I looked around for a comfy chair, or a bed, or maybe the floor would do. Yes, I could just curl up in the corner by the escalator… No, I can make it upstairs, make it to Mike and then… My head was spinning, I felt sick and anxious; I felt separate to the world around me. I made it upstairs – Mike was trying on some boots. I sat down on one of the stools in the shoe department and hugged my handbag to me like a comfort blanket. It was 11 am, I was meeting a friend at 1 pm to go out for lunch and then to the theatre. Two hours felt like a very long time away. I hugged my bag tighter. Emma rang and I shared that I was having a meltdown in TKMaxx. Her supportive words made me burst into tears. Then laugh. Then cry again. We both decided today was not the day for Shakespeare. More laughter.
And a cocktail of crying and laughing seems to have been my tipple of the last few weeks. Nothing serious has happened, nothing big, but lots of small things have gone wrong, which when added together have made this cocktail hour drag on way too long.
It started with a bug I picked up after Antigua, which I struggled to fully bounce back from. To help me get back on track I had some coaching and hypnotherapy – but unfortunately I had a strong reaction to the sessions (this happens to me occasionally, my body seems to shut down as my subconscious processes whatever it is it needs to process). Then I had my first bad period for months, no doubt because I was out of sorts from all the other stuff. And sleep has not been my friend recently – the doctor gave me something to help, but, well it didn’t help all that much and made me really ill (and cry in the middle of TKMaxx!)
Yes, everything I was doing to make my situation better was actually making it worse. Hahaha…
There has been a nasty taste of the bad old days: I have had to cancel lots of plans, I have been home alone a lot and feeling isolated (added to by Mike being away more than normal) and I have struggled to stay on top of my commitments. And my world has felt too small again; it is not good to be on your own so much, spending too much time in your head. Not good.
But I am amused that none of this has been caused by CFS (although sometimes my body does still respond more severely than ‘normal’ to events, such as bugs or lack of sleep), it has simply been a run of bad luck. There was one night when I was here alone and awake all night with period pain – I was supposed to be going to London the next day for more best friend wedding dress shopping (and to try on more £3,500 shoes). As I pulled the covers around me, focusing on being relaxed and peaceful, I laughed out loud into the night air. Yeah, hilarious universe. HILARIOUS.
Before we went to Antigua, I was doing so well; life had moved to just being about living, not about recovery. But despite all the craziness of the last few weeks, I am not worried about CFS coming back. I am so confident that underneath everything that has happened I am as well as I was in Antigua. It’s not been the easiest few weeks for sure, but hey, life is like that sometimes eh? And it hasn’t half reminded me how lucky I am to not live with a chronic illness anymore.
The last few days have been better. I have been out more, and actually spoke to other human beings. And I’m reading a gripping book – which is making me far happier than you would think a book could.
I have also decided to ditch the sleeping tablets. Yes, it was glorious to have deep sleep but the side effects were just too much; I did persevere for a few days but the downsides where far bigger than any benefits. I am now back to relying on Sleep Now (or maybe I should have an intravenous drip filled with vodka by the bed?)
And my world is about to get very big again: we are going to Japan (Japan!) on Friday for two weeks. What better antidote to a run of bad luck can there be?
Yes, the eternal optimist still rules the day. Oh, and there will be no more meddling from me; I clearly need to step away from helping myself. In fact, if I have a good idea I think I should ignore it and do the exact opposite.