I have worn the rose colored glasses throughout my life. My childhood role in the family deemed the glasses as necessary. I flashed that smile and said, “I can do this”. Most of the time I could. I grew into a multitasking adult who was always fine. I pushed through tasks when I was tired or ill. I did not accept limits.
For the past two years, I have been struggling with the chronic illness, Myasthenia Gravis. My pattern was to use my optimistic coping skills to deal with my MG. During the first year of this illness, I made the mistake of exerting myself whenever I felt the least amount of increased strength. This did not work. My illness and weakness increased with exercise. My neurologist said, “Exertion will make you sicker and rest will make you stronger”. During a ten day stay in ICU, I told my doctor that I was “O.K.” He told me to stop lying to him because we both knew that I was not “O.K.”. He pointed out that optimism is a good approach to many parts of life, but not this illness. I learned so much during the conversation that pursued.
During this second year of this illness, I am learning how to be realistic without being pessimistic. I have learned how to break my minimal activities into small parts. I move slowly, for the first time in my life. I have learned plan to rest completely the day before and after an appointment. I say “no” sometimes. I can ask for help.
I continue to wear the rose colored glasses quite a bit. Things are not going as I had planned, but the glasses now help me see the way things are. The glasses help me see that I do not have to be a productivity number. The glasses help me not feel guilty when I can see that some friends want and expect me to be the way I once was. The glasses help me choose people and experiences that fill me up rather than drain me.
I am learning how to be honest about my weakness and limits. At the same time I feel happy most of the time. With a few changes in technique, I can make art. I hear and enjoy music. I meditate. In spite of double vision, I read. Digital devices help me increase my font. Prisms change double and triple images to a single image. I have a big TV and I like movies. It is difficult for me to speak and for others to understand me. No, I don’t like my speech limits, but when I put the rose colored glasses on, I feel so grateful to be living in the world of social media. I have decided to keep the rosy glasses nearby at all times.