After a week which seemed cursed for everything to go wrong, at a time when I need to step up challenging L, suddenly everything comes crashing down. On Saturday night, a cold or flu starts. It gets worse through Sunday. But I keep on thinking, just one more week to go. This morning, I get up. Except I can’t. A trip to the bathroom shows me I need to get back to bed. My legs feel as if they will give way under me. Everything hurts and even lying down makes me feel tired to the point of tears. L brings me breakfast – she is here on her day at home. I reflect on the irony of my anorexic daughter bringing me a yogurt. I send some emails, the effort of constructing a sentence is impossible. It is as if everything is shutting down.
I call the doctor and arrange to see them today. C takes me. He asks me what the problem is and I tell him. I start with the viral infection, describe the recent infections which seem to have got worse and worse each time, take him through the battle with anorexia and my own depression, the recent problems at work and the ongoing pressure of juggling it all. He looks genuinely shocked. He asks me the expected questions, but I can see he doesn’t need to, although he does seem concerned to establish whether I am a suicide risk. I smile and tell him that in no circumstances is that a risk, how my children need me, but it is true that I want to sleep for ever and ever, to be able to make a simple decision and for everything not to hurt as much as it does. He tells me something has to go, that he can’t give me any magic pills but he can tell me that I need time off work now in order to avoid being even iller later. I can’t argue and I know he’s right.
Later, a lovely friend and colleague calls in to see me with flowers. I get out of bed, somewhat reluctantly, but actually it is nice to get up and talk. K comes and talks to us. She asks what is wrong with me. I tell her I am broken. It is meant to be a joke, but it is what I think. I tell her like J’s computer, when it is full of viruses, when it stops running quickly and then crashes. Because that is what it feels like.
But this isn’t a post about being broken or giving up. It is about making the decision to get better and realising that you can get stronger by doing less and trying not to do everything.