Why I Bought A Colouring Book

The trouble with telling the world to ‘bring it on’ is that sometimes it takes you literally.

This morning (if you can still call 11:45 ‘morning’) I woke up to an email in my inbox that took an assault rifle to my optimism and left it for dead. One of my consultants in London had sent me a message, concluding that she wants to admit me into hospital tomorrow morning. Recently I’ve been so unwell that I admitted defeat. Desperation conquered my stubbornness and I accepted that I need medical attention pretty urgently. I’ve been told that there isn’t any other option. I held off for too long, trying to cling to a normality that no longer exists. And my body can’t keep doing this, because no matter what I tell myself, or try to believe, I am only human. I am not the kid that used to run 3km a day with my dog; I am the nineteen year old with a rebellious body that hasn’t even had the energy to take a single step lately (until today, ironically).

Even though I accepted the fact that I needed to go into hospital, reading that email was still like being hit by a bullet. It’s only for a couple of days, because my consultant appreciates how terrified I am of hospitals (a not-so helpful side-effect of having spent so much time in them) but that doesn’t make it any easier. I freaked out. I sat there crying (only a few tears, I’m not a crying sort of person) and trembling with fear, desperately trying to think up some alternative. And then, after about an hour of freaking out and then calming down and then repeating the whole process (the doom and gloom stops right here) I somehow got hold of myself. I tamed the wild animal of my emotions (which has been chewing through it’s leash far too often lately) and I started packing a bag. Because it is what it is. I don’t have to like what is happening, but I can’t change it, and I am lucky that I have the sort of friends who are willing to come and visit me even though I will be 40 miles away from home. There will be negatives to any situation, but there are also positives. It just took me a long time to look for them.

Today I felt well enough to leave the house again. And I decided that there were things I could do to make the next few days easier. I went to a stationary/ book shop with my mum and I bought some stuff to engage my brain and distract it from the emotional rollercoaster it is about to go on… Which basically involved buying a load of books – some funny books, some YA fiction books, a book by Chris Hadfield (who is a legend), and then some colouring books that claim to relive stress (I will try anything). I used to love art. People even used to pay me to do drawings and paintings for them. Then two years ago I had an operation that left half of my right hand unable to work… And I stopped being able to draw and paint etc. I can write pretty well with my left hand now, but over the next couple of days my mission is to be able to colour with it, and then to draw, and then to sketch and shade. I don’t expect that to actually happen just yet, but the intention is there, and that’s enough.

Am I still scared? Completely. But I’m not letting myself think about that. Am I dreading what the next few days will hold? Yes. But my body needs me to do this, even if it will wreck my mind for a little bit. Am I worried that my dog will think I’ve abandoned him? Yes. When I get really unwell he doesn’t leave my side. He is my best friend in the entire world, and I am going to miss him to a ridiculous degree. When he saw me packing my bag he knew what it meant, and now he’s being all funny with me because he knows I am going somewhere.  

But do you know what? I had a great weekend. I have the privilege of knowing some of the kindest, funniest people on the planet. And I’m lucky enough that I live in a country where doctors can actually do something to help me. This morning I was a crying, terrified mess that not only didn’t know how to make it through the day, but didn’t want to. And here I am now, cuddled up with my dog, writing this blog post, about to watch a film with my little brother (right after some colouring with my mum) and making the most of right now. So I guess the world really can bring it on. Because somehow, I seem to always make it through. And I don’t know how, but I don’t need to, because that isn’t the point.

Step 11 to getting out of a rut in life:

Forget about all the things you can’t do. Find the things you can. Focus on them, work on them, use them as a tow rope to pull you free. Yes you might get a little rope burn, you might lose your grip, but you’ll start climbing back up to where you were, or to where you want to be, without even realising that you’re on the right route. You might even end up in a totally different place, but at least you won’t be stuck any more.

(I feel like I’ve probably said this before, and I apologise if you found this monotonous, but some things just have to be said twice)


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