Saturday, February 9

the second step, again

Going downhill after four months of giddyingly good health is not what I would call fun. But neither is it shocking, or acutely devastating {just moderately}. I actually thought my reaction would be more one of catastrophic depression, because I was having such a wonderful time feeling well, and was wondering if I had an addiction to it. But here’s the thing: I feel kind of normal again.

I know this life. This has been my norm, my familiar, my staple for the last few years. I can slot back into this old groove, as challenging as it is. And now I realise, I have adjusted to being unwell and it happened without me even realising.

It was strange feeling so well. I had to pinch myself, to know if it was true. I didn’t feel like me at first.  It was all so surreal, so sparkly. I would burst into tears if I thought about it too much because it was so overwhelmingly ridiculous to feel like that.  And with it came lots of adjustments for me, and for Ben. What to do, if I did get well? I felt this huge responsibility; now you have health, you need to do something really worthwhile. But I had no idea what because I have changed so much. Our home life was different, our housework roles were changing, our social life was changing, our dates were changing – and even when change is beautiful and exciting, you don’t necessarily feel secure. It’s like when you’ve just met someone you really like, and you are in this crazy hyped state of excitement whenever you hear from them, touch them {even accidentally}, talk to them...but it’s not like the stable, comforting closeness of being in a committed relationship with them and knowing them deeply and intimately. Not that being sick is like being in a committed relationship {although I must say, chronic illness is VERY committed to it’s victims}, but that change makes you feel a little uncertain, and tips you out of the groove for a while. 

If most of the things that come with being unwell are nasty, at least there are a couple of pros. One is the comedy of my brain. Most days at the moment we get some serious laughs from the things that my foggy brain verbalises, particularly at night in bed when it’s at its finest. It was a bit boring when I could say what I meant first time. 

And then there is lying on the couch with my dog. It was so odd seeing him lie on the couch while I was up and about, and there is something very precious about his cuddles and his loyalty. Other perks include getting to drink more cups of tea, and....I actually can’t think of anymore pros right now, but the point is, when you find yourself on the second step of the staircase, after having been near the top, at the very least you have been there before and it’s not new and it’s not scary.

And you know that it is possible to be well, and you know that you were loved and comforted last time you were unwell and feeling like a complete mess, so you settle down to hope and wait. 

Tuesday, February 5

you don't know that you're toxic to me

You don’t know
that you’re toxic to me.
Even you, my close friend,
my incredible family.
You don’t see how I hurt
after we’ve talked. As we talk.
How I ache and burn,
How I lie and wait.
You cannot watch,
as I mend myself.
In my private space.
I long to be with you,
you give me joy.
But oh, your humanity is something my body
cannot tolerate. Anymore.
You stimulate me,
I leak, adrenalin.
My head, my ears, my heart,
you assault my senses,
overloading me with sight
You can’t see my inward battles.
I need you to leave
I feel unwell
Yes, even with you.
But I feel so rude
that I hide my pain.
Or I want to keep talking
despite the discomfort.
I pretend I am normal
but it always destroys my health
a little, or a lot.
I lie to reassure you.
I lie far too often.
I fear telling you the truth,
That your body affects me detrimentally,
of my fragility.
That you, even you,
overwhelm me.
I limit my friends, I can’t always invest
I can’t bare interaction
often, for long.
We ‘need’ to catch up,
that’s what you say.
But those words make me shiver.
No. We don’t.
Don’t oblige me with ‘need’.
Don’t say ‘it’s been too long’.
It’s not long enough, for me,
if I’ve been silent.
You who just wait and gently offer yourself,
when I’m ready.
for however short a time,
without asking for more,
You are the sunshine.
In your patience, your subtle communication,
you restore me
from the terrors of interaction.
You never ask for more than I can give.

You know that you’re toxic
to my body.