It's a universal impulse at this time of year to look back and to look forward. This week closes out the old year, and opens the new. It's the perennial Old Year/New Year reflection. Looking in two directions at once.
People who are chronically ill do this too, at least the ones able to think coherently enough for long enough periods. Some years, that wasn't me. Some years, I spent the weeks after Christmas in bed, sleeping chaotic hours around the clock. Dozing over an unread book. Staring uncomprehending out a window.
But not this year. This year I'm quite coherent, thank you. And I am doing the Old Year/New Year reflection.
We who are chronically ill ask many of the same universal human questions that healthy people do. Then there are other issues unique to us.
1) Was I happy last year? Will I be happy in the coming year?
If the year winding down has been rough, it can be hard to hope that something better will come. But ... hope anyway.
2) Was I healthy last year? Will I be healthy this year?
For some of us bad health has shrouded our past for more years than we can count. Some chronic lives have been like a Gothic tale of horror. A brand new year up ahead may inspire hope and anticipation, or fear of falling off a new precipice.
3) Have I moved ahead this year? Or have I lost ground?
I can rarely make a blanket statement as to whether life has been bad or good. I find it helps to look at different aspects of my life. And if anything has improved, my preference is to take that and fan its flames of hope, for all it's worth.
I've been viewed as being Pollyanna-esque or prey to wishful thinking. But I've already lost a lot to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I'm not letting it take anything more from me than I can help. And that especially includes my ability to hope.
4) What new things am I hoping for in the coming year?
Some of us with CFS are hoping for a doctor who is sympathetic and knowledgeable.