I can’t believe I’m here. A few months ago I really didn’t think I would be. Ok, so it’s not that dramatic, I don’t mean here as in ‘alive’, I mean here, writing this blog, sitting here on the balcony, bathed in sunshine, of a ski chalet in France. Enjoying the stunning view across a field of snow, glittering like a carpet of diamonds, to a backdrop of mountains blanketed in snow and fir trees dusted with frost. After five months of being mostly house-bound, and much of that in bed, this is a huge deal for me.
Having Anxiety and / or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome means letting people down and missing out on things. A lot. I’ve lost count of the number of nights out I’ve cancelled and times I’ve let friends down due to exhaustion or anxiety. All I can say is no one is ever more disappointed than me. The picture above is from the beginning of February, at the end of a rough old week of having crashed and been back mostly in bed. That night I was supposed to be at one of my oldest and best friend’s 40th birthday party (the same friend who’s hen party in Ibiza I missed a few years ago due to anxiety). So fast forward a few weeks and I felt strong enough to travel (the hubby doing all the driving, bless him!) to France. It was such a big moment for me I got incredibly emotional when we arrived and burst into tears of relief and happiness that I’d made it. I was just so grateful.
I think acceptance is one of the most important (and hardest!) things I’ve had to learn. Accepting the bad days (or weeks) and relishing the good days. Not getting frustrated and mostly not trying to fight against it. Maybe we need the bad times to help us appreciate the good ones.
So yes, I’m disappointed I’m not out skiing with my husband, kids and friends as my wobbly bambi legs just wouldn’t be able to do it. Not to mention that anxiety and skiing aren’t a great mix! I would love to be out there confidently skiing but there’s no point dwelling on that.
Instead I’ve embraced the change of scenery and celebrated the magical moments when I’ve felt up to getting out. So I’ve wandered over the road to that glittering snow field and made snow angels and ‘snow-bathed’ in the sun. I’ve joined the kids in some head-first, backwards ‘bottom tobogganing’ down a slippery, snowy slope. Fun and laughter are much-needed medicine right now! Just watch kids at play and take that lesson on board. As adults we can easily forget that playing and silliness is magical. It’s been a thoroughly therapeutic week.
In the back of my mind is always that slight worry that I might over-do it and end up crashing again. But I feel far more at ease with that. I can now accept that it is likely to happen at some point as I try and work out where my limits are. And I know that fighting it only makes it worse. So I am careful, I balance doing things with plenty of rest time, and I’ve learnt to stop getting so frustrated about that.
Sometimes you have to stop trying so hard to ‘beat’ it. Accept that it’s a part of you, but it doesn’t define you. It’s not who you are. Befriending anxiety and seeing it as being on my side, rather than the enemy, has helped me immensely. It’s made me far less scared of it. If you haven’t read my first post about making friends with my anxiety (or Geraldine as I call her), I really recommend you do. If you work with your anxiety and become curious in learning about why it’s there and what it’s trying to tell you, you can hopefully begin to feel more in control, less helpless.
So here is a pic of me, a couple of weeks after the pic above, in France, relishing being out in the fresh air. It’s been said so many times, but being out in nature and appreciating the simple beauty of it, is very good for the soul.