so this is what pride feels like…

Ever since I was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), I have experienced an array of emotions: fear, contentment, embarrassment, disappointment…and certainly happiness. However, it is not often that I feel proud of myself.

There just aren’t many opportunities for pride. My limited hours at work and my cognitive and memory issues aren’t exactly winning me any “lawyer of the year” awards. Other than to head to my office and the occasional tedious store stop, I do not leave home often.  I rarely rescue babies and puppies from burning buildings, and the extent of my bravery involves using a public restroom. Sometimes it feels like I’m just skating along on an endless plateau – no valleys, but no hills – just maintaining the status quo. I operate within my comfort zone, because beyond the borders of the zone lie setbacks. And impediments. And zombies.

I’m pleased that I made it through the wedding without too much difficulty, but that’s really just a combination of luck and a low symptomatic day. If I was proud of that, then logically it would follow that I should be disappointed in myself that I vomited and almost passed out at the DMV last week. But, I’m not. Kind of embarrassed that I had an audience, certainly, and happy I didn’t get any in my hair, but not disappointed.

As you know, shortly after the wedding I had a flare up and became quite symptomatic. My energy levels and my ability to stand for more than just a few minutes plummeted. Knowing that exercise can help manage symptoms, I started riding my recumbent bike or doing yoga, or both, everyday. Every. Day. It started with only being able to ride 5 minutes before I’d have to get off and lie down next to the bike. Now, I can ride for quite a bit longer (and lie down next to the bike). It has involved a lot of blood, sweat and tears, although the tears were from laughter of watching some Parks and Rec episodes on Netflix while I rode, and the blood was because I bit my lip after falling on my face while doing yoga.

I realize riding a stationary bicycle daily for a few minutes might not seem like a big deal. After all, there are people out there who run miles, swim laps, climb mountains everyday. Yet I am very proud of what I have accomplished in the past two months. Sure, I’m still more symptomatic than usual, but it isn’t about the results. Fuck the results. It’s about working hard for something. It’s about doing something that makes us feel good about ourselves, since those of us with chronic illnesses are accustomed to feeling bad. It’s about looking ridiculous while you do it.

picture of yoga pose
this yoga pose is called “pretend to do something while the camera goes off”.

So, go on friends, tell me something you’re proud of.

“Your dysfunctions are your superpowers – be proud of them.” – Mark Abadi

Smell ya later.
– Linds

14 Replies to “so this is what pride feels like…”

  1. Exercising is definitely something to be proud of. It’s possibly what I’m most proud of as it’s not always easy when you don’t feel well.

  2. It’s odd with POTS isn’t it, the things we are proud of now aren’t necessarily things that we would have been proud of before but sometimes come from places of more energy and effort than things we were proud of before. Congratulations, that was definitely something to be proud of :).

    1. it is odd!! prior to POTS, i exercised all the time, so riding a stationary bike for 20 minutes would be a bad day. like you said, i just try to focus on the effort put into it, and not on what was actually accomplished 🙂

      1. Perfect way to say it ‘ the effect put into it’ – I think i’ll try to remember it that way from now on :).

  3. I’m proud that I can use 10 lb free weights now when I started at 3’s! 🙂

    1. wow! that is definitely something to be proud of!!

  4. Congrats!! With POTS things vary so much day to day, so doing what we can do on that day is what we should be proud of 🙂

  5. Congratulations, on the wedding and on increasing your bike time! From having a chronic illness of my own, I know that social events and exercise are not always easy to get through!

  6. Nice work doing just a small amount every day!
    I’m proud of how I can accept my recovery days. I still can’t anticipate them very well or adjust my behaviour right away – I end up being confused and upset that I can’t do the things I was doing the day before; but once I’ve connected the dots I’m getting really good at just chilling out for a few days.

  7. Wow- the stationary bike is a big deal !! Congrats 🙂 I’ve thought about getting a recumbent bike. Still working out how to get my ratty knees on and off without killing myself. But- that is really great that you’ve been able to do this !

  8. I admire that you were able to go to the DMV! I’m lucky if I manage to walk down the drive way and sit in the car just to pick up medication! As for exercising keep at it. Any amount of exercise is good. 🙂

    1. thank you! the DMV is one of my least favorite places. it didn’t go well and i had to sit on the dirty ground outside the DMV, but i did make it!

  9. I’m returning to work in the next few weeks for 2 days a week. I was excited but I just crashed the last few after doing so well so now I’m a little worried how I’ll go. Meditating and gentle exercise have helped me.

  10. *the last few days

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