It’s hot, I’m hormonal and my parents are away so for once I am having to fend for myself. It’s like everything has stopped. All signs of progress disappear as I try to manage the day to day. It’s not that I’m not getting better but suddenly I have responsibility again. I am used to living in a bubble where I can float through the world pretty much as I please, as long as I don’t want to do too much or too little, eat well, exercise enough and keep my mind occupied.
There’s another distraction too, I can read books again. I have always read. For as long as I can remember I have loved to read. I remember when I was 7 or 8 being allowed to read in bed before I went to sleep for the first time. My Mum tucked me in and handed me a Harry Potter book and told me she would be back in 5 minutes to put the light out. I remember because she forgot and I sat marvelling how long 5 minutes was after I had managed to read a few pages as I was a really slow reader.
Books have always been there for me when people haven’t. I used them to escape the world for all of my teenage years and would happily spend all my holidays on my beanbag, with a book, not bothering to go out at all. They were always there when I needed them to take me some place where my life wasn’t happening. But for the past 2.5 years, I haven’t been able to read. My brain just hasn’t been up for it.
But now books are back. I can sit a read for hours, losing myself in someone else’s life. But it has a cost. While I can read it still takes up valuable energy that could be used for other things. They, like everything else, have to be balanced against the other things I need to do, things that normally other people do for me, like buying food and doing the washing.
I’m happy to do these things. It’s a taste of the life I used to have before CFS landed me in London. True, the scenery involved with food shopping was much better when I was in Scotland but here the shop is closer and I can walk past a small lake home to the wild urban turtles of Raynes Park.
What hits me on my first food shop, is the effort involved with walking home from the shop with a backpack full of all the food I need for a week. Normally I eat, go for a walk then come back to do some editing work on my novel but when I get back from the shop my brain simply refused to engage. I pass it off as having used more effort than normal, but it’s still frustrating.
But for the rest of the week, I have the same problem. Sure, getting up in the middle of the night to see what was going on with the general election didn’t help but Theresa May’s humiliation was worth it. I also see signs, that my hormones are playing up in my blood sugars. Pre-period I can see raised levels along with cravings for crap chocolate and increased tiredness. This, coupled with the hotter then normal weather, I suspect is the main cause for the lack of any sign of progress and the slug-like feeling that has been settling in my body.
I know I feel like this because of the heat and my impending period but it’s still frustrating. I have got used to making progress. I have achieved a level of activeness which I don’t want to give up. The better I get the more aware I am of how bad it has been. I can see the road to recovery stretch out before me and I know that I’m still a long way from the finish, even though I have made good progress.
I don’t want to call this a setback though. I don’t want to see it as a point of regression, it’s a blip. Just as small blip. They happen. I know they do. If I have learnt anything from CFS it is to listen to what my body is telling me. And right now, it is shouting at me to give it a bit of a break. Don’t try to push to get up earlier. Half 9 is fine. Yes, I am still only doing 2.5 laps of the park but it’s hot and trying to do more won’t help me. I may want to push but that it’s the worst thing I can do.
So, I spend my days immersed in books, eating shit chocolate and watching the cricket. I go and see the elderly couple I volunteer with through a local charity and enjoy my time with them and I make sure I eat properly. It’s not a bad way to spend my time but as usual, when I am more tired than normal I miss my old life more.
I miss the mountains and the lochs that used to surround me. I miss going out with my friends. I miss having the energy to be outside in the sun and enjoy it. My sister comes and goes’s. She has a job that lets her get away from the house and friends that she sees regularly. I have crap TV and books. It doesn’t seem fair.
Finally, my period comes. The cravings for chocolate go away and I can feel myself get more alert. I also change my routine. I work on my novel before I go out for my walk and not after. In the winter doing it this way round was less productive but as the heat is tiring me out it’s time to change again.
I wonder if I should have changed sooner but then remind myself that I can only make changes when I realise something isn’t working properly and I can only do that when things haven’t been right for a while. Sometimes I know I am too quick to criticise myself. I have been told throughout my life that I should be less hard on myself. But it’s hard. I won’t get better by going easy.
I’m glad when my body settles back down and my parents come home and take over the food shopping again. I never thought I would want to have my parents around. I used to long so hard to get away. I suppose it’s a sign of how much I have grown up. I know that I can’t do it all on my own and I’m not longer trying.
Thanks for reading 🙂
The girl with the braid in her hair xxx