Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Desire: The Root of my Existence

We are all born with it. Some use it to its full potential …others not so much. For some poor souls they lose it later in life. I am talking about the feeling of desire.
Desire comes in many forms. It can be physical, emotional or spiritual…not necessarily in that order or in exception. As a child our desires are of a physical nature. The desire to eat, sleep and be held; funny that those desires never seem to leave us. Instead we have added desires as we grow. The desire to succeed, for some this means to be the best in everything they do. For others it means to just get along peacefully. But what does it mean to the chronically ill that is faced with daily challenges? Desire and succeeding takes on a whole new meaning, it is mixed in the soup of the desires we are born with.
Before Lupus I had the desire to be successful in business. To be accomplished as an artist, mother and wife. Today my business is 18 years old and despite this bad economy doing ok. I have had shows of my artwork around the globe. And my writing has taken a similar path. My daughter is grown and someone I am very proud of. I have been married for 20 years and although like everyone we have our ups and downs I still picture myself with him until the end. On paper I have fulfilled all my life dreams. You would think that that is where the yearning would stop…but it doesn’t. So I ask myself today and I would like you to do the same…what are your desires? Have you fulfilled all that you want or are there areas in your life that have been left undone?
My desire today is to live a long life. Not too much to ask for. Most people don’t even think about such things. Unfortunately with the lupus patient this is always on the forefront of our minds. We all know that one blood clot could make us lose this battle by the time we hit the floor. The key is to take this desire to live and use it to our benefit and not as an image of doom and gloom. With some of the meds we are forced to take that can be difficult as they seem to push us into that kind of thinking. So I say step back and ask yourself…is the thought of death hindering my course of living, or is it enhancing it? If you find that the thoughts of death enter your mind at least once a day…it is hindering it. When I was first diagnosed I was put on a lot of steroids and antidepressants. This was because the doctors felt that I was taking the news too well. They were sure it was going to hit me emotionally hard at some point. I protested against the antidepressants but they wouldn’t budge; so I took them. I have to say on the first day it gave me a kind of numbing effect. One I wasn’t sure I liked. After a week I didn’t feel it was doing anything. But then after about a month I found myself thinking of death at least 20 times a day and I also lost my desire to move forward in my life. I have to say I was not suicidal. I was basically just existing and waiting for the “end”. I had a suspicion it was the antidepressants because of all those commercials you see on TV. So without telling my doctors I slowly weaned myself off them. And in very quick order my sense of desire came back. I felt somewhat reborn so to speak. I spent hours in my garden. I started painting again. And I started writing.

This got me to thinking that desire is more than a want. It is an important human element that is necessary for our well being and growth. Imagine a life without the propelled energy of desire. It would be merely an existence; and probably a boring one at that. Unfortunately with desire also comes decision making; sometimes in your favor and sometimes not. I have found that desire is the turn in the road in which we choose.
I know what you’re thinking…How does one follow their desires if they are plagued with fatigue? This illness has not only a huge fatigue factor but many also have it accompanied with fibromyalgia. Well you need to do the double “P” push yourself yet pace yourself. The pushing part is emotionally because with fatigue also comes a mental defeatist attitude. You need to push those thoughts aside and move past it. Don’t get caught up in the why me attitude…the pace your self is the physical component. It is a wise lupus patient that understands the reason we have this disease and the fact that our bodies are working two times as hard as the average just to fight the supposed flu it feels we have. So I suggest lists and realistic goals. What must be done is to be a strategist for your day, and the energy level you want to spend.
As I look out my back door I can see the effects of this. My garden is terribly over grown. I have a great desire to go and sit in it and weed. But with the sun where it is today I know I will have to wait until it is cloudy and then put on sunscreen to do it. My desires are simple these days. Long gone are the times of wanting to be a successful and world known artist. Instead I want to feel peace and fulfillment in all do. I don’t have the need to “leave something behind” although as an artist my work will always be out there. Instead I desire to feel accomplished at the end of the day that I did all I could do to the best of my ability, and have the mind to know what is important and what is not. Most importantly I still have this inner dialogue…which is my real desire.