Hands up all those who have, to some degree, beat themselves up? C’mon we all do it, don’t we? Even if it’s just a bit…? Or is it me that finds themselves worrying about giving the wrong coffee mug to the boss at work, or spend ages agonising over how I used the word ‘righting’ instead of ‘writing’ in my last blog post (I’m too bloody lazy to change it by the way ;)) or spend the morning silently chastising myself because I may have laughed too loudly in a group of friends at a restaurant, at something that I found funny the night before, or for not realising sooner that I had absent minded-ly run over the foot of someone with my shopping trolley in the supermarket this morning…..
It doesn’t matter how trivial or important the ‘beating’ up is I think we all do it, I know I do, but I also have the added ‘baton/punch/slap’ that is… I have a CHD.
Let me explain.
Last week I was having a great week, things were ticking along nicely, I had spent most of the week doing healthy things like Pilates, Yoga and Bellydance classes, meeting friends for discussions about theatre and theorising why American women seem so much better at Impro (sorry I still can’t call it Improv) than British women. I was looking forward to my second training session (I’m training to become a counsellor/psychotherapist) on the Friday.
So far so good. Thursday evening I began to feel tired, by Friday morning I was aware that I was in the middle of an energy crash. This happens sometimes, my energy just vanishes, it’s not just the ‘I feel a bit tired an early night will sort it’, it’s the ‘shit, I can’t actually get my head off the pillow, walking to bathroom is painful’, sort of energy drain. It’s cruel and it’s embarrassing, it means I’m spaced and vacant for the day, nothing makes sense and I make no sense, and when it comes it leaves me angry and frustrated at the waste of time, energy and the day it robs me of.
I drag myself to class, I struggle through the morning but manage to participate, during the lunch break I leave the room where we all gather to eat our lunch, swap stories and chat getting to know each other. I leave the new friendships I’m beginning to form and sit in the garden where it’s cold and close my eyes. I am aware this looks and is anti-social, but the noise of the chatter in the room is overwhelming, I can’t concentrate on what people are saying to me, it’s physically painful. The afternoon is a disaster, I’m hanging on with the delightful feeling of my arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) kicking in, lovely. I just want to sleep. It’s the most important session of the day, Skills Practice, we get a demonstration by our tutors, I am supposed to be concentrating on what they are showing us, all I can think about is….
“How the fuck am I supposed to help people when I feel like this?!!!! How am I going to be able to be present and listen to a person who needs my help when I feel like the room is closing in on me and I am drowning in exhaustion? I FUCKING HATE MY CHD! I HATE IT.”
I spend the weekend in a silent anger at myself, beating myself up about the whole situation, the agonising indecision of have I made the right decision to choose this career path? But most of all blaming my CHD which causes the exhaustion. Blaming my CHD for not allowing me the fitness of everyone else my age who loves to dance, and take Pilates and Yoga classes. Blaming the exhaustion, which is a way of my body telling me to take it easy, which just happened to manifest itself on a really important day. The timing sucked!
Then I have a break though in my anger and sulkiness. I realise why I am angry rather than just being angry, I am angry because my CHD, which makes me feel this drained and exhausted – not always, but sometimes – is separating me from others, this is something that doesn’t sit well with me. I hate feeling different, not part of the gang. My CHD is reminding me in it’s little ‘you’re very tired today’ way that it is present within my body, within my genetic make-up, within my personality and however hard I try to fight it, get angry at it, however hard I try to ignore it, push myself on and not be defined by it, it will in it’s little quiet ways remind me that it is part of me. I have to accept it and work with it and y’know, it’s ok to have bad days, I should count myself lucky it’s only a few days and not EVERY day, not easy I know when it’s wrecking your plans, but maybe I should start learning to be at ease with this a bit more.