• Sophie Ward

Strength, Acceptance & Support.

As many of you who kindly follow my blogs will know that despite all the brave faces and smiles I am and have been for many years now pretty unwell, and that's putting it lightly.

I would hide my symptoms due to the fact I thought myself I was going crazy because thats what I was being made out to be!

It's been hell and quite frankly there are some days I need to give myself more credit because I don't know how I make the day through. I wouldn't wish this pain and disease on anyone! 

People just see the girl I portray. Which for the past decade was how I wanted people to see me and not question if I was in pain or struggling as I saw my symptoms as weaknesses. This is completely wrong, however I was going through all this in a part of my life when you are supposed to be finding yourself. You want to be living life to the full, be here there and everywhere. Experiencing as much as you possibly can. So feeling tired, pain, irritable and often tearful seemed as weaknesses to me. They were a far cry from fun, happy, going-with the flow, life and soul of the party. However my health is in a bad way and I am truly struggling and more the blessing of being able to hide my pain is slowly being taken away from me. This leading me to accept and hope that you all appreciate and can understand as best you can ( I know how hard this is! And is such a massive ask on my part as even myself who lives inside of my body doesn't understand! ) that sometimes I may not be on top form. I may have to cancel or change plans. Or you may pull the short straw and get an irritated, upset Sophie. For this I apologise -greatly. 

In the last few months since my body - annoyingly to me can't bounce back like it used to and symptoms have become unbearable, along with intense treatments I have been forced to accept and wake up to the seriousness of my condition. This wasn't a joke! This wasn't a case of getting a grip or snapping out of it .. there is thousands of dangerous bacteria and viruses attacking my tissues and organs. I can't simply pull myself together and get a grip. I can't. I can't plan that Friday my pain will be a 8 instead of a 10 because I have a busy day. I can't begin to explain the utter stress I go through panicking about dealing with busy days and with a high pain rating. This is why I can't just go with the flow. If we have made plans or set a time - the preparation I have to go through to meet these plans isn't simply a case of rolling out of bed, running a quick shower, grabbing some clothes and a quick slice of toast/ sandwich. 

I will wake up not feeling anything. Feeling totally numb and paralysed. You feel so weak you have to find the motivation to move. You then have to face the shower and find something easy to wear as your arms ache like crazy. You then have to take a number of pills and drink herbal teas before beginning breakfast. You tire quickly! So you have to make sure you give yourself a 20-30 minute break between all this to recharge. So a 30minute job to you, pretty much takes me an hour and a half / two. 

So when plans change or are altered it really knocks me. As at this point, I am so exhausted and I am yet to leave the house. 

I am not appreciating how I do so well to get up in the morning. Let alone leave the house. 

I think all of this is even though it the worst situation EVER - but find the positives right? This journey and chapter in my life is teaching me that I need to give myself a little more credit. Be kinder to myself and really recognise my strength. As not everyone would be able to deal with all of this in the way I do. 

I am no hero. I stress that, far from it and so wish I was stronger. A hero however, is definitely my Mama. Though, I must recognise that I am not a lazy person, I am not someone who doesn't give 110 per cent into everything, nor do lie down and surrender. 

With chronic illness and diseases, they are quite invisible and although we paint the smile on we are in pain. The road isn't a straight and narrow road, we suffer many relapses - good and bad days which we have to learn to work around.

In the past I would push through - doing the old athelete's chat to myself 'get a grip'   causing me to hide to the world 🌎 how I  was really feeling and a lot of the time putting my health at risk or pushing myself back. 

Now.. not ( guilty as charged ) fully from learning from mistakes but from the pain increasing. I am learning how to prioritise, compromise and be truly grateful. Yes, I may want to go to that concert or BBQ. More than anything. However, knowing you will only hack an hour having to leave early, struggle with the travel, food and over all socialising. Sometimes if it's a long event you have to kindly decline. This hurts and isn't taken lightly.  I love seeing, spending time and having fun with my nearest and dearest. To have to decline and be reduced to the sofa and a film is soul destroying. It can get you extremely down. That is why I try so hard to see people when I can, do chilled out but shorter events. So I can really enjoy them before becoming to fatigued and brain fogged. I can then really enjoy the event with the least amount of stress and cherish every moment. 

I am such a lucky girl to have an amazing family, close group of friends & work friends that understand the situtation and really work hard to look after, include me and tailor events around me. For this I am SO grateful, more than words can explain. The on-going support, love and kindness is priceless. Just them checking in, or taking me out for a drink makes my day. As it's now such a pleasure for me to still be able to do that. 

This post is about learning that we can use our weaknesses as strengths, therefore no longer making them weaknesses. That it is is ok to show the pain we feel and that we can't all be strong all of the time. So why expect it of ourselves?

In the past I have often got the comment, 'Well she seemed fine yesterday, so why are you telling me things are too bad for her to function today?' Why, did I get these comments - because I painted on that smile and lied about how I felt. Only leaving people's comments like the above to scar me with guilt and question my own strength. When I was stronger that ever going so long without the smile fading. That is what we have to teach ourselves to understand and see. To enable us to be kinder on ourselves. 

My last post telling you about my wheelchair killed me inside. Never, ever did I think I would find myself in this position. I felt valulabe as my skills for holding it all together have become so great over the past decade that now I know people will question why my health is so bad and where did it all go wrong. 

I myself have reached the point where I can't hide the pain anymore and I do need the extra hand. I have to accept that this isn't because I am not strong enough. In fact it makes me stronger accepting my limitations and helping myself not pushing myself. Also, wanting to truly thank you all for your support, kindness and understanding. Your support helping me accept and be strong with the situtation and the journey I am on. 

I hope you have all enjoyed the most amazing sunny weekend. Really soaking up the beauty of blue skies, friends, family and good grub. Creating memories and cherishing every moment. 

I am truly grateful for the friends and family I have spent my weekend in the company of and the sun I have been able to sit out in, even if just for short periods of time. With my pillows and cushions surrounding me. 

That's how I roll. 

Thank you for reading.

Once again a massive thank you to you all. I love you all with all my heart❤️ . 

Love and peace 



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