The Art of Listening

My body is tired today. More than tired: on empty, fatigued, waving a white flag. I’ve written before about how difficult it can be to manage energy levels when you have a chronic illness and sometimes the balance tips too far the wrong way. It’s possible that I’ve put so much time and effort into dealing with the emotional stuff lately, I’ve forgotten to keep the physical side in check.

The heat wave hasn’t helped. My default vestibular setting is a perpetual feeling movement, the sensation that the ground is moving under my feet and low-level nausea. On the whole, my rotary vertigo is fleeting. It get a sudden but regular feeling of falling and then it passes. However, if certain triggers in my environment change, so do my symptoms. In hot weather the strength and frequency of the vertigo increases. I’ve had fairly big, scary dizzy spells almost daily recently. These are both physically and mentally draining, and they often leave me with neck pain afterwards.

The increased heat has meant everyone’s had trouble sleeping, too. I don’t sleep well at the best of times, so this has meant I’ve been getting even less rest than usual.Yesterday I was so warm at 5:30am I decided to get up. I don’t think I went to sleep again until midnight. Yesterday involved a long walk by myself and some fairly significant family news. I was awake (for a given value of awake) before 7am this morning.  It’s annoying because I really love sunshine. I get a massive boost from the Vitamin D. If I could just have the sunlight without the heat, that would be perfect. An icy-cold, end of October day where the sky is cloudless and a piercing blue; chilly enough to turn your nose pink and to need a cuddle to warm up. Heaven.

The emotional stuff has also been energy zapping. Yes, the disability counselling has been largely positive and life changing. But to have reached a point where I can see the silver lining I’ve had to delve into some pretty murky places. It’s exhausting pushing yourself to hit a low point so that you can come back up again, however beneficial in the long run. On top of this, there have been three or four other fairly huge life events to take on board. Any of these things on their own would be challenging, but to have them all pop up over the same six-week period has been a strain. It’s a little like having the rug pulled from under your feet.

Today I woke up with a sore throat, feeling like I have a summer cold. I’m not sure I own my eyelids. My stomach is uncomfortable. My arms and legs are heavy and I’m having trouble mustering the energy to walk about. I’m dizzy and wobbly and generally feel a bit yuck. So I’m listening. I haven’t given myself a recovery day in a very long time. I kind of forgot to look after my body. I don’t think I could do anything if I tried anyway, but I’m giving myself permission to rest. Right now I’m lying on the couch, writing this and watching Monsters Inc. I don’t know what I’ll do with the rest of my day but if that’s ‘absolutely nothing and a little bit of a cry’ I’ll try not to be too hard on myself.



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