“Passion is the energy that comes from bringing more of YOU into what you do.” –Curt Rosengren
When I saw the topic of this edition of the ChronicBabe Blog carnival, it threw me a bit. After all, passion requires energy, and energy tends to be in short supply when you have a chronic illness because dealing with all the crap that goes along with being sick drains you. As I thought about it, though, I realized that passion also PROVIDES energy, and the more passionate you are about something, the more energy that passion gives you.
Work is a good example of this idea – watch the people who love their work. They always have the energy they need to do what they love doing, even when they’re sick. The passion they feel for their work helps them find a way to do what they need to do, and even seems to help reduce the severity of their symptoms.
Contrast that with those who hate their jobs, who are just putting in the time they have to so that they can bring home that check, or keep that insurance, and survive just a bit longer. Their symptoms are worse, their stress levels are higher, and they struggle just to get through the day. When they get home, they’re exhausted and retreat into the computer, the TV, a book, or just into sleep; escaping into any activity that will distract them from the misery of a job they hate and the feeling of being trapped by circumstances beyond their control.
I’ve been in both situations (in the same job,) and while I loved what I was doing, I was always able to work extra hours or whatever else I needed to do to get the job done. Once things started changing (company reorganization after company reorganization, changes in my responsibilities, changes in the work environment, changes in the company rules, etc.;) my symptoms got worse, and the fatigue got unmanageable. Instead of showing up early and leaving late every day, it was all I could do to show up in the morning and I started counting the minutes until I could leave. The job became a nightmare that never ended, because even when I WASN’T working, there was a sense of dread lurking in the background, and the closer it got to the time I had to go back, the worse I felt.
Since then I’ve discovered my passion again . . . I CARE about things, and I feel like I actually have choices again. When I lost my passion, I lost the sense that I controlled anything in my life, and feeling out of control led to huge amounts of negativity. Trying to suppress the negative feelings also deadened the positive ones, and led to a feeling of disconnection and isolation, even from the people I love most.
Now that I’ve found something outside myself and my immediate circle to care about, I find that I can connect to the people I love more easily. Even though I spend much of my time alone, I no longer feel isolated or disconnected; and I find myself more able to share myself with the ones I love.
Find something you’re passionate about, that wakes you up and stirs your blood; and it will change your life as well. It may not improve your health, or reduce your pain, but it will distract you from the negative parts of your life. It will give you a sense that you can CHANGE things, and if you think you can make changes, you CAN.