Day 7: What was the biggest realisation you've had?
This was a two-fold realisation I think - firstly it was the discovery that nobody can truly understand the nature of a chronic pain condition unless they are experiencing it themselves and that it isn't my fault for poor explanation or not quite being able to articulate it in a way from which an epiphany could spring.
Secondly and I think more importantly it was that this is, in fact, not always a big problem. As long as I can make the people who need to understand do so - and I really have adopted a "take no crap" approach to that - I'm fairly accepting of the fact most people can't really understand.
Providing nobody outright tries to accuse me of lying, or tries to assert that they know better than I do about my own body then I really don't mind most of the time. I'm almost uncharacteristically assertive with those who are on the "need to know" list - my work, for example - but otherwise I revert to type as a very un-showy individual and actually don't really want that many people to know and understand in depth and detail what's happening in my weird and wonderful body and brain.
Unless of course either does something which has colossal comedy value - then I think that's fair game to share. I find laughing at my chronic quirks soothing and helpful, and the gift of laughter should be shared as much as possible in my view.
And if I ever particularly need attention brought my way (illness-wise or not), shouting "I've got a plan and it's as hot as my pants!" will usually do the trick!
(Blackadder references - both brilliant and necessary.
Image courtesy of www.disgracejones.com)
Day 8: Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I really do despise these sorts of questions.
Most of the reason is that I really don't know. I achieved one of my main wishes this year in moving in with my partner in York, so I suppose I've rested on my laurels a bit since then. It's hard to make this entirely illness specific as well, as is often said incurable ill health does touch on and entwine with all aspects of your life.
I'd like to be in a job where I'm happy enough and with enough leniency in key areas to allow my health to remain at optimum level (which has not been happening recently) - having this stress reduced is a very big priority as I am determined to hold down a full time job. It's a very large point on which I am not prepared to budge unless my health were to get significantly worse to the point where it would be unfeasible. To have an environment conducive to good mental and physical health and still be in a job which I find intellectually challenging sounds like a large ask, but I don't think it's impossible to achieve.
One of my other long term ambitions is to take on a big walking challenge for a Fibromyalgia charity. Not everyone is physically capable of undertakings such as this in the name of the charities they hold most dear - that's the nature of chronic illness - but if planned and trained for carefully I believe I can do it. I've also always been one of those people who feels that those who can essentially should. I've looked into the Yorkshire Three Peaks and also into a 26 mile walk over the border from my native Sheffield in Derbyshire in countryside I am familiar with as I spent much of my childhood and adolescence exploring the wonderful Peak District. I am in no position to do so this year and probably not next year - training up for something of this nature would be a huge long term undertaking, and has to be preceded by what I've previously mentioned in terms of getting settled into healthy and challenging full time work.
So, there you have it. In some ways I have never been a person who is content to dream small.
And speaking of dreaming big, after 77 years we have a British Men's Singles Wimbledon champion. I'm not a huge tennis fan but I can always get behind a British champion of any sport. I will round up my thoughts for today with saying well played and well done to Andy Murray.
(Well deserved and a long time coming. Image from Tumblr, source unknown.)