From Weakness Grows Strength

Dear Audy,

I decided to take yesterday off from NHBPM and enjoy some time out at my youngest cousin’s 18th birthday. It was lovely to have a day off, however I have a thing for even numbers, so I’m going to whack out an extra post today and keep on track to get to the magic 30.

Day 17 has prompted me to think about my strengths and weaknesses. This is always one of those subjective, confusing and seemingly more difficult questions to answer honestly.

Click image for source, it’s a totally rad tatt design.

People say that I’m strong all the time, they also call me brave. Living with a chronic illness such as CRPS is a hugely daunting challenge and those who have not experienced it can have difficulty imagining such a life.

Being called brave for living life is a strange thing. Some people who live with chronic illness dislike being praised for it because they are just making the best out of what life has given them, they aren’t saving lives like firefighters or bomb diffusers.

Personally, I think there are different forms of courage and choosing to survive and thrive every day is one of them.

Some people don’t recognise “making the best of something” as brave, but I think it is. I know how dark and nasty life can get and it I believe it takes courage to live it.

I think that everybody who seeks to make lemonade from their lemons is brave, it’s so much easier to just whinge about your sour fruit. It’s so much easier to accept a limit on what you can cope with than to fight to overcome even the toughest of trials. It’s so much easier to just give up than solve problems.

Sometimes, I do feel strong and brave. Sometimes, I feel like a warrior, roaming through the battlefield of chronic pain and striking down whatever opposes me. Other times, however, I feel weak and tired and incapable of overcoming anything more than I already have.

Strength and weakness are relative, just like good and bad. Neither can exist in permanent and total absence of the other. To be strong, you have to know what it’s like to be weak and vice versa.

I do have strengths, I have things that I do more successfully than other things that I do. I also have weaknesses, stuff that I’m just not that good at. Living this dichotomy is a just a part of the human condition, it’s the ying and the yang.

Listing activities and traits feels a bit arbitrary, so I’m going to boil this down to the truth at the bottom of each barrel:

My biggest strength is my faith that there is always a way past the obstacles that life throws at me.

My biggest weakness is self doubt, in all of its forms and sneaky appearances.

It’s not all that complicated, really. I don’t have all the answers, but I recognise that fact and I continue searching, I think that’s a strength. When I’m feeling weak, my mind goes to places of fear and beliefs of insufficiency, places that I consider unhelpful to my overall existence and I think of that as a weakness.

Strengths, weaknesses, bravery, cowardice, hope, fear…they’re all just labels at the end of the day. How we choose to interpret and implement these driving emotions is what’s important.

Most of my strengths come from challenging my weaknesses, so were they weaknesses to begin with? Maybe.

Or maybe, they were just strength triggers.

Perspective is everything.

What does being strong or weak mean to you?

Thanks so much to everybody that has been supporting me in the NHBPM challenge! If you like what I am doing, please share these posts with the people that you share things with or click that little thumbs up. It’s CRPS Awareness Month, which is why I’m choosing to disclose a little more about my health on a daily basis. The more awareness that we can raise, the easier it will get for people who are navigating the choppy waters of chronic pain.

Love & Catch Ups,

P.S. Later today, I’m going to get stuck into an article on advice for people caring for somebody who lives with chronic pain. Tune back in this afternoon, Audy, it’s a manic Monday up in ‘ere!

WEGO, CRPS Awareness Month, #NHBPM

This post written as a part of National Health Blog Post Month, run by WEGO health. Check out what people have been contributing via #NHBPM on Twitter, or joining the NHBPM Facebook Event.

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  • One thought on “From Weakness Grows Strength

    1. Rusty Hoe

      For me strength and brave are different entities. Maybe it’s the overuse of the term ‘brave’ in the media but it rubs me the wrong way. I get up and I get through my day not though bravery but just because there really is no choice but putting one foot in front of the other. And there is an inherent pressure to be the ‘brave’ patient and conversely judgement if you don’t meet the ideal (may have an issue left over from it’s problematic use back when I was working in neuro rehab;)). Strength for me at least allows for more fallibility. Life isn’t always great, we don’t always deal with it well and sometimes those little voices get the best of us, but we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and keep going. For me that’s strength. At an individual level use of either word doesn’t effect how I live my life or how I think about it, but in the bigger picture the pervasive effect of certain words on the construct of illness in the wider society can’t be discounted.

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