Get More, Want More

My cognitive function has improved significantly over the year and a half.  I find myself able to do much more and even to be in contact with some from the “outside” world who make no allowances for disfunction or inacapcity simply because they do not know me as someone who is ill in anyway.

I find my ambitions increasing. I want to not only create art for myself but art which can be sold and can be collected. Yet I still lack the full range of function and capacity and sheer physical and mental resources to do ALL those things which must be done to be successful in this venture.

I look for advice and my head spins.  I hear criticism of those who wait to be discovered or who expect others to engage and nurture success for you.  I don’t choose to be passive – I am there because it is my forced hand.

It seems to make success I must do one of the following:

  • Be smarter than the average person. I must be creative and innovative within the limits I have (and also be able to constantly monitor what those limits are) despite not having full cognitive function to figure these things out or even to remember them
  • Redefine “success” to something I can actually attain. Is success making x amount of money or can it be as simple as finding an audience, or getting enjoyment from what I create?
  • Wait. To be better. Or to be discovered. Even when both are longshots.
  • Forget about it. Either in a negative way and dash my dreams. Or in a positive way and shift focus back to doing what I can do and being happy with that.

With every improvement in ME/CFS there is a joy and elation which seems to be followed by an inevitable desire to want more again.  If I can get out of bed before lunchtime it’s not long before I want to be going for a walk, or doing chores, or doing just that little bit more and more and more.

Motivation is not an issue with this illness. Desire to do more, be more, is never a problem. 

The heavy burden is rationing the resources I do have out amongst the many needs and wants, whilst letting go of the unnobtainable things, all while keeping sadness and negativity from taking a hold.

I cannot, whilst I am ill, try to be the average person. I can only be all that I am able with what little I have.  I guess I have to apply that to being an artist too.  Just as I have to apply it to being a wife, a daughter and a friend.

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3 Responses to “Get More, Want More”


  1. 1 Nina Bunin January 12, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Oh, man — I’m right with you. I would dearly love to open an Etsy store, but I know from reading that you can’t be successful there unless you can continuously produce!

    I, too have gotten (what to me seems) much better, but when I’m in the real world, I realize it’s a relatively tiny improvement. No way can I teach a workshop in creative healing…………which is one of the things I want to do.

    Sigh………………it WILL happen for us!

  2. 2 ashysheela January 13, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Rachel, what a beautifully written post, encompassing the losses we must deal with every day, while juggling the rest. You are right, these issues are applied to every area of life.

    I was surprised to see you describe yourself as passive in relation to your art – i know i am coming from an ill person’s perspective but i have been amazed and in awe of your fevered production and putting yourself “out there” – there may be many other ways to do this that would be available to a healthy artist but you are doing well. From tiny acorns my dear… you are making a very good step in the right direction.

  3. 3 cusp January 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    ‘Motivation is not an issue with this illness. Desire to do more, be more, is never a problem ‘: if only the wretched people who think we are depressed and demotivated would take this on board it ay be possible to get more understanding and support.

    I know exactly where you are coming from and the ‘exasperation of improvement’: you feel a bit better and spurred on to do more, to get that bit nearer to your goals and dreams and yet you know if you push too hard you could relapse. Living with ME is like living on a knife-edge.

    Even so you are improving and you are moving forward, pushing on and doing your best —- and that’s all you can do


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