One of my problems from post-polio syndrome is fatigue. It isn’t the normal feeling of being tired that happens after a busy day but rather a heaviness that drains my energy and makes even small activities seem overwhelming.
One day as I tried to talk myself into going to buy groceries I thought, Why don’t I just pretend that I have lots of energy and then act as if it’s true? So, that’s what I did. Telling myself that I felt great, I gathered my list, my coupons, and my purse and set off. When I got home, I was still fatigued, but I wasn’t any more tired than I would have been if I’d stayed in my recliner – and I was no longer out of cat food, an important achievement.
Since then, I often pretend that I feel better than I do. You feel great, I tell myself. You can answer all your fan mail this morning. You can write three pages on that new book. Most of the time, it works.
The post-polio syndrome isn’t gone, but pretending allows me to manage it better. Of course, I’ve been pretending for years in other ways, making up events and characters and dialogue, and putting them on paper. Authors are adept at pretending, and now I find it’s been good practice for real life.