The problem with having an invisible illness is that when you look ok people think you are. This is the third ‘invisible’ illness I have suffered since moving to Switzerland, two sets of broken ribs and a head injury, so I know what I am talking about. I am sure this is the way people with cancer feel, as well as people like me who have suffered brain injuries. So in public you give everything you have to appear fit and healthy. It has it’s downsides; people start to forget that you aren’t 100%, especially if you don’t physically look sick, then they question, and judge the help you may still be needing. This is what has happened to me this week. People at work are questioning why I still need to be part time; I am now up to 80%. I can understand it. When I am at work I give everything I have, so I may appear my usual self. What they don’t realise is that I give everything during that 80% because 1) I feel guilty about not being there full time, and 2) I have to just to cope to staying on top of it all. As a result I have nothing left for me when I get home. I don’t take a coffee break, I work every minute I am there because I know I won’t be able to do anything when I get home. I have to think about organising work for the classes I don’t teach, which is increasingly difficult as the people who cover me don’t leave me any feedback to plan off. No-one sees that I have to spend all my afternoons and evenings in bed or on the sofa. If the day has been particularly busy then I often haven’t the energy to even cook myself an evening meal, so will often go without. It just compounds the frustration I feel. Living alone makes it harder at times, because I have no-one to share this with, no-one to help do the day-to-day chores that have to be done; I am ashamed to admit that my apartment hasn’t been cleaned properly since I had the accident. My boss told me that everyone feels tired at times and we just need to push through the feeling, then we realise we weren’t tired after all. I tried to explain to him that what I have isn’t lethargy, but exhaustion, that I understand the difference and am not just being lazy. I’m sure it’s the same feeling new mothers have when they have had night after night of no real sleep. Their brains are all fuddled and they can’t think straight. The difference here being is that I have slept, often 15/16 hours in a 24 hour period. It’s hard to explain to people who have never experienced it, and quite frankly I’ve decided to give up trying.
Today the sun is shining here in Switzerland, the crazy wind we had yesterday disappeared as fast as it appeared and we’ve been left with branches all over the place. A general sense of calm has descended and after dealing with the crap of this week I want to take advantage of it. It’s far too beautiful a day to stay indoors and I can never see the point of going for a walk by yourself without a dog. So I’ve dusted off the trainers, dug out the running tights and decided I’m going to give running a go. I know my fitness levels have plummeted, which is to be expected considering everything, but I have high expectations of myself. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am very competitive especially with myself. So despite knowing that this is the start of a long journey, I will probably push myself as hard as I can go, just don’t tell my doctor, I can’t help it!….
…..So back from the run and it was ‘enjoyable’ to a point, but it certainly wasn’t pretty! I was determined not to look at the watch as I went round and just run it. My legs felt like lead, by heart felt like it was going to explode, but I was determined no matter how slowly, I was going to get around without stopping (probably not the most sensible goal!) By the end I don’t think I could have taken one more step, my eyes and nose was streaming and I was completely hanging out of my arse, but I did it. You might be thinking how far did she go? Sounds like she ran a marathon – haha it felt like it but it was only 3.2 miles, just over 5K in new money, but it’s start. It has proven to me that I am getting better and that exercise is now not out of my grasp. I now have a bench mark to work against. The true test will be how I feel over the next few days. In the past when I have tried to do exercise I have felt ok directly after it, but then been absolutely exhausted for a few days after. Fingers crossed that all goes ok this time, which will signal to me that I can start getting back into a routine and build my fitness levels back up again. The months are going by quickly and I have paid to enter some big sportives this summer, so I need to get fit.
Doing a little analysis of the run (I just can’t help myself!) and I am actually quite chuffed with myself. I may not be a spring chicken anymore and be approaching a rather mean 0 birthday this year, but I’m pleased with that time. It was not half as bad as I thought it was going to be. Below 10 minute miles, with the first mile nearly being sub-9. Far play, I couldn’t have run much further, but that’ll come, that’ll come.