I spent the whole of yesterday questioning myself. It started off early morning by reading a comment whereby someone was analysing my personality and how I deal with situations. I hadn’t asked for the analysis and found it intrusive, but out of respect to the person I thought about the comment, gave it due consideration, questioned my reaction to it, then put it out of my head. Whilst I know the person has a good heart and is well meaning I find it strange they think it’s their role to put me on the metaphorical therapist’s couch. I then questioned whether or not to include the incident in this blog post, and decided it isn’t written out of any kind of malice and just happened to be part of a day with self doubt as its theme.
I then did some research online and wound up on a very popular low histamine website. As I read about the evils of dairy products, grains and sugar and the advice that those who eat them will never be well, I started questioning my own diet. Even though I’ve cut out dairy and grains before to absolutely no avail, I started wondering whether or not I should have another bash. And then I thought: but the person who writes this advice doesn’t have Ehlers-Danlos. And it’s the EDS that’s causing the mast cells to be over-active. So how would not eating dairy or grains alter my genetic make-up? And the answer came that it wouldn’t. Nothing I eat, or don’t eat, will cure my mast cell disease – it’s not curable, any more than my EDS is curable. I manage it pretty well, considering that just a year ago I was passing out or having anaphylaxis after every meal and I now haven’t had a bad mast cell reaction since……..I think sometime in 2013……..and managing it is all I can do. I still have bad times where I’m quite reactive, but then the looming menopause isn’t helping the situation one iota. And there’s not much I can do to stop that train from travelling either.
My recent post on Chronic Fatigue and M.E. has been one of my most popular to date. If I’d known how many people were going to read it I might have spent more than 30 minutes whipping it up in a sleep-deprived stupor ;-) So then I started to question whether I’d included all the relevant information. Eeek, I hadn’t mentioned muscle weakness which is a very important M.E. symptom and vital to diagnosis. Should I go back and put it in? But by now everyone’s read it so they wouldn’t see it. Did my readers think it was a rubbish post because I’d left it out? And on and on the questioning went.
Take a breath Jak, take a breath.
I live in the middle of nowhere surrounded by sheep and farmers. Rush hour where I live consists of 2 tractors and a man on a bike, so my 200,000+ blog visitors from over 40 countries has been a bit of a culture shock. I’m not worldly wise, particularly after being virtually housebound for 20 years, and I probably take too much of what is said online to heart. But I like to think I have a big heart, so it’s hard not to ;-)
I’m sure other bloggers will agree that putting yourself ‘out there’ can be really quite stressful. You agonise over everything you say: have I said too much; been too personal; are my facts correct; will I offend anyone (do I care if I offend anyone?). It’s hard to stay true to myself on the days I’m evil with hormones, or grumpy with pain, or foggy with sleep deprivation, or simply overwhelmed by life – I know in these situations I’m sometimes snappy and irritable and really should step away from the keyboard. But as my life is currently made up of hormones, pain, sleep deprivation and feeling overwhelmed if I did that I probably wouldn’t blog at all ;-) And despite extensive reading and re-reading I always, always make some kind of typo which is mortifying when it’s emailed out to a couple hundred people.
It’s not easy this blogging malarkey. It’s hard to steer a straight course through chronic illness when you don’t really know what you’re doing and every man and his dog are telling you their way is the right way, the only way. When, on a bad day, you reach out for comfort or advice and are picked over or criticized instead. It’s difficult to take on board so many differing people’s opinions, some of which are truly valuable, and decide which to keep and which to set aside.
Questioning yourself is something we should all do from time to time: it keeps our ego in check, it helps us grow and change, or reminds us we’re actually doing OK as we are. But there’s a fine line between questioning every single thought or action and as a result becoming paralyzed to do or say anything at all, and allowing yourself to just be who you are, trusting your own judgements and remaining happy in your own skin. Some days I get the balance right, others not so much. I’m OK with that :-)