Fifteen on Friday (2): The Battle Within

About this time last year, I published a short blog post which still makes me smile, about the conflict I have between two different parts of me, the ‘awake’ part, and the ‘sleepy’ part. They often fight each other, leaving me in the middle, feeling dazed, exhausted, and in varying degrees of pain. This affects at least part of every day, if not whole days, maybe whole weeks, and at times, weeks at a time.

This fight has been responsible for many of the absences from writing this year, as even if I am just about awake my ability to think clearly, process information, or form what I want to write or speak is markedly slower and much more frustrating. Countless posts have been begun and lost this way, or even begun in my head before sleep takes over. When I wake, only fragments are left, if I remember what I wanted to write. It’s hard to even begin to explain my frustration or the effect these things have on my life or even all the ways it affects me. Medication, stress, current pain, spasms and disrupted sleep all play a part. A therapist once argued that I don’t have ‘fatigue’ as such, it is merely effects of underlying factors such as pain, and medication side effects coupled with the huge effort it takes me to do anything. I beg to differ, given the devastating effect it can have on my life; but I digress.

Though very rare, sometimes I win the battle. This week I managed to get to church, and stay for the buffet lunch, catching up with several friends I have not managed to communicate with for weeks. Monday was another much-loved hydrotherapy session, and Tuesday, Christmas eve, brought welcome rest. I did have plans, but by this time, pain from all the exertion had taken over and I could battle no longer, being put to bed, and asleep by 8pm. Wednesday, Christmas day, dawned bright, clear and sunny. This special day involved a lift to church and a trip to Social Enterprise, for Christmas dinner, presents and games. In part, I am there because I am on my own, but I am also there as a befriender and listener to those for whom Christmas day brings back untold painful memories and heartache. I had the privilege of listening to/ talking with several people. It is this kind of ‘work’ which makes me feel very alive, and causes me to feel ‘good’ tired, or tired for very good reasons, reasons of my choosing, and not for fatigue. I played Wii games too which I love. I can be competitive and have a fighting spirit in in the extreme; part of what allows me to accomplish anything I do manage, and helps me to persevere through the tired, painful times.

Thursday brought Brunch out with lovely friends, though by this time the fatigue was definately winning. Once home, I had several hour long naps and never really woke up, sleeping brokenly overnight in-between spasms and pain, and causing me to feel apprehensive about another day on the go. This time, to meet up with family for a meal. I loved it, though felt I was much quieter than I can often be. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I resent it because anything I did try to say was an effort and not feeling that well spoilt it a little, though I enjoyed it inspite of everything. Once home, I spent some time with my family before they left early to try to beat the bad weather home. Since then I have drifted in and out of naps, falling into deep dreamless sleep for an hour at a time after supper too. I guess it is good in part as it has allowed me to write this… though frustrating, as I think of all the things outstanding which have been sat these weeks, writing included. In an attempt to focus on the positive things, once I finish writing, I will be very glad I managed it… though I hope for many more times in this coming year in which I, accompanied by Jesus, win this very frustrating of battles.

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