CW: suicidal ideation, capitalism, chronic illness.
A friend reached out to us, in our shared community, after having struggled with emotions around their chronic illness around the new year. The New Year always comes with resolutions, people making big plans for the year to come, and for some of us with chronic illnesses, especially ME/CFS, it often means coming face to face with the fact that we can’t produce anything of worth. I say this in this way because this is basically what capitalism has taught us. If we can not work a full time job, or even a part time job, we are of no worth. This is something which is incredibly hard to disengage from, and avoid feeling when you’re feeling vulnerable, and unable to perform and “contribute the way you should to society”.
The person who posted this, and made me think about it, shares a lot of wonderful thing with us in our community, and they are definitely contributing something valuable to people around them. Everyone has something to contribute, and I guess a more socialist or even communist view of it would be to see how we all affect each other and contribute to each others well being, even if we can’t all do the same physical or mental activities.
When I am reminded of this, the dread also creeps up on me occasionally. And sometimes it also brings me ideas of suicide. Thinking what purpose do I have, if I’m only a burden, wouldn’t it be better if I wasn’t here, if I wasn’t taking up space? It’s easy to hit that wall once in a while. Some things we try to not think about because they’ll only make us want to kill ourselves. No, I’m not speaking for everyone with a disability, but I do feel from what I’ve seen other people talk about that I am not alone in this.
I’m currently in a situation in my life where me and my partner is looking for a house or flat to buy, and we need money, and a mortgage to be able to do so. Me not having an income, and not being able to take a normal job without great risk to my health, is becoming a problem, and it’s becoming a problem for me personally because it’s causing me pain every day. Even if I know I can’t work, I still started to look at jobs and trainee positions, and especially equal opportunity employers.
So, while it’s possible to think of it as only mind ghosts, it’s also a reality of pressure we find ourselves in. What can we contribute or produce to be allowed to live?
This also reminded me about my own goals, that I had in the 3rd quarter of 2019, when I relaunched my Patreon. At the time I was high on a summer of energy, and recovery and being so much more healthy than I had been in years. I was ready to take on something new, and I felt like the week of conferences had proved that to me. I was ready to head out and do all the things. Then I was hit with the flu, slipping down the stairs, another cold, and winter stomach flu in the span of 2 months, and it really drained me. The last one was just around Christmas, and I’m still recovering from it all.
So, what about admitting defeat? I have felt defeated by my intentional goal of actually going out and seeing the world and attending these conferences, but having been unable to for the past 4 months. Therefor I’m deciding, for my own health’s sake, to take a step back, and focus on what works for me. To focus on what I can do right now. And I know that I can write right now.
Since I don’t know how much I can write yet, I want to set the goal a bit smaller than I would’ve attempted otherwise, and it is that I want to write one bigger thing once a month. One article that I work on through the weeks, and if I have 2-3 shitty weeks that month I should still be able to publish something.
As you can tell, I’m still feeling the need to produce something of value, even though I said what I said at the beginning of the post. If you follow me over on Mastodon, you may have just seen me published a big thread about asking for support, so I am going to end this blog post with an actual call to action, where, if you read a few blog post last year from here, or just read this and felt struck by it, and recognize yourself in it the idea of labour being the only measure of worth, please consider supporting me on Patreon, Liberapay or Ko-fi, a monthly donation if you can, of even just $1, will go a long way to help me settle into my new life, and let me focus on something that has always been with me, and that’s writing and connecting with people.
I hope to connect with more of you when sharing my thoughts and reflections on things and topics. If you’re curious about other writings I’ve done here’s a sample:
Activity Pub (the Conference)
On Mastodon and Nazis
On Bi Visibility
Deradicalization and who can safely do it
Vi ska inte behöva… (in Swedish, about healthcare)
When Life Beats You Up
A Whiff of Fallen Leaves
Sick and Sick
Thank you for listening.