If it makes you happy..(& the trouble with Pacing)

‘If it makes you happy/It can’t be that bad/If it makes you happy/Then why the hell are you so sad’ sang Sheryl Crow way back in ’96 (wearing an excellent leopard print jacket, gold skirt combo). And while I’m not ‘so sad’- those lyrics, well, they’re just a little bit fitting. Here’s why.

When I fell ill, I had no choice. Each day was bed, bed or thrillingly – bed. I couldn’t sit up straight, get down the stairs or lift a glass. My ME was so limiting, that it made my daily decisions for me.

Now as my strength seems to gradually increase (scary to write – touching ALL the wood right now) I’m faced with tricky decisions. Namely; how much do you do on a ‘good’ day?

To avoid all guns blazing one week and involuntary log rolling down the stairs the next, I’ve learnt about Pacing. The idea is to create a gradual, day by day, week by week increase in activity.

Aware that that sounds leisurely and divine. And some days, when it’s just me, Phil and Holly (ITV This Morning reference for anyone unfortunate enough to not know the ins and outs of daytime TV), heck it is. With the added ‘hangover’ feeling I could almost be back at Uni, spending the day oh so wisely.

But gosh it’s a pain, that constant analysis of the smallest of decisions.

Get carried away on Monday and it means blurred vision, splitting headaches and muscle flaming pain (probably a more medical term for this, but that’s how it feels) by Wednesday. The simple, every day tasks things that make me so happy? They’re the very things that a few days later morph into a feeling “so sad”. You see? Thanks Shezza you lyrical babe.

It’s like having the most fun, wild night of drinking; so great at the time, but the hangover is inevitable. Apart from I’m not drinking – I’m just living.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing better than now having the freedom to set off on a little meander. Or to carry my washing to the machine (all the thrills). Or to make breakfast in the morn. Yep, basic tasks, but not to be underestimated. I know only how lucky I am that I have got to this point. I know it’s not the case for all.

But the point is this; ME is sneaking its way into my every daily decision.

I want to be feeling upbeat and jazzy. And if part of this battle is keeping positive, keeping serotonin levels high, surely you want to spend as much time doing the things that helps you to feel great?

So do you boost morale and use that spark of energy? Or do you keep onto that good day a little longer and hold back?

It’s probably about balance. And patience. And to be honest, very, very lucky me that I can spend some of that energy fitting in some of my fav things. So many other others will have to choice but to spend every remnant running a home, caring for kids, dealing with paperwork..

So back to that catchy little chorus. I know that Sheryl was referring to unrequited love. And as the girl that penned roughly 17 love letters (without response) the moment she turned 13, I get it. But with those lyrics, I’ve hopefully demonstrated this weird in-between.

And with that, well, frustrating there’s no concise way to end this. Apart from to say that yesterday I got on a train. Yes, an absolute real life 34 minute direct train, like an absolute lone wolf traveler. I might as well of been venturing into the Amazonian rain forest, such was my excitement. (Should probably mention that this was planned to the smallest detail – avoiding stairs, train swaps and cross commuters) And here I am now. Yesterday the journey played on my ‘word finding’ skills. And admittedly today I’m propped on a few pillows, with muscle cramps galore. But I’m stringing a few sentences together and typing it all out.

Some moments are confusingly brilliant.

Image: Spell Images

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