Ok, time I came clean about why I'm feeling a bit down at the moment.
Most of my 10 years of elephant carrying has been fairly predictable. After an initial year spent bed/housebound I made it back to a level of functioning which allowed me to work, and even attempt a degree course (which I was unable to finish I'm afraid!).
I mostly poddled along day to day, coping with my symptoms and limitations as best I could. These were at times quite debilitating, but occasionally I managed periods of relative wellness, (it's ALL relative isn't it?) at one point I even managed a trip to Mongolia and rode horses for days on end!
At some point in each of the last 10 years I have had a relapse, crash, setback, whatever you call it, it's the same old beast! These crashes have always been debilitating, disabling, difficult to manage, mood-shattering, and above all scary. Who's to say how long you'll be feeling this way, and what happens to family life, work and all those other commitments whilst you are unable to contribute? Your daily energy, health and resilience reduced to a fraction of what it was just weeks before.
These relapses have meant I needed months off work, only able to return when I felt it was possible. Work were always understanding, and some semblance of a normal life (whatever that is?) could be resumed. This last 'crash' has been quite different however and has opened up a whole new set of worries for me.
In October last year I had an accident, and a week or so after that my latest relapse started to kick in. My injuries made it hard to lie or sit down, so in the initial period after the accident I was not able to rest as I would have been doing normally. As I write this and read it back I am beginning to see how stupid I was to be surprised I had a relapse..... injury then no rest...."Doh!"
Still, I had an initial month off work and a 'managed' phased return to work was agreed and started. Yes, I know it makes no sense NOW! Just a month off for a ME/CFS crash! I thought that the slow and steady return to work was going to be the best option and I stand by that...... but I should have been healthier and taken more time to recover before trying it!
Since December's return to working just two part mornings a week, I have strived to do as many hours as I can. I have spent each week pushing myself to up my hours and return to a full working week as I have always done. It has been nearly a whole year since this ME/CFS relapse started and although I have had some good days, it shows no signs of lifting and allowing me to settle back into my limited but fairly stable existence. I can manage working part time, but it is eating up my energy, and my life out of work is suffering to the point that it often becomes extinct!!!
I pushed myself constantly over this last year, and I can't help but wonder that if I'd not done so, would I have managed to return to work better and more fully than now? I don't know, but I DO KNOW how sick I feel almost all the time of late. Whether I'm at work or at home.
So now for the honest and heart-on-my-sleeve bit........ I am inevitably starting to ask myself difficult questions. Is this it for me now? Is this level of health/sickness my new 'norm'? Can I return to how I was this time last year, and manage to work as before?
Having a crisis of 'positive thinking'!