When you have a chronic illness you learn to recognize the ends of yourself. Unfortunately, the ends of yourself approach more rapidly than they do for people without illness. The brick wall called fatigue meets you smack in the face and knocks you over just when it looks like other people have only begun to have a good time.

Physical stamina can be its own issue but it is a bit easier to recognize than its cousin, Emotional Stamina.

You’ll know it as the feeling of having nothing “left over” for people around you. Friends and family would say that you seem detached and numb, because you are.

There isn’t a lot in your reserves any way, but when symptoms flare it’s worse. Sometimes I feel as if I don’t even recognize the people around me because my ability to maintain emotional attachment is so compromised. It can seem scary, but it isn’t. Once you look at it for what it is, running out of emotional stamina can be managed the same way as physical fatigue.

1. Maintain a healthy prospective
Sometimes you’ll be tapped out no matter how hard you’ve worked to make sure you don’t. It’s okay. Be gentle with yourself when it happens. It won’t last forever.

2. Maintain a healthy distance
Getting caught up in other people’s drama isn’t a good idea for anyone, but when you have a mental illness, it’s even less of a good idea. It can wear you out emotionally faster than anything. Know how to make boundaries around what is and is not your responsibility to deal with. You can’t use this as an excuse to run away from your problems, but by all means use it as an excuse to run away from erroneous crap. It’s your responsibility to know the difference.

3. Maintain healthy habits
I ┬áhave learned that certain things are emotionally exhausting for me. Long, serious, conversations; listening to a lot of emotional stories; talking about my life; or watching a lot of news can be extra draining for me. So, I have to pace myself. Shoot, even being around people I care about can be troublesome. I want to be around them, so I don’t take time to be by myself and recharge. Time alone is important for me. I’m bad at remembering that. So I have to be intentional.

 

People may think it’s weird that you have these boundaries but they aren’t you so it doesn’t matter what they think. Don’t freak out about people not understanding. These things are important so you can be available for what’s important. I have missed out on a lot because I just wasn’t able to be present. By pushing myself to meet other people’s expectations, I didn’t get to experience moments that mattered to me.

Your emotional stamina is just as important as the physical. Don’t forget to take care of that part of yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/8070463@N03/7410799310″>Yawning young lioness</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

 

abuse, advice, anxiety, Boundaries, C-PTSD, caregivers, comfort, complex trauma, courage, depression, emotions, family, friends, healing, hope, invisible illness, mental illness, pain, patience, recovery, self care, special needs, stamina, Trauma