Level-Up: Part 32
I’ve never had to wait until Tuesday to write a Level-Up before. But then, I’ve not quite needed such an intensive recovery period before either. Certainly not for many months, anyway. Ideally I’d leave this post until tomorrow when my eyes are functioning a little better, but I don’t want to wait any longer.
So much has happened over the past week-and-a-bit that the beginning of last week seems like a lifetime ago. I started last week not feeling good. I had a couple of bad nights and it kicked off a domino effect of dizziness and sad moods. As time goes on it’s becoming clearer to me how much more I suffer both physically and emotionally when I’ve not slept. I can only apologise to my friends for this, who tend to take the force of the blow. Compassion fatigue is one of my biggest fears, because I’ve seen it take hold of people. I never want to be too much hard work for anyone ever again.
My baseline for energy and wellness is pretty low and disperses quickly on a good day. On a bad one, where I’m starting out below the bottom, it can be almost impossible to save the day. The only good thing, though, is that I’ve also had enough of those days to know with certainty that they do pass. As long as I’m reminded regularly of this, it makes them a tad easier to ride out.
Thankfully, I managed to grab back a few good days before the weekend, when my brother was getting married. I struggled a little on Friday with all the build-up, and while staring at the ceiling at 3:30am on Saturday morning having not slept a wink, I genuinely wondered how I’d even make it to the church, let alone last the day. Somehow, I did. Adrenaline is a beautiful thing! We didn’t have to leave for the ceremony until 2pm, which gave me all morning to stay horizontal, eat bacon, make an attempt at beautifying myself and practice my church reading.
The wedding was absolutely beautiful and I’m thrilled for my brother and my new sister-in-law. There is no greater joy than being able to share in the happiness of two of the people you love most in the world. My reading was fairly early during the ceremony, which pleased me until I burst into tears catching sight of the bride. Jen looked so stunning, so happy and mature. I couldn’t contain myself. I have no idea how my brother held his nerve. I had set myself the challenge of doing my reading without my walking stick, but that severe lack of sleep combined with nerves lead me to grab hold of it at the last second. As far as I can remember, I read without a single stumble. With my contribution out of the way, I enjoyed the rest of the ceremony and the reception.
The reception was wonderful, but a long stretch. We didn’t leave until gone midnight and I’m in no doubt that it was adrenaline alone that kept me motoring throughout. My only low moment was not being able to dance as much as I’d have liked. It’s difficult having to sit back and watch people do what you’re unable to do. It’s the same frustrated feeling I get on days where all I want to do is put my trainers on and go for a really long run. I do dance around my kitchen or at my desk a little on a good day, but I have to keep my body movement fairly controlled so as not to trigger an uncomfortable vertigo spell. Bless my dad for coming over and saying, “Can you dance if we hold hands?” It’s probably the most subdued dancing I’ve ever done, but better some than none at all.
I had expected Sunday to be a day of pyjama bottoms, no make up and recovery, until it was decided that we’d all have a casual second wedding reception for about 15 friends and family. It was a fantastic evening filled with hilarious stories, pizza and more wedding cake. I wouldn’t have not done it. But that extra push of energy made yesterday one of my most challenging days in a very long time. I was so broken I even asked for support, which if you’ve followed this series since the beginning you’ll know how much I hate saying “I need you.”. I was on absolute zero and completely drained. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I did nothing. I stayed in bed for most of the day, cried a bit, drank lots of tea, watched brain-numbing daytime TV, pleaded for my arms and hands to stop shaking, and hoped the day would pass as quickly as possible.
Today I feel slightly better, but it may be a few days before I’m properly back to ‘my normal’. When I’m as dizzy and unsteady as I have been, my eyes take a big hit and I’m struggling to focus on anything, which is excellent news for a writer! During my diagnosis period when I was sent for balance tests, a camera was placed over my eyes so that the clinician could assess how violently my eyes were reacting when she induced intense states of dizziness and imbalance. She told me at the end that my eye movements were the most extreme she’d seen.
I often feel like I’m in a video game and I have to wait for the healing bar to creep back up to full capacity during these recovery periods. I just have to hope it gets back to where it should be before any monsters creep in and sabotage it. I’m resisting the urge to get angry about the fact that it may be the end of the week before I’m feeling better again, while everyone else cracks on with getting back to normality. But still, I would not have bailed early on any part of that day. And as an old friend pointed out on Saturday evening, I probably couldn’t have managed even half of that day a year ago. So however shattered I’m feeling today, it’s because I’m pushing myself to do more. And that’s something to celebrate. Level-up!