Ra! Ra! as the posh people say.
Today I had energy enough to avoid working the afternoon through a brain=gof (oops! that should be brain-fog so perhaps I spoke too soon) and fall into bed as soon as I got in the door. This makes a pleasant change and one which I appreciate and certainly don’t take for granted.
Without realising it at the time, last week was very stressful for me. And here is where I get frustrated most. I have worked in a tax team for more years than I care to mention and I have taken necessary tasks like billing clients, people management (appraisals and goal-setting), management meetings, and doing my day-job in my stride. So why now do I, subconsciously, find it all so difficult to cope with when they all come along at once? It’s stress Caroline but not as you know it.
One of my strengths has always been my ruthless organisation and multi-tasking skills. I have always played these down as being normal attributes for someone in my position, but I am realising now that actually, I was pretty good at this. Sadly now however I am Mrs Average. I haven’t lost the skill, I’m pretty sure that it still lurks within me, but at the moment it is impaired by the lack of energy, poor concentration and focus, and ability to separate the necessary from the “nice-to-have.”
I am determined to see this through and come to some sort of compromise whereby I can fulfill my potential without crippling myself with fatigue in the process. I must be a slow learner on this score which is why I am so reliant on Doc Fraser keeping me on the straight and narrow. I am so lucky to have access to Doc Fraser’s vast knowledge and experience in advising those with ME and chronic fatigue syndrome and he is full of suggestions and practical solutions to help me recover.
My next appointment with him is tomorrow and I am looking forward to sitting down for 40 minutes with someone who listens, understands and provides the necessary advice in the nicest way possible. (It’s not everyone who can ask me to lose weight without incurring an indignant response!)
I should keep an energy diary. By keeping a mood diary I was able to identify patterns in mood-changes and reasons for them so perhaps I can do the same for energy highs and lows. Mmmm….I saw a lovely 2014 diary in Paperchase which would be ideal.
There are always compensations!
How lucky am I?
After a weekend of enforced R&R (rest & recuperation) I returned to work today to face another week of impending deadlines. I actually thrive on deadlines but physically, I now find that any kind of stress is difficult to deal with either consciously or sub-consciously. This can lead to a relapse (or “crash”) as it did at the weekend.
I had lunch with my Senior Manager and explained what had happened. His first reaction was how could he/the team help during our busiest time of the year knowing that I am unable to do overtime or work at weekends as I have done in the past. In fact, one year I ended up leading a project and worked 98 hour weeks (not good in the long term as I was very ill).
I had a few ideas and we talked it through. This sounds easy enough but it represents a real watershed in my accepting this illness and accepting that I can ask for help when I need it. I am not used to this. I am used to being the strong one, finishing my work ahead of schedule and helping others finish theirs so conceding that someone else can help me with my responsibilities is alien territory.
I don’t like asking for help but when I thought about it, I feel more a part of a team by doing so. I would help others, and not accepting help myself seems rather churlish and stand-offish. We are a team. We help each other and I will be eternally grateful for this support. It feels strange but in many ways it feels right. I trust my team to help and I hope they respect the reasons why it is necessary this year.
Of course I hope that this time next year I will be able to fully support myself and my workload, but until such time I will accept help graciously and keep buying tins of chocolates to keep us all going!
Thank you to all the IES team!
Everything I have read about CFS/M.E includes the advice “don’t fight the fatigue.” That’s assuming you have a choice.
This weekend, I had no choice, and I have spent many many hours in bed asleep or just too exhausted to move. It’s a while since I felt this lifeless but looking back over the last few weeks, I suspect this is a classic case of delayed fatigue after some exciting and stressful events and increasing pressure at work during our busy time of year.
To summarise, I had 11 hours of sleep on Friday night. I followed this with a 4-hour “power-nap” on Saturday afternoon, 14 hours sleep last night and 3 hours of “rest” today. I have no desire to do any craft work, to cut pieces of material ready for my daily commute quilt or even read a book. I am totally drained and my mood has plummeted. I wish I knew what really causes these relapses as I have been trying really hard to avoid over-stretching myself apparently to no avail.
Luckily I see Doc Fraser on Thursday and will be able to chat over the last few weeks with him and try to get back on track to recovery. Perhaps this is a one-off strong reaction; perhaps I still have the cough/sore throat virus lingering longer and outstaying its welcome. Whatever it is I don’t like it so in addition to increasing my rest periods, I will be a lot more diligent about eating more healthily and avoiding unnecessary activity and sadly this will have to include the Christmas parties. I can’t stay out late in town worrying about catching the last train home and still turn up for work early next morning. It’s too much when it takes me 4 hours a day to travel to and from work.
Alcohol is not conducive to recovery from CFS/M.E and it’s no fun being out with a crowd who are gradually getting merrier when you are the only sober one there!
So I will continue with my normal daily routine up to Christmas and into the New Year. I have some wonderful things to look forward to in 2014 and I want to be in the best health I can be to enjoy them.
My niece Pippa is marrying her fiance Dan next April and the invitation landed on my doormat yesterday firing up my excitement again.
I designed the invites for them and during the summer holidays cut out the shapes and toppers, stamped and hand-painted the birdcage images (100) and then transported everything down to my sisters house so we could all sit together around the kitchen table and put them together.
It was a lovely sunny day in August and one of Pippa’s bridesmaids, Nicola also came across for the day to help out-it was girly heaven! Pippa provided the jelly beans and Nicola the raspberry lemonade. Big Sis provided the lunch and her husband the entertainment as always!
Pippa’s twin brother Paul designed the inserts so it turned out to be a real family joint-effort. It was good fun and made it all the more special because we had done it ourselves.
I am now back to thinking about more pages for their wedding scrapbook which I have already started and have spent an hour or two (and some pennies) on some gorgeous Kaisercraft papers. I can’t post any pictures of the pages yet, you will have to wait until well into 2014 when I get the photos of the day but there is nothing to stop me preparing the pages ready to slip in the pictures when available.
I am also extremely honoured and proud to say that Pippa has also asked me to read a passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin at the ceremony. It is a beautiful reading taken from one of our favourite books of all time. I just hope that I do it justice.
Exciting times and something to look forward to over the winter months.