Musings and Snoozes

Project “Look after Lizard” 

I left work on time. That is today’s mega “look after lizard” achievement. 
Honestly, I was surprised at how hard it was. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t stay out of duty, for my management, or to be a martyr and able to say “look how late I stayed!”. I do it because I genuinely love what I do. Like every role, there are some bits more enjoyable than others, but overall I have a passion for what I do. 

But, like everything, there comes a point when passion becomes a little overwhelming and the balance is tipped. I’m also aware that while I do love my job, I also over compensate for my illness. Perception is something I’m aware of constantly, and my continual worry is that I’ll be perceived as being ill, being sick all the time, being weak, and so I go to the other end of the scale to prove everyone otherwise. Of course realistically, I’m not sure anyone thinks that of me, but just in case, I’ll prove them wrong all the same. 

You’re probably at this point thinking I’m crazy, but when I do manage to keep the balance right between passion and a nervous breakdown, it actually keeps me in  a very good place. I do well at work, not as well as I’d always like, but there’s an enormous self-satisfaction to be had from doing a good job and seeing hard work pay off. I thrive on it and I need it – it makes up a huge part of me. 

But sometimes enough is enough. Sometimes I have to take a step back and focus on me for a bit, else there’ll be no “me” left to continue doing what I love so much. So that’s what I did tonight. It’s been hard to switch off, but I’ve occupied myself with baking, taking the pooch on a quick stroll, and booking in some regular spa time. 

I can still love my job, I can still be passionate about what I do, but I can also be passionate about me. And I’m learning. I’m not there yet, but with daily reminders from friends and family, I got this. Probably. 

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I promised to look after her and he promised to look after me

I had strange dreams last night. The kind that stay with you the following day. And the kind that it probably doesn’t take a so-called dream expert to decode. 

I can’t even describe where I was, I just know it was full of people – family, friends, strangers. There were three of us – me, a younger girl, and an older guy – the girl I don’t recognise now I’m awake, but the guy is someone I know. Whatever all these people wanted us to do, it wasn’t what we wanted and so we stayed out of the way as much as possible and stuck together. I would reassure the girl that I’d keep her safe and look after her, in turn the older guy looked after me and made sure I was OK. It worked, we looked out for each other, and it felt safe. 

I’m missing that guy. Not in a romantic sense, I don’t mean that, but the role he played in looking out for me and always being there when life got hard. Right now I’m so tired, physically and emotionally, that all I want to do is hide. I have amazing people in my life, and this is not a criticism on any one of you who reads this – it’s down to you lot that I don’t actually give in and run and hide. I just miss where he fit in – almost a step removed from what was going on and therefore could always provide another way of looking at things. 

But that person, or rather that role, is not going to just fall back into my life, and so maybe I should learnt to ask for help a little more. Maybe not even help, maybe I should just be a little more honest. Despite perceptions, both in and out of work, I can be honest with other people but not always with myself. “I’m fine” only goes so far after all. 

And coming home last night, having a bit of a cry, and falling asleep fully clothed at 7pm probably tells me I’m not so fine. I don’t even know what I’m not fine about – I don’t know if work is getting to me, if it’s my lupus/fibro, if it’s that I’m just sinking into a bit of depression and anxiety again, but everything is just a little overwhelming at the moment. I just know I don’t feel right, and if I don’t do something then I’m going to self combust. 

So this is step one-admitting it. Step two is not hiding all weekend like I want to, and actually going out with friends. Step three? Well step three might involve all that taking care of myself that I keep promising to do. It seems that along with “I’m fine”, apparently “yeah yeah” isn’t cutting it either. So this is my promise to you, and to myself, that I will figure out step three and I will keep my promise. You can hold me to it 🙂

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What doesn’t kill you…. Blah blah blah 

My favourite dress, sparkly make up, and my favourite pink flowered Docs. Oh and a shit-tonne of painkillers. After the most painful 24 hours I’ve experienced in a long time (coming from a girl who’s in constant pain as it is), it felt damn good to find some semblance of normal this evening, albeit only for a few hours. 

Quite honestly, it’s been a shit week. Wednesday I crashed my car, through no fault of my own. Thursday my tooth started hurting. Friday, I was in so much pain that I blacked out and genuinely considered a mild dose of death as a preferable option. By this morning I was on the phone to NHS direct (or whatever they call it these days) to try and find out what the hell to do about the fact that I wanted to cut the entire left side of my face off. Three phone conversations later and I was on my way to the dentist for an emergency appointment. I have never been so glad to see my dentist in my life. 

Turns out that wanting to cut off my face was quite a reasonable response to what turned out to be not one, but two, extremely inflamed nerve endings. On the plus side, I felt less of a wimp about the fuss I was making and I was reassured that no, no matter how many pain killers I took, it wasn’t going to touch it. I don’t think I’ve ever been so desperate for anaesthetic injections as I was this morning, even if I knew it would wear off eventually. The good news is I have a temporary fix which has massively reduced the pain and inflammation. The downside is I have to go back to fix the problem permanently, but if it means never suffering this amount of pain again, then I’m all for it . I might just have to re-read this post nearer the time to remind myself that death was looking a preferable option and to therefore suck it up and fix the problem. 

And so by the wonders of the NHS and  the aforementioned shit-tonne of painkillers, I made it out to a lovely 80th birthday party this evening. Admittedly I had to leave early when I started feeling pretty rough again, but it was worth it to get dressed up, have my hair and tattoos admired, and of course see the lovely birthday girl, who was clearly having a whale of a time bring surrounded by friends and family. Jon took me back around 11ish, via the shop for some more painkillers and some medicinal chocolate milk, and I’m now happily curled up in my old bedroom at mum’s, extremely grateful for the fact that I’m no longer in agony, just mild discomfort. 

All in all, it hasn’t exactly been the week I had planned. There were some bright spots I should add – a blissful spa evening at Champneys with mum, and some welcome plans at work have both helped make the week bearable – but suffice to say, I won’t be sorry to see the back of this one. If my normality of low grade pain and grumbles, plus my Monday morning bitchiness could return now I’d be extremely grateful.

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Shh, let’s just all go back to bed

I’m lying in the bath, the windows are open, and I’m listening to the rain fall on the trees outside. So very content. 

It’s been a tricksy week – by Thursday I had to admit that I was going to run myself into a flare if I didn’t get some rest. So that’s exactly what I’ve done today. I went to bed around midnight last night and got up around 6pm this evening – 18 blissful hours of sleep. I’m pretty sure it should be physically impossible to sleep that much, but apparently my body disagrees. I only actually got up at all because Jon was on his way home with a coffee for me (and had berated me for not taking my meds), and even then I only made it as far as the couch and a blanket, but some days I just have to give in to it all and accept that this is what I need. 

And actually, it works. After many hours of sleep, some medicinal coffee, and the F1 qualifying to watch, my pain levels are down, my headache is finally fading after three days, and I think I might be almost ready to face the world again. The hardest part is remembering that it’s not a waste of a day to rest – looking after myself is a legitimate use of my time and sometimes it’s ok to do nothing at all – I have to repeat that mantra several times to believe it, but I’m getting there. 

And so the challenge now is to stay on an even keel. My therapist drew me a graph years ago of all my ups and all my downs. She then drew me what it was supposed to look like. Suffice to say the two did not match up. I should be hovering around the zero mark where I can, instead of which I live my life from +10 to -10 on a near weekly basis. So with that in mind, I am not spending tomorrow doing all the housework that needs doing, nor will I go shopping or to the gym. Instead, I’m off to spend the afternoon floating in a swimming pool, and gently roasting in the sauna. A much better use of my time and a sure fire way to keep me at the elusive zero. 

In the meantime though, I’ll just continue to enjoy the sound of the rain from my toasty warm bath, and keep repeating that mantra 🛁

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