I've avoided updating the blog for the past while for a couple of reasons. One is that I haven't been having the best run of 'wellness' and I've been choosing to use my very limited energy on other things. Another reason is that I do not want to keep repeating myself with each post being a recycled version of a previous one.
This isn't always easy to achieve as so much of what I experience, think or feel now that I have a chronic illness is cyclical in nature. Here's a 'typical' week as an example of what I mean:
Monday - I'm going to change the world.
Tuesday - I can hardly change my underpants.
Wednesday - I have so much to be thankful for.
Thursday - This existence is shit.
Friday - I'm not as ill as I think. I need to give myself a push.
Saturday - I can't even make it to the bathroom.
Sunday - Another week has passed and I have achieved the square root of zero.
Hopefully that helps to paint a picture. Life is now a constantly cycling set of emotions that range from positive and thankful to what's the telephone number for Dignitas (that might not make any sense to non-European readers but Google is your friend). And so, although whatever I'm feeling/experiencing on any given day is real and worth acknowledging, I also am aware it is exceptionally transient.
Which brings me on to the main theme of this post and another area that is shifting constantly in my mind. The future.
Almost every area of my life is now up for re-negotiation. There are many ways in which the future might look for me, depending on my health. I could be relatively symptom-free next year, I could be worse (perish the thought) or I could be relatively unchanged. The main areas of anyone's life, in my view are: relationships, career, social life, sense of purpose. All of those areas are impacted by my health. There's a lot of tough thinking ahead of me.
One thing I am becoming more resigned to is that the change in career direction I had mapped out (to become a Social Worker) is unlikely to be appropriate now, regardless of whether I improve or not. Social work, especially in the UK, is a career that is often dominated by high levels of stress, low levels of support from the public/Government and crazily unrealistic targets and workloads. I was always aware of this and it didn't phase me. Now though, I know that my health will likely be unable to handle such stressors and I'd be back to being very ill within a couple of years of recovering.
Another consideration is that I am now fully engaged with M.E. - both in terms of how it is impacting me personally and the stories I hear from fellow sufferers. To be honest, I never gave M.E. a second thought until it hit me. I knew it had controversy attached to it and I even knew a woman who apparently had it. But, like so many of us whilst we are healthy, I shrugged my shoulders, said 'what a shame' and carried on with my life. So, now that I have this new perspective, I'm going to find it very difficult to treat any future recovery as an opportunity to turn my attention/skills/efforts to anything other than somehow supporting those who are in the middle of suffering, despair and hopelessness.
I'm arrogant enough to know that I have a good brain (perhaps less so than before I got M.E. as it has eaten away at some of the sharpness!) and that, whatever I do with my life in the future, I can have an impact. It would seem absurd for me to direct myself anywhere other than M.E. in the future. That has implications in terms of my career options, my earning potential and where I live/work. Everything changes and I may look back on this post in years to come and laugh at my naivety but, for now, I can't envisage using any future recovery to do any other type of work.
The other main factors I mentioned? Who knows? All I can know at the minute is that I am not the same person I was before I got ill and I will probably not possess my old values, concerns or priorities when I come out the other side of this.
Here's to the future my friends :)