The other day on this Blog I talked about being bold and yet I've not once ever confessed my own situation on line in public for all the world to know about. So if I'm going to write posts about being bold, I think I should live up to my own words - so here goes:
I've always been a big doer in life. I was never a naturally talented student and so I always had to work hard to get anywhere in life. I was brought up in a single family home by my mother who told me that one should always work hard and never let your employer down, so I embraced this philosophy and did as she said. I worked long hours, worked hard to meet my employer's needs which of course kept growing as I tried to continue to meet them and I ignored any signs of illness. My head very much ruled and I didn't listen to anything my body tried to tell me.
Five years ago my mum became seriously ill and we discovered too late that it was cancer and she died three and a half weeks later. After her death, I kept working hard plus I had her estate to sort and her house to sell. As you can imagine it was a very busy time and I shoved my grief to the side and got on with things and stayed strong as I had always done. However, I have found in life that there are things that you cannot avoid - grief was one of them. Almost a year after my mother's death, I simply found I couldn't function anymore. All I wanted to do was sleep. I didn't want to meet with friends, read books, be involved in anything too noisy and large crowded areas made me feel positively anxious. But if I could lay my head down and rest a while, I was convinced all would be better. And so this continued and then it continued some more and then it continued some more and I found I was losing large chunks of days yet still I was able to sleep all through the night. Sleep was my only distraction from a world that seemed unfair and harsh and that I was angry with. I visited my doctor at quite regular intervals and had a variety of tests and nothing was found. In fact he told me that from a physical perspective, everything was fine. I was healthy. So why did I feel like shit all the time.
Eventually after several more months of this continued fatigue, my doctor told me that I was on the edge of chronic fatigue syndrome. (I'm not going to even capitalise that - it only makes it seem important and I'm not going to heighten it's status in this post.) So I read up about it and found that people were suffering terribly from this condition. Some folk couldn't even walk down their own yards without having to return to bed for the rest of the day. I was so grateful that I wasn't in that situation. Over time, things got progressively a little better for me and now in the main I live a mostly normal life for a woman of 48. I usually have to pace myself and I do listen to my body now - although from time to time my mind tries to win over. If it does, I usually pay for it by having to take a few days out to recharge my batteries. From time to time the fatigue wins and I surrender to it as I have found trying to fight and resist was futile. There's a Star Trek joke in there somewhere :-)
So why am I telling you this and what's it got to do with writing you might be asking? Well, it was during the initial lapses of fatigue that I came to writing. I started journalling my thoughts and writing down how I felt and from there came a greater interest in writing. Later once I felt better I was writing stories, taking part in Nanowrimo, trying to write a novel, joining a creative writing group and am soon to have a short story published in a magazine.
Writing is always there for me. It is an undemanding and gentle partner. We are in a loving relationship and it is willing to work with me accepting the days I don't feel so hot. It doesn't require me to be ready to go at 9 am and work until 5 pm. It's not too strenuous and it says if you want to take a break, then take a break, I'll still be here for you once you're refreshed and ready. It wants me to create but at my own pace and in my own time. It's a good listener and it is kind and it makes me feel calm, reassured and relaxed.
And so I come to the end of this post and I'm glad I've put it out there and in some ways, I have to be thankful for the fatigue as it brought me to this place when I create, where I write, where I can be me.