So it's coming up to my birthday, a time which signifies being with the ones I love, pressies and maybe even a cake or two. It also signifies something else though, something which looms larger than any present could. It signifies my anniversary of being acutely ill. Three years will have passed, meaning that I am entering the fourth year of my new life.
I can't really think of a single thing I'd like for my birthday. Oh, that's a lie, I'd like new make up and a subscription to Gardener's World. But it's just not about presents anymore, I'd be happy if I never received another present in my life, if only I could feel better.
Yes it's true, I'm having an uncharacteristically blue time of it. Maybe it's the January Blues, the Birthday Blues or the Anniversary Blues... or all three put together. Maybe it's the not-being-able-to-do-the-job-you-love Blues, or the constantly-having-to-put-a-brave-face-on-it-when-you're-terrified Blues, or simply the spending-too-much-time-on-your-own blues.
At times like this, when everything just feels so out of control, it helps me to focus on what I can control.
I can control the isolation by chatting online, phoning someone or inviting people to see me. I can't control the fact that I am unable to work, but I can work on acceptance of the situation through my mindfulness practice. I can think of all the other things I've had time to do since stopping work. I can focus on what lovely times I had over Christmas and New Year, and not on the symptoms hanging over me and making me pay.
Oh, and I can have a big shout into my pillow until I'm too exhausted to move any more and slump into it and have a big sleep. I always feel better after that.
Most of all, I can remember that it has been a particularly bad week and that it won't always be so bad. Tomorrow is another day.