Level-Up: Part 25
Every Sunday I record my health achievements and discoveries for the week here. To find out why I decided to start doing this, you can read an explanation in the first post of the series here
I don’t want to write this blog post. I’d like to skip it, but I haven’t bypassed a single week in six months, so I can’t pretend this week didn’t happen because it wasn’t nice. It wouldn’t be honest. I was speaking with a friend late on Friday afternoon and we agreed that some weeks are made to be buried and forgotten. This was one of those. If I still drank I’d have been sozzled by 4pm. She had the wine, I had the crisps.
It was one of those butterfly effect weeks; a chain of small but significant energy zappers that by Friday left me sobbing with exhaustion. There is tiredness, and then there is exhaustion. It’s a whole different level of running on empty and I don’t know that I handle it all that well when it happens. A day of crying because I didn’t know what else to do left me feeling that by mid-afternoon I should just take my make up off, put my pyjamas on, make some tea and watch some wrestling. It seemed to help, even if only with the fact that I’d stopped fighting it.
On Monday, through forgetfulness and possibly foolishness, I ended up doing my regular walk to the shops twice in a row. Luckily, I had to stay home on Tuesday and only had work to do on Wednesday, so I figured I’d be able to make up for the unexpected double activity by staying at my desk for a few days. I tried spreading the assembly of some new furniture over two days in the interest of being sensible. But spending Wednesday afternoon carting books up and down the stairs was a step too far. Who knew cookbooks were so heavy?
I woke up on Thursday with exactly what I was expecting, that shaken snowglobe feeling again. I put all plans that involved walking on hold and concentrated on making sure I stayed sat down as much as possible. By Friday I was, for want of a more elegant word, a mess. The extra dizziness meant I hadn’t slept well for a few nights and despite my efforts to scramble some energy back, I was broken. I’m honestly not sure how I managed a walk on Friday, but I know that if I hadn’t got some fresh air I’d have gone totally loopy. At least I got some bacon and a nice coffee out of it.
What I hate most about how I felt on Friday isn’t the physical stuff. I have lived with this for so long now, it would be weird if I suddenly woke up one day with the floor feeling still and solid, or with boundless energy. What I despise most is what it does to your mind. The ghost of self-loathing convinces you that you deserve it. That it’s a punishment for all the things you’ve done wrong. It gives you a personality crisis. It chips at your self-esteem and self-worth. It makes you believe that this is what you are and all you’ll ever be to anyone. And nobody ever sees that part of physical illness, especially when it’s an invisible one. It makes you feel invisible too. Every day is not just a battle to keep my body steady, but to keep my mind strong and positive. I’m getting a lot better at it. But sometimes how I feel physically tips the balance the other way for a day or so.
I sometimes feel that I should apologise for these less chipper posts. I know they’re in the minority, but I feel slightly guilty about them. Like I shouldn’t inflict it on anyone and that it’s my cross to bear alone. But I also know that spending years keeping it to myself and asking a tiny circle of people to carry it for me did damage I’m still trying to rectify.
Writing this series has been the most wonderful catharsis. Being a writer is a lovely gift. It means I can choose words that give a voice to something that other people simply can’t. It’s helped me to pick the positives out of some really terrible weeks and to make ugly things beautiful. I’m struggling to find the pretty this week, so I’ll just hope that the reward for dealing with this will come later in the form of renewed strength and happiness. These weeks always pass and I always come out swinging. It’s just that, to quote Kylie Minogue in this brilliant interview, “I just wish you could jump-cut to that without the experience.”