The Difference Between Abuse And Care

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

I had a very interesting discovery the other day.

I had a friend make a joke on one of my posts that suggested I might have a diagnosis other than fibromyalgia. She’s suggested this particular diagnosis ad nauseam in the past. I didn’t take it well. I was upset and antsy and, after some prompting from another friend, I politely set a boundary of can we please not with this topic, and how it makes me feel.

And she apologised. She apologised, explained she had been trying to make a joke about how she could empathise with my experiences because she has the other diagnosis, and the injury I had experienced is one she could imagine herself doing. Then she apologised for missing the mark with the joke. And none of it was ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ or anything like that, it was a true and genuine apology, taking responsibility for what she said and how that made me feel.

It was freeing in a way I cannot put into words. Suddenly I wasn’t offended by the joke, and I could feel her care and consideration for me. It increased my love and respect for her a thousandfold.

This is totally different to the friend I lost. During my diagnosis process for both fibromyalgia and trigeminal neuralgia, when the doctor and I were both pretty sure what I had but were doing the formalities, she would send me messages with all sorts of different things I could have. Constantly. I rarely mentioned any of my symptoms past ‘ow’. She never once asked about them. And she was saying ‘oh what about this? and this? you could have this!’ I repeatedly told her we were pretty confident it was fibromyalgia (or trigeminal neuralgia) and it felt like she was dismissing my knowledge and my doctor’s knowledge of the situation.

She never apologised. She would only say ‘I just don’t want you to have x because it’s chronic and it’s awful’. That is not a place of care. That is a place of control. Which pretty much summed up our whole relationship.

Because of my long history of being abused (right from infancy through to this latest ‘friend’), I have difficulty with identifying when people come from a place of care and love. It’s often only once I begin to establish a boundary, and they accept it and apologise for stepping on it that I can tell the difference.

It has started healing a little part of me that was very raw.

I’m Not Okay

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

I’m not okay today.

I did too much. Way too much, and now I’m paying for it with full body aches.

When I’m this fatigued – and it is a bone deep dragging fatigue that pulls every bit of energy from your muscles and leaves you in agony – my good mood inevitably slides away to a numbness I associate with my depression.

I will shortly haul myself off the couch and put on my fluffy cosy socks. Then I’ll turn the heatpump on and cuddle up on the couch and read terrible fanfiction until the claws of fatigue retract from my muscles. It is important to coddle yourself on bad days.

I’m not okay, but I know that I will be.

Another Dog … Another Failure

Photo by Isabela Kronemberger on Unsplash

A couple of months ago I got a dog to train up to be my mobility helper.

He was terrified of men. So he was rehomed, and now lives the life of luxury, sleeping on beds and being spoiled. I had to seek outside confirmation that I couldn’t have made it work with him, because he was such a sweet dog, and he was the first one I had tried. But, ultimately, I cannot work with a dog who is terrified of men.

Last week I got another dog, also to train up to be my mobility helper. This time I took it slow. I went out and met him, I took my friend with me to assess his temperament, and then went home and had a long talk about him. I picked him up, and he was anxious, but he never put a foot wrong. He didn’t put a foot wrong the entire week I had him. He was sweet, lovely, willing, and just adapted to every situation thrown at him.

But he had some health quirks that could have been indicative of serious problems, and he smeared saliva everywhere. My amazing human isn’t able to cope with dog saliva, so we agreed he would not be joining us permanently.

I know it’s a process, I know the right dog is one-in-a-million, but I am feeling disheartened by this. It’s hard work to meet the dog, check them over, take them on for a bit, and then figure out how to explain to the old owner why their beautiful, lovely, fantastic, and genuinely amazing dog failed, because that’s what it feels like to them. The last owner didn’t understand, and was very upset by it, and I think that, more than anything, has led to me feeling so bad this time around.

I haven’t given up finding the right dog. Or rather, I have flights of fancy that I don’t need the extra help, that I’ll be able to figure out a way around all of this so I don’t need a dog, and life will continue on as it always has. But they are brief, and generally beaten over the head with a mallet with my leg doesn’t want to hold my weight, or when I have a dizzy spell.

But for now I am going to sit back and relax and rest up. The stress of the last few weeks is finally catching up with me.

Chronic Illness and Cleaning

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

I hate cleaning. I hate it with a burning passion, because it takes time and energy and effort and then you have to do it all over again next week. I like things to be done once and then stay done. Which, sadly, isn’t the case for the dishes, or the dust, or the cat litter trays, or the bathroom, or the toilet, or the carpet, or the cat hair …

I live with two lads who firmly believe that cleaning is a thing you do once every six months when it’s a flat inspection and that’s about it. If anything was cleaned, it was me who did it. Including most of the dishes. A few years ago we decided on a compromise: we’d all pay a bit extra, and each week we would have someone come over and clean the communal areas for an hour, these being the floors of every door that’s open (so my flatmate can leave his office door open if he wants and it’ll get vacuumed), the bathroom, and the toilet. It worked out fantastically for everyone involved – I suddenly had more spoons to spend elsewhere, and we all got a nice clean house.

Unfortunately COVID is a thing and my amazing cleaner is half way up the country at home. I’ve been managing to vaguely keep on top of at least the cat and dog hair, and the bathroom, but the toilet’s gone to the lads. Even more unfortunately we have a flat inspection in three days.

So I get to do all the cleaning.

Now I’m the kind of person who likes to get up, do everything in one hit, and then sit back down again. This sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t. I’d read somewhere about doing things in bits, and taking rests in between – a concept that fills me with deep unease and no small amount of misdirected anger. Since I have only a few days to get the house to rights, and then a full week ahead of me (with a full day of driving immediately after that), I figured I should probably do the sensible thing and pace myself.

I got up, I cleaned a few more spots of cat puke off the carpet, liberally applied toilet duck (although at this point I’m convinced the toilet requires an exorcism), and sprayed the cleaning product all over the shower stall. Then I lay down for 40 minutes.

It was a bloody challenge to haul myself off the couch again and continue cleaning, but get up I did, and thus I cleaned. I did the shower stall and the sink, and lay back down. Then I got up and went out to the paddock for the first time in days.

And you know what? I think this whole ‘doing a bit at a time and then resting’ has a lot more going for it than my usual ‘DO ALL THE THINGS AT ONE TIME’. And I didn’t combust with misplaced rage while doing it, either. I’ll have to experiment with it more!

Upgraded!

josh-mills-UwcyoOC2F3I-unsplash

I have officially gone Official with the full migration of this blog over to www.thewalktowellness.com!  From here on in, I’ll be updating on the Official Site (YAY).

There will be a few small adverts to help pay for the domain name and hosting (and maybe a coffee?), but nothing else is going to change.  I’m not going to monetise my blog entries.  I’m not going to do affiliated links.  This remains a blog about my journey through various chronic illnesses, in the hopes that some people realise they’re not alone, and it’s shitty but it’s also okay.

I look forward to seeing you on the newfangled site which hopefully doesn’t have too many hiccups.