and rich as usual.

Even though I feel ancient, I ‘only’ turned 33 this month, another birthday in the same situation (that’s my 30th, 31st, 32nd and 33rd, in case you’re not counting like I am). I guess the main life lesson in recent months (now that I’m even more mature etc) has been that everyone is pretty much over me being sick (I’ve been over it for quite some time, fyi) and that when one is in their 30s they must pay a psychologist to listen to them in order to be ‘adulting’ properly, especially if you’re single because that’s pretty much the only way you’re going to get to have a deep and meaningful conversation with anyone anymore.

This is the second time I’ve tried going to a psychologist, and while less anxiety-dry-retching-in-the-carpark than the last experience, which actually made me feel worse and deeply resentful of how the medical profession views ME/CFS, this time it was… fine? (thanks to not being CBT perhaps.) But ultimately I feel much the same as when I began. Apparently I’m just supposed to ‘accept’ everything that is shit about my life right now, and after five sessions was told I’m clearly doing everything I can, so I just need accept my situation and be kind to myself, here’s a print out, and that was that. $500ish from me, $550ish of taxpayer’s Medicare money (anyone who tells you a mental health plan makes this stuff free is lying to you or doesn’t live in Canberra). There’s lots of scrawly lettered shit on Instagram posted by lifestyle accounts run by skinny people who permanently wear yoga pants that says much the same thing. But cool, sure.

The thing about acceptance is that it is pretty much a bullshit way of saying that I should accept that fuckwit commenters will recommend going for walks as a cure for my illness in article comments on The Guardian, that I should ‘accept’ that I won’t get to have children or even a fucking dog because I’ll be renting til I die, and that I shouldn’t be fucking furious that our government has barely spent a cent properly researching this fucked up illness. Acceptance suggests that I shouldn’t be fucking mad that our society makes existing as a single woman in a part-time job with a postgraduate qualification from the country’s top university a paycheck-to-paycheck proposition, even when your parents frequently bail you out when they should be saving for retirement. And because I couldn’t find any regular activities to do that were fatigue-friendly and weren’t excessively expensive in the session where we tried to come up with ‘solutions’ to why I feel socially isolated, I’m just supposed to accept that too.

Great.

(Right now I’m just trying to accept that maybe I could have spent that $50 of that $500 buying the matching Ikea bedside table to the one I currently have so I could feel like the kind of competent 33-year-old adult who has two matching bedside tables, and then spent the other $450 paying down more of the crushing debt that I have accrued pursuing ‘solutions’ to this shitty illness, but instead I spent it on being told to accept things…)

Earlier this month I also had the absolute pleasure of turning down a free work trip to Jakarta because I wouldn’t be able to do what was needed. Just my former home where I spent 2.5 years of my life, no biggie. It only caused me physical pain to say no, like it physically hurt me in my gut like I had been repeatedly kicked with a heavy boot because it was so heartbreaking, but fine. And I have the great pleasure of helping everyone at work organise their trips to PNG and Fiji in the coming months, while I get to stay in fucking frigid Canberra. No biggie, just haven’t been overseas in more than three years when travel is one of my greatest passions and constantly feel anxious that people are going to ask me when I was last in the region and when I haven’t been my professional credibility will be undermined, but all good, totally fine, acceptance!

That’s the thing about acceptance — what the hell else have I been doing for the past 3.5 years? Did I write a crazy email to turn down the Jakarta trip, or try to go when it was beyond my abilities, or was I like ‘I’m so sorry, I can’t come even though I would love to, but here’s some other people who might be able to do this?’ (Obviously I wrote a nice email… after I randomly burst into tears about it over a period of three days… because I ACCEPT that I can’t go.) Do I yell at people in the office that I wish I was booking a flight to the Pacific so why can’t they get themselves organised because I would KILL for an overseas plane ticket right now, or do I just patiently remind them to make sure they have a visa and have registered on Smart Traveller and that they really better book their flight really soon? I still have my job, so obviously it is Option B.

I am still fucking furious about my situation and I want my proper life back, but I manage to be fairly high functioning in the circumstances. But from all sides the messages I am getting are that I should ‘accept’ everything even more than I’m already doing — and on many fronts that is actually code for ‘stop talking about it and get over it’. (Or on some wonderful fronts, that I should just try harder to get well or less disgustingly fat…)

So here I am, 33-going-on-303, bored out of my mind without the energy (or money) to do much about it, increasingly distanced from any kind of social life, and watching my own potential be wasted. Well, sorry, but that is bullshit and I am not going to accept that or shut up about it. Fuck that.

One Response to " The inherent vagueness of acceptance "

  1. M says:

    Happy birthday. Hope you feel better soon…