The anniversary waltz

Really difficult week, feels as though I’ve been underwater most of the week with no breathing apparatus. Just desperately coming up for air only to be sunk by another wave. Tempting to simply give up but the survival instinct strong, even when just breathing takes so much effort. Bump into someone I know on a clear, cold sunny day.’What a joy to be alive!’ he says. I manage to nod, but don’t feel it at all.

Then during the week realised that it’s pretty much exactly a year since I was first taken seriously ill. When life changed completely – I went from having a normal life to having my old life stripped away and now I’m living just a pale shadow of a real life. The losses of work, family home, life with Mum, mobility, etc have had a cumulative knock on effect which overwhelms me at times. Life these days seems pretty meaningless.

Air comes with friends who keep me going, texts and calls and I make sure I see someone every day to try and reconnect with reality. Any connection feels like an essential flicker of the old life. More air comes with simple survival strategies – reading, getting outside, doing crosswords, shopping, anything that gets me out of the being underwater mindset.

I get through the week a minute at a time, but I get through it. Grateful to the people I can be completely open with at how very difficult life is. Being really seen and heard as I try to put it into words. Just listening without trying to fix me. This can’t be fixed, it just has to be lived through, somehow.

And then the unexpected joys – dinner with some good friends whose teenage son tries to convince us we should all be Marxists. Delight in the enthusiasms of youth. Dinner with new friends, good to be getting to know them and talking about all sorts of things that are not to do with my illness. Cinema with a good pal, film turns out to be grim and we emerge thinking our lives are not that grim. Goddaughter brings a box of Halloween biscuits she and her boyfriend have made and iced.

Feels good to be back swimming on the surface breathing normally again.




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