After I wrote this post I suddenly couldn’t stop crying, so I went to the next room to see my mum (she was up by then at 8am), and although she doesn’t always say the right thing, and says a lot of things I already know, she always makes me see sense. And she really put things in perspective for me, and made me realise that I can’t help anyone until I’ve helped myself.
I’ve spent 13 years of my life being ill and not knowing HOW to help myself, but at the beginning of this year I found out that what’s “wrong with me” is IBS and chronic fatigue, so slowly I’ve been working out which bits of advice will work for me, and how I can get better. But I keep stopping because I get scared. Being ill is all I’ve known since I was 7, so what if it’s not my illness that’s stopping me, what if I’m just rubbish?
I can’t really remember not being ill, and although I’ve managed to get good grades and all I’ve achieved has been while ill, I still doubt my abilities all the time, and worry that I’m not good enough. Since I’ve been basically a recluse for so many years, I can no longer really gauge what’s socially acceptable, so I then start to doubt ALL my views and beliefs, not being able to relate them to other people.
I largely have never really cared about what’s “normal”, and have always questioned everything to death - eg. even the simplest of “socially accepted” things like kissing people on the cheek to say “hello” (because what does that even achieve? I find it really uncomfortable but my mum tells me off for continuing to offer my head to kiss despite being 20 years old and nearly 6ft tall)! So on one hand I’m like
but on the other
Because I’m constantly analysing people’s reactions and second-guessing what they’ll think/say, in fear of anyone judging me. I’ve been trapped in my own head for so long, not used to people, and when I was around people they didn’t believe me that I was ill, no-one understood, so I assume everyone’s going to be thinking I’m lazy and stupid and making assumptions about me.
Most of the time I know that I AM worth the effort, that it IS worth working for - I just received this from arcadiaego re this, which has made me feel considerably better about Doctor Who and those specific worries, as it helps me understand that other people are like this too! ♥ - but BECAUSE I constantly need reassurances like this for every. single. thing. I worry about, I need to distance myself from rambling and discussing and putting myself in the line of fire where I can be judged (well, what *I* perceive and fear to be judging). I need to stop over-thinking everything and just be creative and active in simple ways in order to get happy and healthy. Then I can get to “saving the world” with my writing!
I’ve actually kept thinking about this Andrew quote these past few months, as I’ve found myself relating to people like Jennifer Lawrence who enjoys being active, and I was trying to understand it. I’ve spent so long being scared of exercise because that meant P.E. in school, where I was too exhausted and sick to do it, but no-one understood my illness, so thought I was just lazy. So right up until recently I equated exercise with feeling ashamed, worthless and misunderstood.
I’ve always enjoyed sports when I can go at my own pace (eg. tennis, badminton, the CV room, swimming - when I’m in the pool I’m fast, but am embarrassed of my body when I have to get in/out/changed - and I played netball because I was tall and could be goal keeper where I could have a rest while they played in the middle!) but I’d always thought of thinking as being the most important thing, and exercise having nothing to do with me really. Exercise was the enemy; I’m not an “active” person; I’m a thinker. Not in a pretentious way, just in that I mostly prefer “indoors” life to “outdoors”.
But - and this video explains it very well (and is very brilliant - hugely recommend all Rosianna's videos) - exercise and creativity are intrinsically linked. Body and mind work as one! Your brain is part of your body and you need to keep your body active for your mind to be active!
I feel like we aren’t educated enough in this, or there’s too much emphasis on competitiveness in sport, and not enough on health, and understanding.
So I’ve decided that yes, definitely focus on being active - this is a thing that I can be!
But what other changes? How much has thinking taken over my life?
“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors." - Andrew Boyd
And I can’t get to a place where I have that balance while I’m still ill. I get overwhelmed and can’t deal with it all because I have so many worries piled on top of me all at once.
I am a perfectionist, and need to do everything to the best of my ability, but because I’m ill I work slower and concentrating takes so much energy out of me.. and this is how I got chronic fatigue! Stress -> adrenalin -> doesn’t stop -> body can’t cope.
With all this perfectionism, Tumblr takes up a LOT of my time and a LOT of my energy! I even have to post things in a specific order, relating each post to each other, finding relationships and parallels between different characters/shows/quotes etc.
I still want to come on Tumblr, but I’ve decided to not take part TOO MUCH. Not until I’m healthier.
It’s important to think about and discuss things, and I always feel like I NEED to be improving my mind, and learning, and trying to UNDERSTAND everything.. but I have to focus on me now and only me, and when I’m better then I can move on to the next chapter.
Because I realised a few weeks ago that it’s okay to have a period in my life where I’m not doing what I HAVE to do. Where I’m not working on my writing and trying to help people - all those responsibilities and pressure I was putting on myself was making me MORE ill. As I said, putting pressure on myself to be perfect is how I got chronic fatigue in the first place! I need to just relax into doing things I enjoy, and not feeling responsible for the world’s problems and trying to help everybody. Because how can I expect myself to help others with the same problems and more if I can’t even answer how to end this chapter of illness and depression in my own life?
I need to give myself time, and be kind to myself.
Do graded exercise to build up my strength - one “active thing” a day - I’ve managed to do 3 minutes on our cross-trainer every day when I can (we’re not fancy, the machine’s just in my parents’ room like in 21 Jump Street!), or go for a walk, or just go into town shopping or something! Just something to ~get the blood pumping, and I can slowly build up the amount I do. But because of my chronic fatigue I have to start slow.
My main priority is building up my strength, but also I’ll try to pick up my old favourite things to do - drawing, knitting etc. - things I haven’t really done since school because I haven’t had the energy or felt like I could. Creative things that aren’t too emotionally or mentally demanding.
I just have to work at this, and focus on getting better - slowly but surely, with patience.
I don’t really know how to finish this now, but I do want to add one more thing!
I actually wrote a version of this post that took me hours and I was really proud of it and pressed post, but Tumblr ate it! So I cried and went to Mum again (this time as she was in bed about to go to sleep that NIGHT!) and she made me feel better, and my sister came in too and sang Blazin Squad and if you’ve seen the show Adventure Time, she is basically that show/Jake in human form. And she always cheers me up.
Even if I never know whether she’s going to be like this
Or - more likely - like this
at any given time
But back to the matter at hand, Mum said that losing my long reply that I was really proud of and spent loads of time on just shows how it’s going to be a tough journey full of little knocks, but I’m strong enough to get through it. And I’ll probably write a better post now that I already know what I’m going to say.
And I have! I’ve added so much more detail, and altered the order, and really made sense of it, discovered more of what I meant.. I’m so proud of it!
It sounds silly but… have you read this post?! Perfectionist with strange view of the world! Also I want to be a writer so I like getting things all in the right order and making things make sense.
So it makes sense to me.. hopefully it makes sense to others!?
It’s okay if it doesn’t though, because this will be very important for me to come back to, to understand how I feel/felt at this moment. For when I struggle, for when I succeed, for any time. I like to look back and learn.
I don’t know if that’s entirely relevant but I really love that quote and Adventure Time is tha bomb!!
Just wanted to say that.
All of that.