Sleeping In Hyde Park (A Conversation With Myself)

In the last 24 hours I’ve been forced to admit some things to myself, to accept them (which was a bitter pill to swallow)… And that’s it. I am out of control of the things I have accepted. I do not know how to process the things I have admitted to myself and yet… The fear is gone.

The danger, however, is not.

Half way through writing this blog post I fell asleep for four hours. I didn’t mean to, it wasn’t planned, and I couldn’t fight it. I am not ok. It always takes me a long time to admit this to myself, but when I say it, it means that I am REALLY not ok.

I’m tired. A kind of tiredness that even I can never comprehend until I’m living it, one that demands to be acknowledged no matter what I do to try and get rid of it. It means I’m more unwell than usual. I can spend about three hours awake (which means I just manage to last through two hours of lectures) and then, whether I want to or not, I sleep for hours. Yesterday, I fell asleep in the middle of Hyde Park, only to be woken by the familiar sound of the air ambulance rotor blades as it circled above us and landed extremely close. Death, or at least ill health, seems to be following me wherever I go at the moment. I fell asleep on a central line, rush hour tube on the way home, despite the fact that I didn’t have a seat. I wasn’t sure whether to be alarmed or impressed at that. Either way, I got home, fell straight into bed, and slept right round until morning (unless you count all the times I woke up because my body was in protest at how lousy I felt) Even so, I am currently too tired to function (and I don’t mean tired from a lack of sleep, I mean tired from a lack of health, and there is a big difference between the two). It’s stopping me doing things that I planned to do – mostly studying or writing up lecture notes, but also cooking, tidying my rubbish dump of a room, going places, and making the most of life (see yesterday’s post and you’ll know why that’s so important to me right now).

This whole situation crept up on me while I was distracted by other things. I am still reeling from the death of my friend (It’s hit me harder than I realised), and I feel disconnected from everyone and everything (Hyde Park kind of brought me back down to earth momentarily, and I lost myself by the Serpentine watching ducks and herons and parrots – I always seem to run to water when things get rough, but anyway…). It worries me quite a lot because my current state of physical health isn’t really compatible with university life, and… it also means that my health is slipping. Again. Physically getting out of bed in the morning hasn’t been this difficult for a long time. It should scare me, but there’s nothing I can do about it, and so the fear has been replaced with acceptance, and an intermittent sadness that I guess is only natural when you know that you’re probably about to have to fight extremely hard for your life only two weeks after you almost lost last time. I do not have the physical or emotional capacity to do that again right now.

In the middle of Hyde Park, laying on a blanket on the grass and looking up at the bluest, clearest skies I’ve seen in this city for a long time, I began to think. I could see the red metal of the air ambulance glinting through the trees, and it meant that somewhere in Hyde Park someone was in the middle of a fight for their life, and probably at that point losing, given the fact that the air ambulance was called in the first place. I looked around me, at the sun that was just starting to set and the water and the green, and it felt like home. I’ve always loved the outdoors, I used to swim and sail so I love to be by water, and the cross country runner in me loved the feel of dirt and soft grass beneath my feet. I laid there, feeling lousy and unable to actually stand at that point, but aware that I was by no means the most unwell person in Hyde Park; I was freezing, and I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and there was a huge part of me missing because my friend was dead, and I knew I’d just failed a lab session for the first time but… None of it mattered there in that moment.

And then came the wobble, the facing up to the reality that I have been ignoring, the stupid moment. Because my brain said to itself, “What a great place to go. This is where I want to go” and now I’m stuck. Because instead of heading to resus and intensive care, a huge part of me wants to get on the tube and make my way to Hyde Park if the situation I was in just before my birthday should repeat itself. A huge part of me decided it was done with the fight, it decided it was sick of doctors going round in circles and giving me the same long lecture about the situation and my long term outlook over and over, it decided it didn’t want to lay in a bed and feel forgotten for days on end, didn’t want to feel the loneliness that fills it up from the inside out, didn’t know how to handle those emotions alone and before it had recovered from the scars they left before… It decided that nature could have its way. And the rest of me isn’t sure how to react to that. It’s a hard conversation to have, even with yourself.

But I’m tentatively stepping where I haven’t stepped before, encouraging my thoughts to wander in that direction in hope that I might make sense of it all, and make the right call eventually. All because I found myself sleeping in Hyde Park.


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