Thursday, 21 February 2013

I'm going on an adventure....

Well I would, but it'd require moving. I'm not moving. You can't make me. 

(Yes, Hannah is having one of those days.) 

We all know this one!

When you make plans, do your best to behave in the days leading up to the plans, and your body says "NO!" regardless. It's relevant for me right at this moment but I wanted to make a post while I'm thinking about it, as it ties in neatly to what I've said in a previous post about people-pleasing. 

There's no getting around it - you're bound to disappoint someone eventually with your not turning up. Someone's feelings are bound to be hurt somewhere down the line - it's unavoidable. There will occasionally be a really important event and you are unable to leave the house. We can take all the precautions we like, be just as careful as humanly possible and this will still happen. It's a fact of life of any illness, chronic or not. It's likely that one day you will catch a bug that leaves you on elastic attachment to either the bedroom or the bathroom on the day of an important event - in short, it happens to us all. When you have a chronic illness, the cycle just appears to be set to repeat. 

The point I wanted to make was about the attitude with which we face this fact. I've talked about being a people pleaser and people have responded saying they feel they are the same. I think at some point you have to realise your health is the most important consideration in your plans - as galling as that may be to your inner nature. You're the one who could end up in bed for a week because you overstretched for someone else's benefit - and is that really fair?

I think there will always be some events that we will all just decide to be a little silly for. Everyone has an importance threshold for which you're prepared to burn all the bridges of your carefully planned out routine and go "sod you body" for.

However, my point was that feeling guilty and beating yourself up in response to missing something will not help you or anybody else. At some point, acceptance arrives. Your life is the way it is now - to quote the tirelessly upbeat Hank Green, this is your "new normal". For your own sake, there has to come a time when the over-explanations and the platitudes and the apologies must cease and calm must reign. 

I'm saying all this, but I'm still in something of a halfway house with my attitude. Some days everything is zen and I am a serene mountain lake (as if, it'd be bloody freezing) and others I'm plagued with guilt and feelings of inadequacy because I've had to let someone down. 

My relevancy point? I have a hen night this weekend. Well, it's more of a hen day-and-night which I'd planned to attend all of, but since I've spent all of this week so far perpetually tired and aching and in the "I'm not moving, you can't make me" frame of mind I referenced above, it seems a silly thing to do. I'm still going for the evening though -  that's some consolation. Originally I thought "Hannah, you're doing it again", but as time has gone on I've thought "No, your body is telling you what it needs you to be doing or not doing - give yourself a break and listen to it." I know it would be a step too far - so I have to put myself first and other people second (it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth) and do what is sensible. Eurgh, sensible. That sounds so horribly adult - I'm 23 with delusions of continuing freedom, make it stop! 

I'm superbly lucky - my friends are really wonderful in their understanding and acceptance of the fact I am not that reliable any more (involuntarily so, after all) but they know it's not because I don't want to be there. It's because Petunia is a grumpy teenager and likes to throw tantrums. 

In short - be a little kinder to yourself. So, the "new normal" is a little quieter than the old one - quiet isn't always a bad thing. It's not in any way as simple a thing as clicking your fingers and looking at something in a new way - but I do believe there is something of a choice involved. A choice to let yourself have some breathing space and to make decisions for your own good without arbitrary self-chastisement later. A choice, in effect, to be content with the things you can do and to not focus on those you can't. It's not easy, it doesn't happen overnight and it isn't some sort of surreal bubble where you never have days where you feel low - but it's not a bad thing to reach in the long run. I'm not there yet - but I'm working that way slowly.

Case in point - I've decided not to beat myself up about the hen night. I'm going to go and enjoy the bit I can make and then hopefully feel OK the following day after a good sleep because I won't have pushed things that step too far. Everyone wins - at least a little bit.

Is any of this sage wisdom going to stop me attempting to do some housework today? No, but I decided some time ago I was a mule in a previous life. There's no way this amount of stubbornness is natural, right?  


  1. I can relate so much to all of this too... Also I went to a hen day/night at the beginning of this month (cocktail making class, followed by a meal, followed by a night out). I managed the cocktail class and the meal... by then I was dead on my feet and had to go home at 9pm and miss the nights shenanighans.

    I still felt guilty and wondered how many people would think I just couldn't be bothered making the effort, as I am kind of in a new social group now since relocating back to Ireland from Yorkshire.

    You're right though. Self has to come first at some stage. Thanks for the reminder!