Finding the balance

From euphoria to excruciating pain, life can be difficult, but what do you do when your life hits these extremes regularly within hours of one another?

Following my first acupuncture appointment, I received many messages. Thank you. People actually read this stuff?!

When I wrote my last blog I was on that cloud labelled ‘Nine’. I explained how this treatment left me feeling the most amazing ever. It was amazing. Not for a long time have I felt as though I was in control of life in such a way as I was that afternoon. The following day, I ‘crashed’. What does that mean? Well, I was back to the feeling that I was about to collapse and die and spent a phenomenal amount of time saying my goodbyes to my family and speaking to my friends ‘for the final time’.

Am I being a bit OTT? Yes and no. Clearly I’ve not died, I’m writing this, but simultaneously, this is a feeling I’ve had before and it doesn’t look like it wants to go away anytime soon, popping up every so often. It certainly occurs less at the moment, but that moment where you actually think life is over, your heart will pack up, this is the last time you will see those you love, and you are dreading closing your eyes as you get into bed because you don’t know if you’ll wake up is very hard to comprehend.

The last time it happened this bad I even wrote a letter which still sits in my room, stating what needed to happen, who needed to be told what, and so on. It makes for very hard reading, and re-reading it now brings me close to tears. There were things I needed the family to cancel, but I’ve attended, people that needed to be thanked, who didn’t get thanked, but I thank more and more and appreciate more than before, but they’ll never truly know, and just things that get written about your life that you take for granted when you’re thundering along without taking time to think.

Reflecting the next day after the most recent ordeal, and being in touch with two friends who completely get it, I once more realised how silly a lot of this sounds, but I’m sorry, to me, it’s real. What’s so frustrating is that I don’t choose to be like this. I don’t think, ‘hey, what shall I do today? I know let’s spend an entire day (because that’s virtually what it was) feeling as though the next cough will see me six foot under’.

In these circumstances it can take a hell of a lot of willpower to return to some form of status quo. The next day, I was back at work, in the office early and trying the best I could to keep things steady. It worked to an extent, although my confidence was clearly knocked, and having people around me (not at work I hasten to add) who use those stupid phrases of ‘pull your socks up’, ‘you’ll get over it’, and ‘stop arsing about’ makes me sad. Not for me, for them, because it doesn’t matter how many times you can try and explain your life, for some, they just don’t seem to understand how hard it can be sometimes. I wonder if the same would be said if I was in a wheelchair or had cancer. Before anyone says anything on that front, I have friends and family in each of those categories so I’m not trying to be blase.

I want to get out, see the world, enjoy sitting in a theatre again, visit the Capital, all that sort of stuff, but I seem to keep coming up against barriers. They’re my own, yes, but that’s not to say I can just say ‘bye then’ and the barriers will instantly explode into millions of pieces and be sucked up by a vacuum in the sky. If only life were that simple. For me, turning to a simple pleasure of baking made me feel human again albeit for the afternoon and slowly through the week things have improved, although it has taken virtually a week to bring about better physical health and an altered mental state too. Who would have thought it could take so long to recover from a little bit of death thinking, eh?

I’ve been asked a few times recently by various people who care and who seem to care, how on earth can I work with people that struggle with anxiety and depression when I myself still face the difficulties that those two creatures can throw at me? It’s an interesting one. Why would anyone trust me? But then, why wouldn’t they and who am I not to be that person that helps them? Surely, being somebody who has and still does experience it, and is alive to tell the tale, proves that actually if I can do it, anybody can. If I can be dying one day and the next day be baking, then there’s hope, especially where fresh fruit cupcakes are concerned.

On the work front, business could be expanding following two meetings this week and I’m looking forward to a bit more collaborative production with people who seem to be on a similar wavelength. It gives you a boost when those people walk into your lives and you realise that you are not alone. It’s meant I’ve had to step outside of my comfort zone a little, but that can help alter the emotional and physical state. Sometimes those meetings and encounters spur you on to be better than you realise, and as we reflect on the week in which our young people collected their GCSE results and tried to figure out what the heck a new ‘9’ grade was in relation to an old ‘A’ grade, we should be proud, as they should, of their achievements. It has been a difficult time for all involved and quite unsettling. No doubt there was a collective sigh when the envelopes were opened and they saw their results.

Whether a 9 or a 1, really what does it matter? You’ve tried your best, the goalposts will forever get moved in life, and that piece of paper, whilst vital at the moment, probably won’t make the biggest of differences in the future, so do what your heart truly desires. I have. I’ve been pushing forward with developments at the youth club, developing the business, and completing more creative writing.

On that note, a script idea from two years ago which I think I’ve mentioned previously is coming to fruition of sorts with a first read through this next week and it’s scary and exciting in equal measure to see all of that work be more than just voices in my head (on top of the usual ones of course). The ‘cast’ are more confident than I am of my abilities but that’s good. It reminds me that I am capable of doing something. Who knows? One day, a top producer may stump up the money for me to hire a theatre and this will be something else ticked off the bucket list.

Of course, it can be difficult to keep that momentum up and so we come to acupuncture round two. I struggled to relax into it this time but I’m pleased to report that whilst you may feel my week’s been fairly horrendous for my health, there has been a fair amount of positivity. I’ve felt as though I’m better able to cope with things. The crash I mentioned. That was a blip. A big blip, but I got through it, and I’ll continue to get through them, because I’m not letting it beat me, even if like today, I did the stupid thing of Googling symptoms. I said before and I’ll say it again, never do it. It’s a crazy thing. You worry more. I think I had more needles in me this week, but no drink has seeped out so that’s another thing to be grateful for. It’s the little successes. Once you can let yourself go, it’s a really pleasant experience.

I’d say I’m still in that state of getting to grips with acupuncture, but what I can say is that what has resulted from these two sessions is a more general feeling that I can cope and subsequently, today, a mass clear-out of the house has occurred. Filing, binning, hoovering, and listening to my favourite music. It’s uplifting and freeing and more than anything, has built an extra layer of strength.

Round three with the pricking master next week.

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