There were no words this time, and even if there had been there was not enough of me left to assemble any sentences that might say what I wanted them to.
I’ve been fighting with my body and my mind. At times I’ve felt like death was not far off and wanted to run to it and from it at the same time. I felt too drained to be scared, at times I hadn’t even had the energy to stand or speak. I fight so hard to hide that part of me, and I try to hold myself together emotionally for the sake of those around me. But sometimes the reality of the situation is that it just sucks. It could be so much worse, I’m so lucky to bounce back again and again but it takes its toll, and it’s not easy. In fact it’s even more difficult than I like to let myself believe, and in the past few days and weeks reality has put a gun to my head and forced me to open my eyes. The positive, appreciative part of me screamed over this reality over and over again but that denial lost its voice a lot more often than it used to. Being physically drained becomes mentally draining in ways that none of my ‘healthy’ friends can comprehend. My physical health (and mood) had been declining in ways that gradually made it more and more difficult to function. I had been spending days and days in bed at uni, too unwell to do anything, but after a few ‘better days’ spent sitting in next door’s kitchen playing with their puppy, denial pushed that out of my mind.
I went to Cornwall with the family last week (not good for my self esteem, but currently not the point) and broke myself. I wanted to be the old me – a healthier level of unhealthy. I wanted to go on short walks by the sea, I wanted to be able to walk up small hills and make it up to the first floor to get to the kitchen of the cottage we were staying in. So I did those things, things my family didn’t even have to think twice about doing. And I was exactly like the old me, but not the old me that ran kilometres a day with barely any effort, the version of myself that eventually couldn’t walk. I paid the price for my pursuit of normality. The feelings that were once so familiar to me returned, and they had a lot of missed time to make up for. I got breathless just standing, my legs shook under my own bodyweight and my muscles seared when I tried to climb the stairs. There were points when I couldn’t lift my head. There were points when I was too breathless to eat, or didn’t have the energy to talk. After an hour of being awake I was done for the day. It wasn’t until I got the dizzy-headache and the mottled hands that I realised I may have upset my heart a little. At that point, because I knew what was going on, I relaxed a little.
I don’t ask “why me?” I have friends whose hearts will never beat again. I have friends who have lost young children to horrific circumstances and cruel illnesses. I have met people going through true hardship. I do not think of myself as unlucky. Being reminded of my own mortality no longer frightens me (uni parent was right), I’m simply appreciative that I have four limbs and 20 years worth of stories to tell. I’m even more glad that my family are all healthy, that this is me and not them, because I like the fact that they get a break from this. Plus I’d hate having to watch someone lose themselves.
Through a pretty tough couple of weeks I didn’t cry (which surprises me). Somehow the despair that (fairly frequently and without permission) overwhelmed me was too intense to warrant tears. Instead it made me stop whatever I was doing and just… Cease to function for a while, I guess. It was so raw it almost physically hurt; it was like being winded by the knowledge that there would be no break from the endless fatigue.
But I’m pretty sure it isn’t meant to be this difficult. I hate that there have been days, and weeks, where I feel like I’ve been kicked in the teeth over and over from the moment I wake up to the moment I settle into my nightmares. I hate that I can’t just get over myself and stop being so pathetic. It gets extremely frustrating, and it makes me embarrassed to share my feelings (which thankfully there are no words for anyway).
I wanted to fix my mood like I always used to – by going for a loooong run. But I couldn’t, which just seemed to drag me even lower. Forget rock bottom, I was swimming in the magma beneath it. So yesterday, I bought a bunch of running clothes to wear while I walk the dog (when I’m actually well enough to do so) in hope that wallowing in the nostalgia of running attire might soothe my urge to go for a run. It didn’t. My failures are laced with good intentions, and my main achievement today was getting out of bed. Everything else I planned to do took a backseat. Including revision, which has ground to a halt for the past three days, reigniting the anxiety that I’m going to fail my exams because I’m underprepared.
And that’s the end to this disjointed piece (for which I apologise). I kind of just feel alone in the maze of myself.
Saying stuff is difficult. A lot of the words I need don’t exist…