I started writing this blog for a number of reasons. One of these was that I wanted to revive my love of writing, but in a safe way. In the past, I often used to write about controversial issues for my profession, sticking my neck out and sometimes taking some flack for my opinions. That was fine as I felt pretty strong and was confident in myself. It was good and proper to be challenged and I learned a lot from friends and colleagues. Now, however, my illnesses have brought a huge change in my self-belief and I suffer from massive anxiety every day. I cannot deal with the outside world very well and this has come at a time when the outside world seems to have gone collectively insane.
So, although I have started to write again, I have to confine my words to the relatively trivial, on most days. Telling readers of this blog about my clothing choices, scarves and the books I am reading gives me an outlet and enables me to practise writing. I am happy to receive comments here and will answer them when I can.
Another important reason for having this blog is so that I can track what happens and my own mood changes, like a diary. It is probably selfish that I put it all out for everyone to read, but this part of the blog is for me. Sorry if it gets rather dark at times, but my ramblings are helpful in purging my bad feelings.
A positive effect of having this blog is that I am now making sure that I wear something nice every day so that I can post about my clothes! This means that I try to rotate items in my wardrobe and that I don’t keep wearing the same things day after day. Even Lovely Husband has noticed 😄
Despite feeling very shaky, I did manage to go downstairs for a few hours and I wore the following:
- Cobalt blue cotton cable jumper – Lands’ End.
- Navy cotton joggers – Cotton Traders.
- Bright blue glass and silver earrings – given to me as a present.
- White enamel and silver, leaf pattern bangle – bought many years ago, very cheaply.
- Horn scarf ring – MaiTai.
- Ivory and pale blue silk scarf, The Laws of the Game of Cricket – Liberty of London.
Feeling like a burden
Readers of this blog will have worked out that my family circumstances are pretty difficult, even without the health issues that I have to manage. I married a fit and healthy PE teacher, who lost his health and fitness and was forced to retire in his late forties. Elder Son has ASD and learning difficulties and Younger Son also has problems. All of LH’s and my parents are dead and we get very little practical support from our wider family. We have no real local friends and I keep in touch with my wider circle of friends by social media. So, yes, life is tough.
At 50, ten years ago, I was working full-time as the main family breadwinner and doing well in my career, which I loved with a passion. To keep fit I went to the gym regularly, sort of swam (basically I cannot swim properly and so I kick up and down the length of the pool with a float), and also did a weekly yoga class. Family life could be difficult, but I could cope pretty well. LH managed the household, despite his disabilities, and also took charge of all the food shopping and cooking.
Then, gradually, during my fifties my health started to deteriorate. First thyroid problems, then chronic cough, sarcoidosis and then a slippery slope of other conditions, some caused by side-effects of the medications I had to take. My mental health took a dive and then sank as my Mum became ill and eventually died. I couldn’t pull myself up and had long periods off work. In the end I became extremely ill both physically and mentally and was unable to leave the house and so had to retire.
So, and I am being very open here, this is where I find myself. Once I was the strong mother and wife, supporting LH in physical tasks in the home and garden and in the emotional work of a family. Now, I feel helpless and unable to contribute properly. Every day I am racked with guilt for the pressure I put on my family and the burden I place on them. For I spend most of the day in bed, can rarely leave the house and cannot go on holiday. I cannot cook, do much housework or garden. LH and my lads have to look after me, bringing me drinks and food, stocking up my meds box, plugging in the iPad, running to support me when I cough and choke, picking me up from the floor, cleaning up vomit, organising appointments, cuddling me when I weep, comforting me when I howl in misery. Occasionally I am myself again and can support my lads emotionally with advice and reassurance. Sometimes I am a complete bitch and put all of my fears and anxiety on their shoulders. This is what chronic illness has done to me.
This is what chronic illness has done to me.
Sorry, I hope I can be more upbeat next week.