Earlier this week, I asked my partner for sex.
“Well, I’ll do it but my heart won’t really be in it” he jokingly replied.
I pretended to sulk but instead tears unwillingly formed in the corner of my eyes. “You know I was joking!”
I did. Glenn has been very patient with my random crying outbursts. It has gotten significantly better as I recovered but it’s always humiliating.
I told Glenn I understood and then said “I don’t like having a new job.”
Recently, I started working for some travel bloggers. I love the job. It’s challenging and enriching and so much fun. The guys behind it are awesome, as are their kids. The work makes me feel smart and useful again.
It’s tiring though. I haven’t properly gone birdwatching since I started the job. I don’t have much energy left over for other stuff. The workload has reminded me of just how much I am limited at the moment – and I resent feeling like I’m less then a person. Like I’m a shadow of my former self.
I put off talking about the job for about two months, because my migraines get worse over summer and I didn’t want to make the trip up to Melbourne. I was reluctant to meet up with them when they were at the Bellarine Peninsula for 3 weeks. It sounds so callous to write about it. Yet, that’s what my reality is at the moment.
A friend recently introduced me to the spoon theory. The author wrote:
Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom.
The reason I’ve been struggling lately is because I’ve had to spend more mental energy thinking about work instead of micromanaging my anxiety. Emotions have flared as a result. To quote Baldrick – I have a cunning plan!
I have been reading a lot about the brain and mental health lately. I’m reading The Brain That Changed Itself. It’s fascinating but can be a bit of a disjointed, slog of a book.
It introduced me to the concept of neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity promises to overthrow the centuries-old notion that the brain is fixed and unchanging. The brain is not, as was thought, like a machine, or “hardwired” like a computer. Neuroplasticity not only gives hope to those with mental limitations, or what was thought to be incurable brain damage, but expands our understanding of the healthy brain and the resilience of human nature.
This book has given me hope. There probably is a physical component of whatever is wrong with me, which is something I’ll be investigating with my doctor. (I’m convinced it’s either a brain tumour or chronic fatigue. However, I’m the type of person who asks my boyfriend if my boobs feel cancerous today.) Part of my health problems could also be caused by training my brain to avoid every type of stressor.
I developed anxiety as soon as I hit puberty. It worsened when I moved out of home and had my breakdown during the second year of uni. I improved a lot after a proper diagnosis but then seemed to regress somewhat. Part of me thinks that maybe, just maybe, I get so exhausted because I have become socially isolated.
Maybe I have to retrain my brain in a similar fashion to how I have to retrain my body to be physically able to handle long walks. It’s different to exposure therapy, as I rarely get anxiety in public anymore. Moreso, it’s pushing myself in smaller doses and monitoring how I handle the added pressure.
This is embarrassing to admit, but my first step will be trying to shower everyday. Currently, I shower 2-3 times a week and brush my teeth even less. I’m aware of how disgusting my hygiene is however my goal is talk about the unspoken facets of long term mental illness.
The next steps will be catching a train to the other side of town and back. Exercising again, in small bursts. Washing the clothes and dishes more often.
Even if this fails, I will still have information I can take to the doctor. And, I will have a semblance of a life.
I know this post – and many of the posts that will follow – will be boring to those that followed my professional work in the past. Despite the accidentally crying-over-sex situations.