I find this notion of “I am doing good enough” incredibly difficult to define and accept. As someone who has had chronic fatigue and chronic pain for over half her life, I don’t know what it’s like to not have it. So, when I look at everyone else zooming around, doing so much, having all this energy, I think to myself how do they do that? why can’t I? I still can’t tell myself I have a chronic illness that reduces my ability to do everything. Not I have a chronic illness that stops me from doing things, because I am as stubborn as a mule and will chop my own nose off to spite my face, and if someone, even myself, tells me I cannot do a thing, damnit I will do the thing.
I still can’t tell myself it’s okay, I am doing as much as I can, and I am still doing well. This is because I am comparing my achievements to able-bodied people. Not only am I comparing my achievements to able-bodied people, but I am in a course where my achievements are compared to able-bodied people.
I am in one of the most difficult and gruelling degrees in the world, one that is hard for even able bodied people to undertake. I am allowed to be doing not as well as them.
But I don’t see that. I don’t think that. I’ve gone my entire life thinking, and being told, that I’m normal, that I’m just lazy, that I just need to try harder, work harder, do more. It’s a mentality I’m struggling to shift.
I suspect it’s a mentality many people with chronic illnesses and/or disabilities have difficulty with.
Sometimes I manage to remind myself. Sometimes I even manage to feel it in my heart, instead of just in my head, but that goes away with so much as a stiff breeze or an assignment. I try to keep up with my more able-bodied class-mates. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I struggle.
But at the end of the day, I am passing. I would like to be getting ‘average’ marks, and each time I think that, I tell myself I am doing good enough.