For #BedFest, a virtual concert by ME patients, and to commemorate my eighth “illness anniversary,” I read from my memoir, Lightening the Shadow. Here's the opening:
I don’t feel tired; I feel like I body slammed a brick wall, not as much in the pain as in the “Ugh, I can’t move or think now” sensation. I feel like I’m five decades older than I am. I feel like I’m unplugged in the dark.
I didn’t think it in those words, but that’s what I was feeling as I combed my wet hair in the YMCA locker room after one of my hour-long swims. What I actually thought was Maybe this is more than a cold. I’m whipped, and my legs are sore, even though I didn’t swim as hard today. Swimming rarely made me sore, even after the two-hour-long practices I’d done on the high school swim team. Instead, swimming usually rejuvenated me mentally and physically. I consider it the best form of exercise, and it’s my favorite form because of water’s calming and cooling effect.
Darla Nagel is an editor and writing tutor who has an invisible chronic illness. She wants to help other patients and enlighten health care professionals about our experiences. If you’d like to be alerted whenever she writes a new post, sign up by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.