I am staggering to the end of 2017. It will be over soon.
We’ve been hit by some nasty virus (‘cold’ seems too limp a word, although thankfully we have not had the horror of flu), and though I’ve now hit the two week mark, I’m still struggling with energy. The first week I slogged through the things that needed doing – editing work, mainly, with a couple of writing extras – and tried my best to enjoy the church stuff, which I love, but we were running on empty by the end of Advent and just about got through the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services, propping each other up (for those reading who are new to my blog and me, my husband is minister of a baptist church).
As is the case when a virus of this energy-sucking variety hits, it awakens a fear within me of a greater danger – that of relapse, of descent into a much worse and debilitating fatigue – as I have CFS/ME. Although I have, largely, achieved a balance of manageability, there is always the possibility that, under certain circumstances, I can shift from mild/moderate to moderate/severe, which I’ve not done for a while but entails an entire restructuring of life. My auto-correct wanted to substitute ‘restructuring’ to ‘restricting’ and actually, that is quite apt. Pulling up the drawbridge, closing the shutters, withdrawing from everything – this is what happens when things ‘go bad’ and I need to lean on someone, quite literally, to leave the house. I’ve never been bedbound or used a wheelchair but there have been points when I’ve been pretty much housebound, when I’ve had to say ‘no’ to most things, when I’ve written resignation letters or sent emails whereby I have to say, I’m sorry, I can’t do this for the foreseeable future. And it’s hard when that present situation is all you can see.
I never really remember it when I am in ‘managing mode’ – I remember the fact, but not the feel. Something in me questions – was it really that bad? But then something like this virus does the whole extreme fatigue thing and I think oh – this is how it feels – and oh, please let this be over soon.
I think it will be. I feel better than I did a couple of days ago; I am dreadfully weary, but no longer lying on the bed feeling ill with no respite – at that point rest seems to make no difference at all, although it is all I can do. I have managed a couple of days with family, precious moments, and generally feel myself unwinding in a gentle fashion, as opposed to unravelling with ugly fatigue. Hubs is still quite poorly – where colds go to my sinuses they tend to go to his chest, so he’s been exhausted by a reflexive cough which has finished him off for the year. I hope it will be over soon. It is such a shame that in his moment of rest he has to endure rather than enjoy the season he loves; there is little I can do but sympathise, and I don’t know how good a job I’ve done of it. We try to support each other as best we can, while recognising the other is feeling appalling.
And Christmas is not just the day. We are in the Christmas season, and I can embrace its softness. It will be over soon, but not just yet.
I’m not sure where this blog post is going – are you hoping it is over soon?! I’m writing in a quiet spot, fairly serene, battling a headache and pain in my shoulders, tired-so-tired, but not gloomy, merely peaceful in this moment of space.
Space. A word I’m going to reflect on, later. It’s recurring in my mind, so I’m letting it take root – but will leave that for my new year post, which I hope I will find space to write!
I approach 2018 with a calculating gaze – not a cold kind of calculating but a soft, thoughtful one, recognising my limits, admitting the need for a soft start and trying to balance that with the pressing nature of deadlines. As always this will involve the careful placement of boundaries, carving out pieces of time for rest, recognising the ‘tyranny of the urgent’ and deciding between the important and the faux-important in order to prioritise.
Time off makes me thoughtful. Words and ideas meander round my mind. Hence a meandering blog post.
2017 has been rewarding in many ways but gaspingly busy. I feel that ‘something’s gotta give’ – I need to re-centre myself, somehow. Not conforming to others’ expectations but understanding who I need to be and who I am called to be in this coming year.
Because this year will be over soon…