Nothing mentioned, nothing gained

Awkward Transition: Getting Better – But Am I Better Enough?

Dear diary,

Today’s a mixed day. I’m getting better, and this gives me a lot of hope, but I just don’t know if I’m better enough, and if I’m not, how long will it take?

I weighed myself a few days ago. I weighed myself again yesterday, and again this morning just to make sure. I’ve really have lost about 1.5 kilograms! 🙂 This isn’t much against what I need to lose to get back to what I used to be, but the dietician told me I’d be lucky to lose any at all – I’m on so much insulin now I’d be far more likely to gain weight. I tried very hard, but without much hope, and I’m ridiculously proud. The temptation to post all over facebook, text everyone in my phonebook and shout out to everyone I meet going “Look! I’ve lost weight!” is embarrassingly acute and I’ve had to be very strict with myself in order to stop myself jumping back on the scales every few minutes just to make sure. I feel more determined now because I’ve started to get improvements I can see and feel. Glucose readings are numbers on a page and when you stop getting the terrifying 23’s, it’s hard to keep using them as motivation. But after a very difficult few weeks I feel lighter, and fitter. I went for a run yesterday and actually enjoyed it rather than feeling like I was being tortured. I’m getting my waist back, and I’m starting to feel more like my body is mine again.

I feel better, but am I better enough? After weeks of insomnia, I’m now sleeping too much. I’m getting up around midday, and a lot of things that I want to do aren’t getting done. When this indefinite sick leave started, all that mattered was getting better, and if not getting anything done and sleeping in were part of that, it didn’t matter. Now, I feel better, and I’m trying to get myself back into a kind of practice work mode, where I get up at a reasonable time to get stuff done, and I can’t, and that makes me angry with myself. In some ways, things were easier when I was sicker. I don’t know if I’m not getting out of bed early because I still have some recovering to do, or because I’ve gotten lazy. I wonder if we all have a finite level of discipline in us, and, if we can only really have one area of our lives that we give most of our discipline to. I know I can be very disciplined, because that’s how I used to be to keep work, writing, and HeadSpace all going strong. But there was no discipline then in my lifestyle, and now that I am looking after myself, I just can’t believe that I could ever have been so stupid! Seriously, for someone with both my level of education and who had been diabetic all her life to think that working all day, then getting a takeaway, a 2L bottle of full-sugar coke and a massive box of cakes in the evening and use that to try and get through whole nights where I tried to work for two hours, sleep for one, then work for another two, is so bloody daft I’m surprised no one had be sectioned. But now that all of my discipline is going on my health, and it’s paying off there, is there any left for work? I’ve been trying to write my thesis over the last few days but I just can’t concentrate. This is what scares me, that ultimately one will have to bend to the other because I can’t do both. Both diabetes and doctorates break before they bend.

But what really frustrates me is that I had to sacrifice my independence for my health, and now I want it back. When I moved back into my parents’ house, my health was so bad I was scared to live on my own, or with sourced flatmates who wouldn’t care, probably wouldn’t even notice, if I didn’t wake up one morning. I needed my parents there because they’d know what to do in an emergency. And I was so worn out from trying and failing to fix myself all the time and from trying to keep a smile painted on over that stress that things like managing money, upkeeping my own place and cooking dinner just seemed impossible. Now I really miss all of those things. I’m trying to tell myself that this building-up frustration is a good sign, the fact that I want back the things I couldn’t cope with before is a sign I’ve got to be recovering. But that doesn’t blunt the frustration, not really.

The isolation of being back in Laois when I’ve established a life in Dublin wasn’t even relevant initially. When all you can do is try to get better, and that takes all of your time and energy, it doesn’t matter if there’s no one to see and nowhere to go because you can’t. On my first week of sick leave I left the house once to go to a Dublin Writers Forum meeting in Dublin. I almost collapsed at that meeting and was so exhausted that I spent most of the next day in bed. Now I want to get out and go places, but there isn’t anywhere to go. I miss the Monday Echo, and the Attic Studio, and all the casual coffees and pints I used to have with friends in Dublin. Now if I go to Dublin I have to find someone to stay with. And I just feel – “I’m too old.” I’m too old to be cadging favours to sleep on floors and couches and worry that I’m starting to take the piss with family and friends “Can I stay at yours – again?” I’m too old to have to text somebody if I stay out later than planned. I’m too old and I’ve worked too fucking hard all my life to be back at my parents house at this point in my life, as dependent on them as when I was fifteen.

Over the next few days I have to decide if I’m going to go back to work next week, or leave it until after Christmas. It feels like it’s time to get out of the house and to start easing back into life. But I need to think, seriously – does being well enough to be frustrated that I’m not living life to the full really equate to being well enough that I’m able to? Gut feeling tells me that I’m almost, but not quite there – that I’m in a horribly awkward transition where I’m well enough to want to live again, but not well enough to do it all the time. But at least, things are going in the right direction, and that’s something to both be proud of and grateful for.

A finger prick blood test used by diabetics to test the levels of sugar in their blood are at the right level. I do a minimum of four a day.

A finger prick blood test used by diabetics to test the levels of sugar in their blood are at the right level. I do a minimum of four a day.


One comment on “Awkward Transition: Getting Better – But Am I Better Enough?

  1. Pingback: Treating Panic (Hypoglycaemia) | Nothing mentioned, nothing gained

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