I’m used to being able to push through. I’m stubborn, determined and I have a lot of willpower, normally. So when anxiety and depression get their teeth in me, I push back. When fatigue floods my body, I keep moving. When my pain levels are high, I still keep going. Sometimes I’ve burned out and had to take a few days off. Last year I discovered that this makes me ‘high functioning’ and doesn’t mean that what I’m experiencing is less serious than it is for someone who could not keep going in face of it.
Finding I can’t do things is a whole new issue. Staring blankly at screens when I can’t gather my thoughts to write blog content, or even emails. Unable to sleep from the anxiety that comes with having to get up the next day and work. Unable to move. Finding getting up from the sofa to pee requires all the willpower I can muster. It turns out I am not a limitless being able to manifest my every intention – not that I ever really thought that was true. I am an entirely finite mammal and I am out of resources. It’s a scary place to be, but also fascinating because I’ve never been here before.
For the first time in my life, I have no options of saying ‘yes’ a lot of the time. I am obliged to say no, and to retreat to the sofa, and ask for support. It’s a strange sort of experience, I don’t like the powerlessness, but I know I won’t get past this unless I surrender to it and let myself heal. I’ve had to have a few conversations about what I can’t do – most of the people I’m dealing with are being brilliant. And where people aren’t able to come through for me…. All I can do is let go and accept because I’m out of options. I suspect this is going to have interesting impacts on some of my relationships.
Concentrating to write is hard today, but, I’ve changed how I do blog content so that it isn’t time pressured. It’s ok if this takes me twice as long as it used to. Accepting my limitations and working within them is key at the moment. And somehow, from this place of mostly can’t, I have to figure out how to take better care of myself. I have to work out what will help me recover, and how to keep limping onwards in the meantime. I can’t recommend starting from here.
Slowly, gently, putting down what I can, letting go of what I can, trusting people to get my back, and resting as much as I can are my main tactics right now. I think I can get a proper week off at the start of February, and I think that will help a lot. Onwards, lurching awkwardly, but onwards…