Firstly, a shout out to Franny at the Curious Professor Z, the creator of Bat Fit as a concept and the thread that binds us Bat Fitters together as a disparate group of alternatives trying to live healthier lives both mentally and physically. She’s super inspiring, smart and funny so check out her blog.
I’ve not posted a Bat Fit update for sometime. I’ve neither gained or lost weight but I have been aware I haven’t been living right. I felt out of control; in free fall; possibly even somewhat depressed. Then something clicked – not only was I having a 2 month kicking from seasonal allergies, I’d developed a reaction to one of the meds I was using to treat said allergies. I felt out of it, tweety birds floating around my head in an endless carousel while I sat in a snivelling heap and achieved nothing. Not one step forward towards my goals, just an overwhelming sense of helplessness and inertia.
I’m not sure I would have noticed the medicine correlation myself. Thankfully eagle eyed Husband Underfoot was on the case. I’ve taken this bunch of meds at this time of year for a very long time, and he’s not used to me descending into weeping madness for 8 weeks at a time. Every time I used the nasal spray I lost the plot. Given I used it 3 or 4 times a day as directed, I was basically cabbaged. In free fall.
Let me make one thing clear. My allergies don’t just ‘...make me sniffle a little‘, as many people assume. They overwhelm my whole body, giving a huge sense of lassitude and lacuna as well as the outwardly obvious symptoms. It’s the one time in my life I feel permanently angry and miserable, I have daily heavy nose bleeds and I live in constant fear of a full blown asthma attack. Usually the season lasts at this level for about 4 weeks, this year it was closer to 8. Given my reactions to other meds (painkillers, the steroids to treat asthma attacks and cough medicines in the main), I’m really wary of trying new types. I am also really sick of people telling me to pull myself together when I’m wading through mental and physical treacle.
So I find myself in August feeling physically shabby but mentally much more alert. I’m eschewing gym type exercise in favour of task based exercise, e.g. I spent Saturday painting the shack decking and pond clearing, and I’ve just spent 3 hours in the front garden beginning to reshape it and tame the wild overgrowth. Well, if I’m honest, an hour of that was spent chatting to my neighbours and a friend who happened to cycle past! I still need to paint my bathroom and the back yard is a wilderness, so there’s plenty to do that gets me moving. Other days I need to walk more.
I’d been doing ok with the writing and editing, and then the brain rot set in. I feel like such a dud. I’ve produced nothing of worth for weeks now. I have however become a research volunteer on a history project called Reflections of Newcastle at the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle – I get to run riot in the stacks mapping their World War 1 based stock, with a particular emphasis on changing consumerism in my home town. A group of us will then pull an e-book together and create a history trail around Newcastle, highlighting key buildings used in the area during the war. This links in beautifully with the subject matter for the novel and I’m getting to spend time in an institution that I love. I’ve had my induction, and on Wednesday I meet the full project team.
Later this month I’m at Leeds Festival with HU, my brother & his wife, which will be good fun but I suspect a bit exhausting. HU and Bro are basically reliving their youth…! SIL has never been to a 3 day outdoor festival before and I suspect this may be a bit of a culture shock! However, there is no camping – a nice hotel has been found (toilets & a hot shower are essential). The week after that I am off back to Scotland on retreat at the wonderful Moniack Mhor again, on a historical fiction course. I had such a wonderful time there last year, and I have some specific writing issues I’ve noted when developing the book that I want to discuss. Hopefully, this will get me all fired up and enthusiastic again… though as I have been told the word I need to adopt is ‘PERSEVERANCE!’.
Seriously, I’ve been pretty down for quite a while. I’m doing my best to stop the fall and I have wonderful support around me but sometimes the guilt overwhelms me. Guilt that I am so lucky to have my own space and time, a comfortable life and a lovely, supportive husband. Guilt that I then seem incapable of using that time in a productive manner. Anxiety and a tendency to rip my poor fingers apart when pushed out of my comfort zone. Worry about the older members of my family who are in poor health. That’s life. I need to deal with it better. Stop the worry, the insomnia and the nightmares. Hug the dog, hug the husband. Start reading again. Enjoy being a research spider, scampering about in dark corners of an antiquated library (they still have a card system, oh bliss! I love you Dewey Decimal).
Til next time, take care.