Self-Reflection on RLS as a Chronic Condition

You find me sitting at my laptop on a Sunday. I hate weekends. The reason behind those feelings is that weekends always used to remind me of enjoyment.

When I was well, weekends used to mean trips to the beach, visits to friends, summer in the garden with my children when they were small, visits to my parents every Sunday for tea so they could spend quality time with their grandchildren. All the things I miss about my life now.

Weekends are different now

Since restless legs syndrome (RLS), weekends mean the same as every other day of the week. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, I feel strangely calm about Saturday and Sunday, as everybody else is in the same position as me. Stuck indoors, bored rigid, watching life pass by until the scientists help free us from this virus. The journalists keep referring to when life will return to normal. Unfortunately, I don't think life will ever be the same.

A look at the past

After the bubonic plague (Black Death) struck between 1346 to 1351, it took nearly a long time for population sizes to recover. Amazingly, as life in that era was considerably less advanced than life in the 2020s, survivors found their lives much improved as labour was in higher demand, land plentiful, and wages high.

Once population numbers recovered, things returned to the status quo. The point I am trying to make is that the repercussions of a mass pandemic may be felt for decades to come.

How do we cope with RLS over the longterm?

Like the influenza virus, coronavirus effects can stay with people for a long time, just like us suffering from RLS. Having something that was not caused by you, impact your existence uninvited, is extremely frustrating. Unlike RLS, there are things you can do to help limit your chance of contracting COVID-19. It seems, sometimes, that RLS is just potluck.

Once we have been diagnosed with RLS, it is how we deal with the aftermath, how we let it invade our time, that dictates how life dealing with a complex chronic condition pans out in the future.

Finding joy where we can

As I am sitting here, I realise that living with RLS and the burden it puts on the evening and nighttime hours is huge. I, myself, find that when you are sitting watching TV, and the familiar creeping feeling starts, the dread you feel in the pit of your stomach is all-consuming.

Knowing that you will get hardly any sleep at best makes enjoyment a thing of the past. What I mean to say is, enjoy what you can while you can. Use those memories to help lighten the pressure when you are pacing the house at 3 AM. Our community is here to listen if that is what you need.

How do you cope with living with a chronic health condition? Where do you find support? What brings you relief? Tell us more in the comments below.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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