Level-Up: Part 44

This week I finished my second run of counselling. The last session ended on a high with a few final issues covered and her being incredibly pleased with how much I’d managed to do during the time I was under her wing, so to speak. It’s scary and hard work, but it’s definitely been worth it. She was particularly impressed with how I handled last Saturday’s outing, where I wasn’t sure how much I could realistically manage, but took my time and completed it all anyway. There is so much more I could say on the counselling and what it’s taught me, but I think I’ve said as much as I want to here. If anyone’s considering it for themselves and wants to discuss it privately, I’m happy to do so. Just send me a message in one of the usual places.

Here’s the present I bought myself for completing it, never cancelling an appointment and trying hard to get as much improvement as I could out of those couple of months.

photo (32)

Because I’m a winner, see? So says the trophy, anyway.

On Thursday I went to the shops late in the day to grab a few things. It was one of those deceptively hot days where it doesn’t hit you how warm it is until you’ve been outside for a few minutes. I was struggling to walk a bit, but was determined to get to the deli. By the time I made it there I was barely able to stay upright. I started swaying, but managed to hold on long enough to buy the things I had in my hand before quickly getting myself to a bench. At that point I couldn’t really stand back up and I wondered if I’d have to call someone to take me home. I didn’t panic. I stayed there for about 15 minutes, drinking some of the fancy French lemonade I’d just bought for a sugar hit. I eventually felt able to move off again and slowly made my way home.

Last night I did something I haven’t done in absolutely ages. I went to the cinema to see Guardians of the Galaxy, in 2D not 3D. 3D would have me rocking back and forth in the corner, I’m sure. I’ve been to the cinema since I’ve been unwell, but only once and it was a fairly gentle film. There was nothing too fast for my eyes and brain to compute, but I did feel wobbly after it was over. I’ve been to the theatre once or twice, a big wrestling show and I’ve been to one major arena concert.This time I knew there was going to be a lot of action to contend with and a real assault on the senses.

There were several times during two areas in particular where I had to either look down, close my eyes or put my hand over my eyes to block how much the screen was flashing. The people around me must have thought I was crazy. It’s not just when the action is super fast either. Sometimes it’s just the camera pulling back at a certain angle or a swoop to a different part of the screen that makes me extra dizzy or spinny. Sometimes it’ll be the surround sound that does it; a sudden disorientating switch from one side of the room to the other. The seats in this particular cinema rock. So if I happened to rock myself forward just as something swept across the screen…WHOA!

None of this ruined the film for me, though. I absolutely adored it and would happily go and see it over and over again. I may already have scoped out the DVD pre-order situation. I didn’t have to leave at any point to take a break, although if it had been longer than the two hours it was, I may have needed a couple of minutes outside just to give my eyes and brain a short rest. I was starting to get uncomfortable for the last 15 minutes or so. I began today with a very sore neck, which crept up into my face and now feels like a big headache. That often happens when I’ve had to work hard on concentrating to keep my head and body still for a period of time. I would love not to have the pulsating pain in my cheekbone right now, but I just accept it as the pay-off for doing something cool.

I love the cinema. I never understand when people say, “Why would I pay £8 to sit in a room to watch a film with a load of strangers when I can watch it from the comfort of my sofa?” Don’t get me wrong, I love snuggling up in my pyjamas and watching a film with a cup of tea too. In fact, for several years that’s all I’ve had. I’ve enjoyed the ritual of it all the more for that reason. But there’s nothing quite like going to the cinema, is there? I love the popcorn smell as you walk through the heavy glass doors, the garish neon lighting, the enormous drinks you never finish, the thick psychedelic carpets, the slightly bored ticket collectors. Some people hate all that stuff, but not me.

The giddy excitement you feel when the lights go down. That little pause between the announcement that your feature presentation is about to start and it actually starting makes my heart skip just thinking about it. The simplest things bring me joy. Even though I’ve sometimes tried to convince myself that I don’t love it for the sake of sanity, I’m always quietly aware of what I’m missing. So to have done something that gives me so much happiness yesterday gave me an enormous sense of satisfaction.

I spend a lot of time having to weigh up whether I have the energy and the stamina to do things and it gets incredibly tedious. Am I steady enough on my feet to complete this task or go to this event? How realistic are the chances that I’ll fall out my seat or throw up? Can it wait until tomorrow? How will I feel afterward? Will there be something more important to do tomorrow that needs my energy more than this? Is the enjoyment going to be worth how rough I’ll feel when it’s done? I hate having to ask those questions of everything I do, but I’ve reached a point now where being kept away from the things that make me really happy isn’t acceptable anymore. If I have to sacrifice a few days to pain and having to stay sat down to do fun things, I suppose that’s what I’ll do. All while trying not to burn myself out in the process. Yikes! Who wants popcorn?

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.

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