A Lesson from My Pa in Orange

My Pa in Orange recently celebrated a birthday. So this week’s blog post is a tribute to him. One of the biggest things I am trying to learn, which my Pa seems to do effortlessly, is to never give up. His life has been coloured with hardship, heartache, loss and health issues a plenty. Each time he gets knocked down he manages to pick himself up, adapt and soldier on.

For me I tend to break first; floods of tears, feeling like I just can’t get back up again. I have to make the conscious choice to not give up and for the last couple of months in particular, I have had to make that choice to never give up every single day.

A few months back in Sunset and Sunrise I wrote:

Two weeks ago I went to the doctor and explained that even though I struggle with anxiety the feelings of deep sadness, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts were new and they worried me. After a lengthy discussion I was diagnosed with reactive depression.

When I have feelings of wanting to give up it goes further than just having a bad day. It brings the feelings of deep sadness and hopelessness to the surface with incredible force.

Psalm 94:18 -19 “When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

For the last couple of weeks I have really struggled with tiredness, due to Chronic Fatigue (see A Mountainous Journey), to the point of having afternoon naps (which I never usually do) just to get through the day. I forgot it happens every year as the weather changes from winter to spring. This year I coped better emotionally for the most part. I say the most part because I didn’t cry this year; but I did feel like a horrible person for needing to rest. Like I was one point down in the friendship or family stakes. Without realising it at the time, I was able to better meet the challenge of overwhelming tiredness by becoming more like my Pa.

Become a self – cheerleader rather than a self – critic: Pa has always had a positive outlook on life; me I sometimes allow the negative to have too much of a say. In the past I have yelled at myself to the point of tears for being tired and tearing shreds of myself as a person. But Chronic Fatigue is largely out of the person’s control who is experiencing it. I have no choice of when it affects me more severely than other times. So I am learning to tell myself it is not your fault you feel tired at the moment and being tired does not make you less of a person people want to be around, in fact people love you regardless of the fact you struggle with Chronic Fatigue.

Ride it out: Whenever my Pa has a crisis in his life, he has taken it one day at a time. I couldn’t change how I was feeling despite desperately wanting to. So I took each day as it came. Interestingly I felt a lot worse if I slept in, feels like a hangover; compared to taking afternoon naps though, I will admit it did mess with my night time sleeping as a result but I struggled to get through the day without it because the fatigue was so overwhelming.

Find ways to regain quality of life: My Pa is a champion at this. For me, going through a low in Chronic Fatigue I chose to exercise as this helps elevate the daily living with Chronic Fatigue. I would do some stretching or go for a walk (which is what I usually do) but I also listened to my body, if I didn’t feel up to exercising I didn’t push myself as I knew I would feel worse.

This is the fourth day I haven’t needed an afternoon nap to simply get through the day. I will take that as #winning.

Thanks Pa for your love, support and encouragement and showing me daily what it looks like to never give up, and to be happy in spite of my situation.



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