Do you ever hop on social media and come across a post you feel was written for you, and only you?
I know social media sometimes gets a bad rap. But at the same time, I don’t want to write social media off entirely. I love my online community and truly care about my followers — or as I consider them, friends. So, in small doses, I continue to show up. I continue to interact with my cyber friends and make an effort to fill my feeds with those who will inspire me, encourage me, and even stop me from scrolling so that I’ll think about the message a post is trying to convey. I love when a post pops up and resonates with me when I need it most.
The other day, I opened Instagram to a quote by one of my favorite poets, Morgan Harper Nichols, and her words came through at the perfect time. It simply stated, “You are not weak for needing time to rest.”
I wanted to plaster these words to the walls in my bedroom so that every time I wrongfully felt guilty for requiring rest, I’d be reminded of this. Living with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), this concept is one of my biggest struggles despite my greatest efforts to combat these feelings. In my twisted way of thinking, I’ve always associated the idea of rest as something that symbolizes weakness. Writing these words and owning up to them make me realize how skewed my perception is on this subject. However, it’s one thing to be able to acknowledge that your actions are illogical, but it’s another to actually change them.
I briefly wrote about this in one of my columns last year. In typical Alyssa fashion, I wore myself thin, fought through the warning signs my body was trying to give me, and ended up crashing and burning anyway. Apparently, this pattern of behavior is all too familiar to me, as I’m still up to my old antics in the never-ending quest to find a balance between work and rest.
Reading this quote on Instagram, however, really struck a chord with me. So often, I tell myself how I’ll never let my disease impose restrictions on my life, but so often, I take it one step too far. So often, I put “rest” at the bottom of my to-do list, for it’s how I don’t allow SMA to have the upper hand in my life. It’s a nasty habit — I’m really great at preaching advice, but I have yet to take my own.
Nevertheless, seeing these words felt as though the author was talking directly to me by so eloquently, yet simply, stating something I struggle with most. It was enough to stop me in my tracks. It was enough for me to pause and actually consider the validity behind this statement. Only then I realized I am not defined by the amount of energy I have in a day. I am not the only one who needs this reminder.
And, most of all, I am not weak for needing rest.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.