Monday, 17 October 2016

Biting the bullet

My name is Anna Jones, I am not yet 28 years old, and I have just applied to have an Adult Social Care Assessment. 

This is quite far away from how I imaged life would be. Just 10 years I was winning awards for 'sporting prowess' at school. I'd been netball captain for 7 years, won nearly every event I entered into on Sports Day, was put in for every sports team going even if I'd never played it before. 

I got my first job at 15 and worked several different part-time jobs right up until my health suddenly disappeared aged 21.

When I was at university I could pull an all-nighter with the best of them; going out with friends and coming home in the early hours to finish the essay that was due that day. 

Now I cannot prepare meals, fold washing, or even shower everyday. I cannot always get out to collect my prescription or simply to get a blast of fresh air. I cannot unload the dishwasher or hang up the washing. I cannot do these things and so Mr Tree Surgeon has to do them when he gets home from sometimes an 11 hour day or climbing up and down several trees in the pouring rain. Last month he started a new course to gain a new, exciting qualification. He will be busier than ever for the next 12 months. My mum comes round to help me when she can as it is, but I want her to be able to be my mum, and not my cleaner. I want Mr Tree Surgeon to be my boyfriend, and not my carer. A lovely friend of mine has offered to pick up the slack until I have sorted out some proper help. She is coming over again this week to unload the food delivery and prepare a meal. It feels so strange that I, Anna Jones, need such assistance. 

Today I used what little, precious energy I have to ring up the local council and ask for help.

The woman on the phone was so lovely. She was sympathetic and that seemed to break my heart even more; that my situation is worthy of sympathy. She has opened a record file for me and the social care team will be in touch to come out and see what help I need.

To have to list off the things I struggle with, and to look so closely at, and think so hard about each and every symptom and how they make my life as hard as it hurts my heart.

I know I need this help but that fact alone crushes me. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Getting over myself

I have banned myself from doing any housework, even though each little bit I managed was cause for celebration. A couple of weeks ago I had an almighty panic attack out of the blue, as you may have read in Outpouring.

Since moving out of my parents care I have been piling the pressure on myself to do x, y, & z. When I had the energy I would spend it on unloading the dishwasher or putting on a load of washing. I'd even try to hang it out when it was done. 

So I am sucking it up and taking a step back. I've accepted help where it has been offered and I am so lucky and grateful that I have people in my life who will do whatever they can to lighten my load. And all without thinking anything of it. 

My energy is so, so precious and I have been wasting it on having a clean and tidy home. Even with the help of my mum popping by to whizz the hoover round, I have been taking on too much. 

It is quite hard to step back because I have actually enjoyed being able to do things around the house. It's something I wasn't well enough to do for such a long time and the feeling of being useful should not be underestimated. Changing the bed, for example, was something I hadn't been able to do for years and so I loved that my arms were strong enough again to do something as ordinary and mundane as put fresh sheets on my own bed! By myself!!! 

Yet I wasn't leaving enough of my precious energy to do lovely things. There has been no sewing, very little reading, hardly any socialising, and my little driving adventures have completely stopped. I seemed to think I should be doing it all and although I wasn't forcing myself to do these things around the house, I was definitely putting pressure on myself to use my energy in that particular way. I am not Wonder Woman. I am still very ill. Just because I've been well enough to leave home doesn't need I can run my own house in the way I'd thought I would be able to. And that's perfectly fine.

Asking for, or accepting help, is all a part of coming to terms with the limitations of my life with a health condition as severe as this one. Accepting M.E. is vital to move forward and live but my goodness is it hard. It is a process that comes and goes. It is not a constant. 

I don't need a Carer as such. More a helper who can hang up washing, put my clean clothes away for me, do the online weekly shop. 

I have the luxury of having people in my life who will come and take the slack. I just have to be brave enough to let them do that and learn to let go of the guilt. 

I can't tell you how hard that is. 

Monday, 3 October 2016

Away Days

I have been fortunate enough (or perhaps foolish, when you think of how exhausting my body finds being out of its comfort zone) to have had a few little holidays crammed into the last few months. 

I don't need to be told how lucky I am to have been able to manage such a mean feat. Nothing gets my back up quite like someone else pointing out how lucky another person should feel. No-one truly knows how lucky another is. Anyway, yet again I digress. 

As so many of my poorly pals have not had the pleasure or opportunity to see the sea in quite some time I wanted to share some of my holiday photos with them, via the blog. So here they are.

Cromer and Heacham, Norfolk
A few days away with my family

Ashbourne, Derbyshire
A few days away with Mr Tree Surgeon's family

Barnsdale, Rutland
A few days away, only 10 minutes from home, overlooking Rutland Water.

This is always a rather reflective week for me. The first time we came here in 2011 I was incredibly poorly. I say under a blanket unable to do anything more than 'just be' for the entire week. 
This year I have made it to the onsite bar for coffee already!