Well here we are again. A new year, a new start and new stuff to get on with and dig in to. New challenges, new trials and apparently a whole new batch of illnesses and nasties that have decided to wait until New Year to pounce. How thoughtful. I should have seen it coming really: working like a demon for the last 6 months following the redundancy, land a really stressful job, do a bit more running, start a new relationship, end a stressful job, have a near enough breakdown…is it surprising that I end up sick (a nice case of tonsilitis after Boxing Day) and exhausted? No…not really.
As the New Year started, I was spending it with Tom in my flat having cooked steak and glazed carrots with baked potatoes and sour cream. We saw the fire works in London on the TV, heard them going off all around Harrogate and then we went to bed after a couple of tense Scrabble games – we are so rock n’ roll the hedgehogs were asking us to keep the noise down. My planned New Years Day run was cancelled however. While in the process of a NYE clean up, my back spasmed and I was reduced to hobbling like an arthritic stick insect. We walked the 3 mile route that I had planned to run – when I say walked I mean hobbled, slowly. With several stops. It wasn’t the best start to the year in terms of exercising.
A couple of painful days later, complete with muscle relaxants and a pair of crutches (I will give them back…eventually) and the year hadn’t become any less painful. If anything, it had got worse. Much worse. Biblical proportions of pain. I went back to the walk in centre for the second time in a week. An hour later, I was the proud owner of a UTI and a prescription for yet more antibiotics. I managed to last for nearly 30 freaking years without such an affliction – I’ll be happy if this is the first and last occasion. But the wonders of the NHS and antibiotics, 24 hours and drinking 3 litres of water and I’m pleased to say I’m on the mend. Walking was without crutches, peeing didn’t warrant tears and I have my appetite back.
This week was also the second appointment with the shrink I have been seeing. While the antidepressants are indeed helping to stabilise my mood and are working as they are intended, there is still much work to be done. It’s not something I really understand but there was a Eureka moment when he said that it was ok to be sad and angry. It was ok to cry and want the mental pain to stop. It was ok to have the feelings I have and I wasn’t supposed to be squashing them. I needed to be kinder to myself, to be gentle and compassionate and to treat myself with the same care I try to treat everyone else with. I deserve no less than anyone else.
So, with the New Year no longer as new and the days slipping by with a speed I’ve come to expect, 2013 will be a time to be kinder, gentler and more compassionate. If I want a cry and a bit of a mope then damn it I’m having it. If I want to squirrel myself away and sew/watch movies/knit yogurt all day then I will. I will train for the triathlon and I will not punish myself if things don’t go according to plan. I will allow myself time to heal and time to recover. More than anything, I will listen to Tom. He, along with the shrink, agrees that I need to “chill” to use the vernacular.
I need to do more of “nothing” for a small period every day – something that isn’t chores, isn’t a list, isn’t something that is for anyone other than myself. This will be the hard part – I am hard-wired to please other people. My over-riding instinct is to help other people and do things to make other people happy. But as New Year proved, only one person can help me and that person is me. I am the most important person, to paraphrase the shrink and I deserve to look after myself to the same degree as I look after other people. Maybe all these are the resolutions I resolutely refuse to make every year. I always thought resolutions were “pie crust” promises – easily made and easily broken. These are no flimsy pie crust promises. If I am to get better, in every sense of the word, then I have to keep the promises I make to myself. And a promise should never be broken – much like a person.
One woman…working to pick herself back up again and get back to the sum of the parts. Oh, and not be ill again anytime soon. Please and thank you.