Level-Up: Part 50

You’ll have to forgive me for the amount of reflection in these posts over the past couple of weeks and for this particular one being a bit shorter. Reflecting is exactly what I’ve been doing. I’m also extra tired and struggling with sound-induced dizziness today where even small sounds are too loud and distracting, so finding it hard to concentrate and look at the screen for too long without feeling even more dizzy. I won’t have an opportunity to write this post tomorrow, as I would usually do when I’m having trouble watching my computer monitor swaying from side to side. Not only is the first year of Level-Up getting its anniversary in a fortnight’s time and making me think about all the advances I’ve made, but tomorrow I’m embarking on what will be my biggest challenge to date. It seems a fitting way to end the year, with something that’ll open more doors for me if it goes well.

I’m going on a train journey to Devon that will take over three hours. The most I’ve done so far is one hour. Following that we have an event and dinner to attend on Tuesday, then the same journey home on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to the trip, I’m not exactly looking forward to how poorly and wiped out I’m likely to feel afterwards. I’m hoping I have the resolve to be cool about it when I’m struggling to stand and too tired to move on Thursday. Feel free to remind me of that toward the end of the week. I’m trying to remember what I said a few weeks ago: that if I have to give up a few days to exhaustion in the name of doing fun things, that’s just what I’ll have to do. I don’t want to let illness force me to miss out anymore.

In preparation for the trip I told myself that I’d give myself lots of rest this week. In practice it didn’t quite work out that way. There was a strange ‘the show must go on’ feel to the week. There was stuff to be done and I didn’t really feel comfortable with not doing it all or asking other people to do it on my behalf. I carried out all my usual work tasks and built in the walks I would normally try to do, in the name of ticking things off the to-do list. I’m not going to say it was unwise. I’ll just say that I trusted myself to get things done and deal with the consequences. But being so sleepy today, I’m hoping I can get some rest tonight and don’t start these next few days with low energy.

It struck me toward the end of the week how different it is that what’s normal for me now involves things I just couldn’t have imagined doing even a few months ago. Obviously I can’t do them every day or rely on them implicitly, but I thought a lot this week about how much I used to let sit undone or waiting for someone to do it for me; about how much that used to hurt and upset me. It’s empowering having that little piece of independence. I had to make some sacrifices and work hard to bring it about, but I’m incredibly proud of the amount of effort I’ve put into moulding unfortunate circumstances into something that works for me over the past year.

I had a repeat prescription to hand in at my doctor’s surgery this week. My online login wasn’t working and I didn’t want to burden anyone else by asking them to hand it in on my behalf, so I walked there and back by myself. I took my time about it and stopped for a while outside to give myself a break,  but looking back on Part 14 of the series where it was the most enormous struggle and felt like such a novelty, it felt great to be able to do it and not feel the need to request a round of applause or complain about it being difficult, even though it was. One of my biggest issues has always been recognising the victory in small steps. If it’s not spectacular and letting me jump to where I want to be straight away, then what’s the point? But I’m now at a juncture where all those tiny shuffles along are adding up to make something bigger, beginning to watch the persistent effort snowball.

A year from now I hope I’ll be looking back on the next few days and marvelling at how taken for granted the things I’ll be doing become. But for now, please wish me luck.

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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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