I am desperate to see myself as something other than an unemployed poorly person. I want to get into the habit of saying I’m a blogger or a baking or a knitter rather than always saying “Oh I’m not working at the moment” or lying to delivery men and telling them that I’m always at home in my pyjamas because I’m on the night shift.
It’s hard and I think it takes guts; to change the way you see yourself. Your illness restricts you in unimaginable ways and the majority of my time has to be spent surviving the illness rather than distracting myself from it with M.E-friendly activities.
If I have a couple of hours doing x y or z I have to have a few (or more) Nothing Days either side. I can’t manage more than five minutes of ‘doing’ at a time just yet. So for every five minutes of activity, be it adding and mixing ingredients in a bowl or planting a few seeds in a tray of compost, there is a chunk of Purple Time. I don’t know what the ratio would be. Perhaps for every 45 minutes, only 5 minutes are active. I’m not exaggerating. It makes you wonder whether finding a hobby is even worth it but I need it for my sanity. I hope one day I will be able to have a whole day of ‘doing’.
I’ve tried baking (which I’m just terrible at actually), sewing (I have a sewing machine that has outwitted me), decoupage (it’s early days but so far so good), reading (which depends on how ‘well’ I am functioning cognitively), and now I’m having a go at gardening. (I’ve always been a bit of a Jack of all trades (master of none.))
I cannot get enough of fresh air and being outside. And if I’m in the garden I like to think that means I’m not housebound anymore. Ever the optimist!
Gardening for me involves a lot of large cushions and lying on my front pulling out teeny weeds that don’t have sturdy roots. My dad then tackles the ‘proper’ weeds for me. I’m trying my hand a planting bulbs and replanting potted plants at the moment. This involves large cushions again and sitting in the most unusual, but comfortably, positions. No kneeling or crouching for me! It doesn’t agree with me.
|Lightweight plastic trowel set, large cushions and a rest place where I can out my feet up = M.E-friendly gardening|
I’m also having a go at growing my own vegetables (even though my tummy despises them at the moment.) I’m growing them in small trays and so I was able to sit at a table and plant the seeds rather than bend down to do it. I had help putting the compost in each tray because I’m too uncoordinated and weak to manage such a task myself. So far I have courgette and pepper seedlings and it is VERY exciting. I’ve never grown anything before and the only plant I’ve ever kept alive is a cactus.
And of course no garden project would be complete without a Paint Your Own Gnome. My mum bought him for me to keep me entertained. The box said ‘Requires adult supervision’ but I managed it all by myself (although it took me longer than it would’ve taken a toddler.)