Home Alone

It’s been a strange couple of weeks. I think I have operated as two people, two people who couldn’t be more different, two people who don’t seem to belong together. One of them has had a wonderful time, whilst the other, well, not so much.

Some of you will know I have dabbled with Reiki recently – this is part of my continued ‘nail complete recovery’ package. Whilst it is true that I am better than I was, which of course, is fantastic, I am not able to do as much as a normal person, if indeed there is such a thing as normal. But I do I aspire to be as healthy and well as I can be, and for this I still have work to do.

I’ve had Reiki for a couple of months and sometimes I have had reactions to those sessions, then two weeks ago I had my worst reaction so far: I was completely zonked and plastered to the sofa for days. Is this sounding familiar to anyone? It sounds a lot like a big fat dose of CFS doesn’t it? But as I don’t get these anymore I had forgotten how truly awful it is to feel so unwell.

Even though I knew what was causing the horridness and I knew it would lift and I am so grateful to not spend my life feeling like this anymore, it was no fun. No fun at all.

As the ‘healing crisis’ lifted, I had one day respite (thankfully I spent this with my best friend watching a beautiful and creative contemporary ballet) before a period from hell began. And so started a week of being in pain, broken sleep and generally feeling grotty.

But you have to laugh don’t you: two weeks of feeling awful and none of it caused by CFS; I guess, it is still progress, just not the kind I had in mind!

And somewhere in the midst of all of this I have felt restless – emotionally and psychologically. I don’t know if this is in response to the Reiki; I don’t know if I even believe you can have such a deep response to someone waving their hands over you (although something definitely happens in the sessions and I can feel heat coming through the therapist’s hands). Or maybe the restlessness is down to me having time to think about what my new life looks like.

Husband’s job takes him away a lot of the time and due to all the above drama, I have been home more than normal. And in a bid to keep myself distracted from feeling unwell I have written more, which is the good part, the amazing part, of the last two weeks: I have made some real tangible steps forward with my writing goals.

And here we have it – I have done more writing in the last two weeks than I would normally do, but I have also spent more time on my own. And dare I say it, I have felt lonely. It has brought home to me that if I am going to be a writer – am a writer – I will be working on my own pretty much all the time, so I need to find a way to balance that with time out of the apartment and time with other people.

When you are desperate to get well, you imagine well life will be easy and straight forward, that you will just be so glad to get there that you will be happy doing anything, doing everything. But of course, this is not the reality. As I get closer to being completely well, there isn’t a ready-made life for me to pick up, I have to create one, a new one – and that takes time and thought and work.

In my dream life, I write in the day and I meet friends in the evening, go to the cinema with a girl-friend, or to the theatre, or to yoga, or to an evening class; relishing being an independent woman with an array of interests. Then when Husband comes back on a Friday I will be a sparkly wife ready for a romantic reunion. (Not this week mind, this week he got a fat, grumpy, hormonal, tired wife – ooh, I’m good to him.)

But I am not quite there yet, I still can’t quite do what I want and in the evenings I often end up taking it easy. I do make the effort to arrange to see friends in the week for a coffee, or a lunch, but it’s difficult – everyone is on a different schedule to me, some friends have kids and have such little spare time, another is away in the week too, another is so busy at work and often works evenings, another has recently moved. And also, I don’t want to spend all week floating around ‘doing’ coffee, I want to work hard and get to the end of the week and feel like I have achieved something. So part of me just wants to shut myself away and use all my energy on writing.

So I feel unsettled, it’s good unsettled I think, if that makes any sense. My mind is trying to come up with a solution for a new lifestyle, which inherently means it believes this is for keeps; it means my mind is building confidence that my wellness is for good and going to carry on improving. I keep reminding myself I don’t have to have all the answers at once, that piece by piece they are coming together.

I KNOW with all my heart that I want to write, and I know that I have the drive and determination to make it happen (and let’s assume I am good enough, or the party is over before I’ve even chosen what shoes to wear). But I also know that I need to – want to – live a balanced life. I just need to find a way to tie it all together, and I will, I’m just not quite there – yet.

If you work home alone and have any advice, I would love to hear it…

25 thoughts on “Home Alone

  1. I think it is just about trying out lots of little things. I write best in the mornings and can’t do much creative in the late afternoon or evenings (though editing and other stuff is fine). This is pretty much the case whatever I have tried.

    And then there is fitting in with other schedules.

    Try stuff, challenge the normal. Keep what works; junk the rest!

    • You always have good advice Evan, thank you. And I think you have been working at home for a while, so you know exactly where I’m coming from.

      I think you’re right, I need to keep playing with my schedule and see what works best. I think in my head I expect myself to be able to write all day, every day. But I’m already seeing that ain’t gonna happen!

      Thank you so much for always taking the time to comment Evan. Hope things are going well for you.

  2. Hmm, I used to work 100% from home and now I do (as you know) 2.5 days/week in office (so 22 hours ish…. but sometimes 30!! hours a week) and while I no longer “work” from home as I used to I write on my days off.

    I find I can write all day (interspersed with internet and housework etc), and I like to have a strict deadline e.g. 6pm where I stop. If I didn’t work in the City on my work days I would *definitely* go out in the evenings on my writing days (and sometimes do). For me mimicking the 9-5 works as it gives my day a structure (though perhaps I’m not the person to ask as I actually hated working from home and am not very suited to it). Is your ME worse in the evenings or is it because you get up very early? I now go to sleep about 11pm and get up between 7 and 9am, but I am generally more awake in the evenings anyway. But perhaps in order to have a social life during the week you might consider shifting your bedtime a bit later so your now 8pm becomes your 10pm? Nothing drastic, just maybe going to sleep at about 11-12 like most people do, but getting up 9-10?


  3. PS. I meant “and while I no longer “work” from home, as I used to, I do write on my days off.” Wasn’t v clear, sorry!

    Oh and I think a big part of working from home is having things to look forward to as it imposes a deadline. So if you could somehow go out in the evening I think that would spur you on to be productive during the day. I often found when I was in all day and had no evening plans there was nothing to delineate my day and my only “deadline” would be going to bed.

    Hope this helps somehow!

    • Aah. Thank you lovely BG for taking the time to share so much.

      Yes, I had forgotten you used to work at home – should have come to you for advice earlier 🙂

      You’ve given me lots to think about – thank you. I am more of a morning person than an evening person and actually have always been this way. I am pretty good at being disciplined and setting deadlines so not too worried about that part. But I agree with you that I need to find a way to ‘end’ the day.

      I always thought I could never work at home – I used to love having an office to go to and enjoyed being part of a team. So I am not sure if working at home is for me either! But I want to experiment and now is a good time for me to do that as I carry on taking baby steps forward. I may even buy myself a funky small laptop or iPad so I can hang out in coffee shops to break the routine (and do some people watching…)

      Thank you for the suggestions – always love hearing your thoughts. Hope you are having a good day Miss Lawyer…xxx

  4. Yes, I think the Type A doesn’t like working from home. I am far too “on” for that! found it quite isolating too so I feel for you being without Husband during the week as well. I think also if (like me) you suffer from insecurity about your writing, you might feel like everyone else is doing “proper work” and you’re just messing around – that’s definitely how I feel. What about a little say 5 – 10 hour a week job or volunteering in something you care about and writing the rest of the time? Money would be good too, that’s a pair of shoes a week!! 🙂

    • Well, a new pair of shoes is always tempting 🙂

      Actually, I don’t feel like that about my writing (or my life in general). Maybe because this situation has meant it has been a long time since I have worked; maybe because my friends and family knew me when I had the ‘big’ job so I don’t feel I have anything to prove to them; or maybe I have actually made some progress on not worrying so much about what other people think!

      I do have insecurities about my writing, but the kind that worry about not being good enough. But I am working on those (and continuing to improve how I write – I hope).

      Always fascinated by how different we all are. It’s been interesting chatting this through with you BG – from the outside it seems like starting as a Lawyer has been totally the right decision for you….xx

      • It IS fascinating. I haven’t had a single health wobble since starting as a lawyer, so I am really hoping Body and I are finally in agreement about what we want!

        Hope you figure out working from home. I love writing and am submitting to agents but I think the reason I feel like I am messing around on writing days is probably because that forms a large percentage of what I do on those days, ha! I really think the article writing thing might be suited to you – I’m not a journalist type at all and love fiction so wouldnt want to supplement my income with that, but I think you are more the article writer type. So yay! Go you!

        • It makes me so happy to hear how well you are doing. And it does very much sound like the mind and body are in agreement – that’s got to better than a lot of internal squabbling 🙂

          I think it’s amazing (and yes, I know I have said it many times before) that you write too. And the fact that you are keeping this up with your new job – well go you too BG!

          Thank you for the words of encouragement – always like hearing those, especially from someone who can write (and someone who is fussy about their writing!)

          So I say, GO US. And anyone else who is reading – let’s all go, go, go….! xx

  5. Follow your heart, it generally knows best.
    I often hear the “balanced life” scenario. The trick is that it means different things to different people. What “balance” are you seeking/do you want? I spend my time doing largely what I enjoy doing. I believe that’s the key because when you do, the ”balance” sorts itself out. Most want some “balance” because half their time is spent doing what they don’t want to do & they want to balance this with something more pleasurable.
    be good to yourself

    • Oh David, your comments always make everything seem so simple and obvious – I guess that’s why you are the life coach and I am not! 🙂

      Thank you so much for the wise words, I am off to have a think about what you have said. I am going to resist the ‘shoulds’ and comparing myself to other people, and look to my heart for some help on how to carry on creating this new life that is perfect for me.

      Hope all is wonderful in your world David….x

  6. I’m a student doing a reading degree so as well as spending most of my day reading on my own, to choose to write on top seemed crazy. Loneliness has been a big problem for me since I got ill with ME 6 years ago. It may seem silly but I find that going to coffee shops to work once or twice a week helps me a lot. You’re still engaged in a solitary activity but being around people, chatting to the barista, etc seems to help. It would also meant that fitting in meeting friends for coffee would be easier for you while still achieving the amount of work you want to. You just stop working when they come in, start again when they leave. I found a place I really liked so I really enjoy going there to work.
    Katie xx

    • Hey lovely Katie

      Yes, I had thought about the whole coffee shop thing and I can definitely see why it appeals. Going to find the funkiest coffee shop with the sexiest baristas – may as well make it as much fun as possible!

      Thank you for sharing what works for you, I really appreciate it. Happy studying…xx

  7. Hi Karen! I haven’t commented for a long time but I have been following your wonderful writing journey and am so pleased to read your health is so much better. Like Billygean I work 22 hours….sometimes 30 (not a good idea to work 30!) and sometimes work from home, as I did today on my own fledgling business and will tomorrow on my job. I totally agree that having a structure plus breaks or something to look forward to are essential for focus. I have an idea that may interest you so will inbox you 🙂 ….it may even include a trip to a decent coffee shop!

    • Hi Maggie

      What a lovely message – thank you.

      This week has been easier, mainly because I haven’t been in a healing crisis or in period hell! I worked at home Monday and Tuesday, then I took yesterday off: I went out for lunch, to the hairdressers, saw a friend for coffee. And because I knew I had Wednesday to look forward to I was scarily focused on Monday and Tuesday!

      Thank you for the ideas Maggie, I really appreciate it. And loving the teaser ending to your comment.

      Good luck with the business….xx

  8. hello karen
    i really hope you are feeling much better at this point.
    if i am honest, i can’t explain the reasons for feeling unsettled however i will point out to the fact that you always bring something positive out of your experiences no matter how difficult it seems and that in itself is a winner.
    always remember i am one of the numerous people cheering you on.
    as for your writing, you know you are a tough act to follow. it’s fun, real, sometimes emotional and overall just right!!!
    take care and enjoy the rest of the day.

    • Oh Ayo, you are just so lovely I want to squish those cheeks of yours!

      I am feeling much better about stuff actually. Not sure why, I haven’t made any real changes to my schedule yet, but I have been thinking through lots of different options, and I think just realising that there are lots of ways I can go about writing, and remembering that I am in control of that has helped sort my head out. For now anyway!

      Hope everything is cool with you…xx

  9. Sorry I’m commenting late! I did read this when you posted…Anyways I totally understand what you feel about feeling healthy just not up to speed with “normal” people. I guess its about finding that healthy balance and not getting scared of doing too much. I myself am on such a strict “Sipora schedule” work/home/bed/work/home/bed I get nervous sometimes about squeezing in something fun! I guess we just have to be smart about what we do.

    Have you ever thought about a writing group? That could be a great way to meet people and its relaxing and fun! Or a book group? I joined a ladies reading group once- was awesome.

    Keep being strong!!!


    • Everyone knows that arriving late is the way to make an entrance 🙂

      Your ‘Sipora Schedule’ sounds very strict – I hope it is helping. But yes does sound like the schedule needs a fun slot!

      I have always loved the idea of being part of a book group, although in my fantasy we meet over wine and no one takes it too seriously.

      Thank you for the suggestions lovely and good luck with SS! xx

  10. Hi karen,
    As one frog said to the other when offered a newspaper……Read it,….Read it…….Read it.

    Sorry! it was the only one that fit! 🙂

    Anyway Fab blog as ever!

    And I agree with BG, I’m a type A too & I do miss the contact with others working from home! I use the internet fb & twitter as a virtual office now for uplifting banter……Hey, you may have noticed that? 😀

    At present things are good health wise, fingers FIRMLY X’d!!! and been forced to work to deadlines and been putting 12 hours a day in sometimes!

    BG has a great way with words & making points far better than I could ever hope to, she has been of good support to “know” someone similar in health status!

    Good luck with writing, I’m sure you have the ability, you need luck to go with it and know that from the art world! Sadly thats the way this daft world works now! If you get to regularly writing for any outlet don’t let them pressure you! I SHOULD take that advise myself actually. 🙂 xx

    Sorry its took a while to get in touch!

    Rog x

    • Hey Rog

      Hadn’t really noticed you much on FB or Twitter 🙂

      It’s so great to hear you are doing so well. (I hadn’t realised HOW well you are doing.) Go Rog!!

      Yes, I can see how there must be peaks and troughs with any freelance type work. Not sure I fancy a 12 hour day – oh well, don’t need to worry about that just yet!

      Thank you for commenting as ever Rog – always love to have your input (and jokes). xxx

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