I have banned myself from doing any housework, even though each little bit I managed was cause for celebration. A couple of weeks ago I had an almighty panic attack out of the blue, as you may have read in Outpouring.
Since moving out of my parents care I have been piling the pressure on myself to do x, y, & z. When I had the energy I would spend it on unloading the dishwasher or putting on a load of washing. I’d even try to hang it out when it was done.
So I am sucking it up and taking a step back. I’ve accepted help where it has been offered and I am so lucky and grateful that I have people in my life who will do whatever they can to lighten my load. And all without thinking anything of it.
My energy is so, so precious and I have been wasting it on having a clean and tidy home. Even with the help of my mum popping by to whizz the hoover round, I have been taking on too much.
It is quite hard to step back because I have actually enjoyed being able to do things around the house. It’s something I wasn’t well enough to do for such a long time and the feeling of being useful should not be underestimated. Changing the bed, for example, was something I hadn’t been able to do for years and so I loved that my arms were strong enough again to do something as ordinary and mundane as put fresh sheets on my own bed! By myself!!!
Yet I wasn’t leaving enough of my precious energy to do lovely things. There has been no sewing, very little reading, hardly any socialising, and my little driving adventures have completely stopped. I seemed to think I should be doing it all and although I wasn’t forcing myself to do these things around the house, I was definitely putting pressure on myself to use my energy in that particular way. I am not Wonder Woman. I am still very ill. Just because I’ve been well enough to leave home doesn’t need I can run my own house in the way I’d thought I would be able to. And that’s perfectly fine.
Asking for, or accepting help, is all a part of coming to terms with the limitations of my life with a health condition as severe as this one. Accepting M.E. is vital to move forward and live but my goodness is it hard. It is a process that comes and goes. It is not a constant.
I don’t need a Carer as such. More a helper who can hang up washing, put my clean clothes away for me, do the online weekly shop.
I have the luxury of having people in my life who will come and take the slack. I just have to be brave enough to let them do that and learn to let go of the guilt.
I can’t tell you how hard that is.