Astute readers may have noticed my posts have been more negative than usual lately. It’s not purely because Australian politics is so depressing that I would rather stab myself repeatedly in the eye with a fork than read the news. It’s not solely because the Australian media would rather write about Kim Kardashian than Elizabeth Blackburn. It’s not only because climate change is the most urgent and terrifying threat the world has ever faced, and we are largely ignoring it in the face of our desire to own newer phones, bigger tvs, and spa baths.
I am just too tired to be positive right now. Imagine dragging yourself through the day having had no sleep the night before. Now imagine feeling that way every single day when you’re getting a solid 10 hours sleep a night.
That’s where I am right now. In July I had a virus. It didn’t seem particularly severe at the time, but it left me with a mild heart condition and constant, dragging exhaustion. The heart condition is not life-threatening, and should resolve in time, and really there are many, many people with a lot more to fuss about than I have. But I am struggling.
Had I injured my foot, I’d have posted about it by now. Had I broken my arm, I’d have been telling people left right and center. But I have persisted in an uneasy silence that feels counterfeit. Saying “Fine, thanks” and turning the conversation to others when people ask me how I am. I’m not entirely sure why. I guess I hoped I would get better much faster than I had. I didn’t want to cause a fuss by saying “I have a heart condition.” And in my early 20s I was chronically unwell for several years, and I didn’t want to think I was going back there.
But I have to say no to lots of things. I have to sit still, to save my strength, to keep my precious, tiny energy reserves for just getting through each day intact. And I am starting to feel that by constantly saying “I’m fine” when I’m really not, I am distancing myself from the world around me, and particularly from my friends. I’m not very comfortable with deceit. I’m more a “shout it from the rooftops” kind of girl (surprise!).
It’s been worse since we got back from holidays, as I have come back relaxed and tanned, so everyone is saying “oh, you look so well!”
I haven’t had the heart to break it to them that sun-tan and energy levels are not correlated.
So here I am, dragging myself from one day to the next. I’m back to riding to work, so I must have more energy than I had last term. I’m hoping that riding regularly and eating better will help me climb back up to something approximating normal (at least for energy levels – can’t make any promises on behaviour). And I’m saying “No, sorry, I really can’t right now” to more and more things, and trying not to feel guilty about them. I’m trying to accept that my usual mission to be all things to all people is on hold for the moment.
But perhaps it’s worth considering my story next time you are grumpy with someone for not being there for you. For always turning down your invitations, or for not looking like they’re enjoying the dinner they finally did show up for. Maybe they just can’t. You never really know what’s going on in someone else’s life.