It’s really hard to ask for help and really hard to stop. Really, really hard. Especially if you are the sort of person who keeps a lot of plates spinning usually, and likes being someone who can be relied upon. It’s humbling to let each plate stop spinning, wobble and drop and to just sit still.
One of the Bible verses that seems so simple but is so difficult, I’m discovering, is “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Trusting that he is in control of all of this, of my health, of my mind, of my job, of COVID, of everything, and to just rest. To be okay with everything stopping. To not worry about what anyone else thinks. To just be and not do, as a friend said to me this morning.
I wondered what was going on with my emotions, the first two weeks of my break. I went from crying all the time out of stress and anxiety to feeling completely numb. No tears. Nothing. Just a blank, white fog. Now I’m into week three of my break and I’m not crying like before but emotions are starting to feel more raw and identifiable. It’s kind of a relief that they’re still there, but also now I have to work out what to do with them.
Every time I start to feel like I’m going okay, I’ll be reminded that no, you’ve still got a way to go. I am still pretty much able to only do one planned thing per day, with plenty of lying down time on either side. When I do too much, I pay for it. Spoon theory at its finest, though I think I was so far in spoon deficit by the time it all fell apart that it’s going to take a while to get my spoons back in order. [if you don’t know what I’m talking about, read the original Spoon theory post by Christine Miserando or here’s an infographic version if that’s easier to process]
I led music at church the first week we were all back together in person (a couple of Sundays ago) and it was wonderful to sing communally, to feel the energy of people, to be up the front, to feel like I was doing this thing well. And then I went home and slept for the rest of the day and night. Mum said as soon as I got in the car to go home, it was like a mask slipping off. I hadn’t thought I was doing that, but yep, that was my Functional Face, and I managed to maintain it for about 90 minutes.
Life admin is difficult. Well, more difficult than usual. I get relatively minor emails asking me to do something and it sends me into an anxious tailspin. Or I have to deal with Centrelink and it takes all my concentration to sort out a simple thing. Or I just sit in my pyjamas for hours because contemplating all the steps I need to do to start the day like I normally would [have a shower and wash my hair, put in my contacts, brush my teeth, put on moisturiser, put on clean clothes, dry my hair] may as well be like telling me to prepare to climb Everest.
And asking for help is a continual thing and it sucks! Well that’s the little kid response, I guess, of wanting things to just be looked after for me and to abrogate myself of all responsibility. And I’m lucky to live with someone who really loves me and has my best at heart. But ultimately I’m the only one who really knows how I am. I’m the only one who really can advocate for myself or say what I want. And at this point I still don’t know what I want, apart from just wanting this heaviness to go away and to feel light and capable and cheerful and excited and hopeful.
Here are some things I’m grateful for, just so we don’t end this post on that incredibly bleak note:
- that God’s got it under control even if I don’t
- my mum and our friendship
- getting time off with virtually no fuss
- getting sickness benefits from the government also with minimal fuss
- that I get a little bit of that Jobseeker bonus before it is phased out!
- having a GP who understands
- being able to do some fun things like go horse riding or do some baking or play cards with people
- having an extremely comfortable bed