Tuesday, 9 May 2017
Saturday, 29 April 2017
Sunday, 23 April 2017
My heart is full of love and lust for life. I want to live life to the full and I get angry and frustrated when it feels like that life is being stunted or shortened. But as I can’t use my anger to paint banners and march to Parliament to rid myself (and all of you) of this illness, I can use it to remind myself that simply feeling it means I’m alive. If that isn’t something to fight for I don’t know what is.
Sunday, 9 April 2017
Pain is not often the crux of my writing because I tend to favour focusing on talking about things I feel I have some semblance of control over; like my relationships, my mental health and my attitude towards my illness.
Pain is a whole other topic that I don't usually discuss in detail for many reasons; namely because I know a lot of people who are new to this disease read my ramblings and I don't want to terrify them, I don't like upsetting my loved ones, and I like to not think about pain when I can. Often it's none of those things and I simply can't deal with anything but my pain.
Pain is often nigh on impossible to quantify. It's also incredibly difficult to explain to someone on the outside of your own car-crash carcass.
My partner asked me earlier if I was OK when I truly wasn't and I said "Fine... actually no just in excruciating pain" which made him laugh - not because he finds my misfortune amusing, (he's not Christian Grey), but it was a hollow laugh where he acknowledged a bit of relief at me finally catching myself and being honest.
The reason the "I'm fine" often comes into play is because it's easier. Not in the long term I grant you, but in the short omg-i-think-im-dying term. It's exhausting being in pain and the last thing we generally want to do is talk about it.
My hair hurts today. My teeth hurt. How do you explain that to someone who doesn't experience pain on a regular if not daily basis? They think you are overreacting. They don't have anything to compare it to so they work backwards from their own experience and assume you must be exaggerating. We see you disbelieve us. We see you pity us. And we resent it.
We are forced to talk about pain, namely describe it, a lot. We have to do it to help our doctors solve any medical mysteries, to get the pain relief we need, to express why we are unable to do something/someone.
We have to tell if it's 'dull', 'stabbing', 'sharp', 'persistent' and various other words used to describe Law & Order. I don't really know what the majority of these words mean in relation to what I feel but I have to use something; it seems screaming incoherently and performing an elaborate death rattle gets you ejected from the ward and I can't risk that happening again.
The problem with talking about pain when you’re ‘in’ it, is that it allows room for little else other than feeling it. It can be genuinely difficult to even form a coherent sentence when you are experiencing it. I suppose that’s why doctors have developed these charts; the ‘how many out of 10’ and the ilk, for speed and accuracy in treating us. But those charts don’t apply when you are talking to people outside of the doctor’s surgery.
Pain is subjective and can be all encompassing. Tolerances of pain differ from person to person and can even change over time. When someone is chronically ill pain is a daily occurrence and something we don't always wish to wax lyrical about. That's why we try to adapt our lives around it. Sometimes that's not always possible but on good days, good moments, it is.
We might not tell you we're in pain sometimes and that's OK. It's our choice and it might just be our way of distracting ourselves; so please be patient and don't expect miracles from us. Don’t let us see that we are frustrating you if we are. I know that may seem selfish but we honestly won’t have the energy to get into any form of debate with you, from brokering a trade deal between countries to forgetting to take the bin out, it’s all impossible.
Give us a bit of time to feel ‘normal' again once the worst is over and don’t make us feel that we should apologise for it. Even though I’m 99.9% sure we will later anyway.
Just be kind to us, it really is that simple.
Friday, 31 March 2017
Sunday, 26 March 2017
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ‘faking it’. No, not in the bedroom; my years of shrieking in faux pleasure to please someone are long gone since I met a man who knows what goes where (and cares if I experience joy). What I refer to is more the daily ‘faking it’ we do in living with a chronic illness. We fake feeling ‘well’ everyday of our lives.
I personally haven’t been around 'online' for a wee while. You might have noticed; you might not have. That’s fine. People come and go out of our lives all the time and especially in this digital age it’s sometimes even harder to keep on top of all the people in our real lives and in our phones. So I pre-empt this blog with that wee nugget so the people I love don’t feel any guilt for maybe not having noticed the fact that I’ve been struggling for quite a while now.
The main reason people haven’t noticed is because I’m a good actress. I know how to act happy and well because I’ve been doing it for so long. So long in fact that I often don’t know how not to ‘act’ and just ‘be’. The reason this has been playing on my mind lately is because it’s something I worry has slowly but surely assimilated itself into all areas of my life without my being fully aware of it. This is a long winded way of telling you all I've been feeling blue for a while now. I've been finding life and everything in it borderline impossible to bear and I’ve become tired of hiding that from everyone.
I am the Queen of advocating that we should all be open and honest about our feelings, our illnesses, and speak without fear and without shame about our mental health. Advice I haven’t truly taken myself for quite a while now. The truth is I am feeling a bit crushed by constant and crippling anxiety. I've been unable to feel much of anything. I've been 'play-acting' my emotions. When the truth is that I am not sure what to feel and when. I perhaps portray what I *think* people want to see or what will help me navigate a situation. I paint on a smile when I need to and it fades as quickly as it comes. For a while there I couldn't remember when I last felt happy for more than a fleeting moment.
That, of course, has absolutely no bearing on the people around me. No one ‘makes’ someone depressed. There are aspects of behaviour that can of course exacerbate an already anxious persons' mood but none of that is applicable in my case. No one has done this to me. I haven’t even done it to myself; I’ve just maybe let it happen without interference.
So what to do? Please, please, don’t pity me. I've just been taking a little break from everything to get myself well. It’s hard to stop and take stock of what is making you unhappy and I’m doing that. I’m on medication to help my muddled head and reduce my anxiety and I’ll get there. I'm happier now than I have been in a while just admitting it all. It's good to speak up when you're able, so please do if you're struggling. It's so much more of an achievement than you might think.
So thank-you, and I love you, and I’ll see you soon xo
Thursday, 2 March 2017
- I’ll overthink anything and everything.
- I’ll work myself up into a frenzy about the ‘what if’s’ of any given situation.
- I’ll put off doing things through nerves.
- I’ll stare at the phone until it stops ringing.
- I’ll talk and babble too much to fill what I’ve decided is an ‘awkward’ silence.