Musings and Snoozes

I’m not doing life today. I’d love to, but I can’t

The last few days have been pretty hard. I don’t admit that easily, but I can’t deny that it’s been hard not to just want to curl up in a corner and cry. My body is horribly broken right now – my back is still playing up, my arms and legs ache, my head hasn’t stopped hurting since Thursday, my breathing is sketchy at times, my temperature goes from hypothermia to fires of hell every half and hour, and to top it all off, I’m getting a cold. That’s without taking into account the fatigue, the fuzziness, the anxiety, and the sensory overload which makes every bright light and every unexpected sound feel physically painful.

Listing them out makes me realise how hard it is to keep a track of my daily symptoms at the best of times, let alone to expect my nearest and dearest to begin to understand. So in one of my many “I can’t sleep” moments, I’ve decided I need to make more of an effort to monitor and track what’s going on with my body. I have a doctors appointment in a month and a hospital appointment in January. If I want to be able to tell them anything useful, something more than “yeh, it sucks, but I’m alright” then I have to really listen to what’s going on.

So this blog remains the same, I still plan to use it to ramble and rant and pick out tangled thoughts from my head, but it’ll also include an extra section at the bottom of each post, listing out the day’s symptoms. I hope it goes without saying that it’s not because I’m looking for sympathy, nor am I necessarily looking for advice, but I just need a place to recognise what’s normal, what’s new, what’s a pattern, and what absolutely needs bringing up with my medical specialists. And as an aside, if it helps those of you who spend time with me regularly to recognise what’s going on, then I hope that goes some way to explain my sometimes irrational behaviour or my need for space and quiet. And when I say “I’m fine”, you’ll know exactly what kind of fine I mean.

Today’s challenges: fatigue (after doing the smallest of things), back pain, shoulders aching, cold to sweating and back again, anxious, headache, face pain (sinuses I think), pain in my hands – hard to grip anything, breathlessness. 

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“Caught between a strong mind, and a fragile heart” 

Well today was not was I expected, nor what I had planned, but I feel considerably better now than I did this time last night. Turns out, sometimes I should practice what I preach.

Anyone who follows me on Facebook will have seen the link to my post from last year talking about mental health, and how important it is that we’re not afraid to start a conversation. I received a huge amount of support and positivity, both publicly and privately, and I felt very proud of myself for having been brave enough to share. And rightly so, after all, it’s never easy admitting a history of depression and self harm, but as it turns out what’s even harder is admitting that now there’s a new problem.

But today I did. Rather unexpectedly actually, and as if to prove what an incredibly powerful tool mental health week and mental health ambassadors can be, it was thanks to a conversation about that, that I was able to tell a friend that I was struggling with anxiety. It felt a huge relief to explain even briefly how hard the last couple of days have been, and how illogical the whole thing is. I like reasons and explanations for things, and if there’s one thing anxiety defies, it’s logic. But I went away from our conversation feeling that no matter how bad things can seem, I always have M on my side.

With that, I decided to bite the bullet and be honest with my manager about what was going on. After I’d finished rambling and tripping over my words, she asked me why I was so worried about telling her – she is, after all, one of the most approachable people I know – but putting it into words, spoken ones, not just written, is pretty hard for me. I hate to think that the other person feels they have to fix it or find a solution, or that they might think I’m just being a bit of a wuss.  And of course that’s when I cried.

But crying and fear and rambling aside, I cannot begin to explain the enormous sense of relief I feel tonight. This time last night I went to bed not knowing if I’d even be able to leave the house in the morning, let alone get through a day’s work. Tonight, I’m going to bed knowing that no matter how I wake up feeling tomorrow morning, there are people in every corner of my life, both personal and at work, who will do whatever they can to make sure I’m ok and that, more importantly, when I’m not ok, that that’s ok too. And right now, that’s the most amazing feeling in the world. 

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Get back up and start again 

I lied, I’m back before Winter. I have the writing bug back, and I’m a little bit ill, so here I am again.

I was right, I was on the edge of a flare up. I was just wrong about being on the way out of it. I finally admitted defeat yesterday, cancelled my plans (which always hurts), and slept for about 18 hours solid, only waking up for coco pops and to remember to drink. And for the most part, I feel better today. My body still aches all over, bizarrely my face in particular, which is quite frankly weird and annoying, but I’m able to stay awake today and I’ve even managed to drive for coffee. Priorities of course.

Now I just have to focus on what’s next. If I do what I usually do and rush back into life then I’ll just be back here again in a few weeks. So I need a plan. A realistic one, and one that still includes going to work, since that is pretty much non-negotiable at the moment. So looking at my worryingly busy calendar for the next few weekends, it’s easy to see that I need to be kinder to myself during the week. BUT that does not mean coming home, monging on the sofa, getting pissy that I’m monging on said sofa, and going to bed. That is my fastest way of spiralling into depression, so this is my promise to myself that one night will involve taking the pooch for a stroll, and one night will involve taking myself out for coffee and writing. I have utterly abandoned my writing in the last six months, both on here and the other stuff I do, and I need to get back to it. Along with that, I will shower and change when I get home from work. It’s a little thing, but it’s the best piece of advice my therapist ever gave me, and I really should listen.

So three things. That’s all. Pooch, writing, shower. It’s not much, although it feels like a mountain right now, but it’s a start and I’m stubborn, so I’m doing this. 

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If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then Autumn would be the magic hour…

Autumn Energy

My favourite time of year, when there’s a chill in the air, the leaves turn golden, and I have a legitimate excuse to pumpkin spice everything.

I’ve been quiet for a while, I’m aware of that, but I’ve been looking after myself (for the most part) and focussing on me. It’s felt good to step back, just to work out where I am and where I want to be. I’ve been on the edge of a flare up for a little while, and it’s taken quite some willpower to remember to be kind to myself first and foremost, but I think I’m just starting to come out of the other side, and doing significantly less for a while will probably help.

And Autumn is always a good time for me – it instantly makes me relax, my body aches less, my mind quietens, and I can find moments of pure bliss in watching the leaves fall, while sipping a cup of coffee (pumpkin spiced of course). It reminds me how important balance is – even my calendar kindly reminded me this morning that “You can’t have the ups without the downs”! I’m a big believer in that, and feeling out of balance is akin to feeling physically unwell sometimes, but the in-between times always reset me, and right now, I feel that everything is settling back in place.

So for the next few weeks, if you need me, I’ll likely be supping on a pumpkin spiced latte somewhere, possibly eating ginger cake, wrapped up in a scarf, boots, and armwarmers, and marvelling at how good the world looks at this time of year.

I’ll be back in Winter.

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