A short goodbye is not a forever goodbye. I thought it would be good to say that first. The blog just reached its first 1K WordPress subscribers’ milestone and I’m sure it’s the first time my writing reaches so many people, in so many different countries. So what’s this post about? Well, let me take a good, deep breath first, and perhaps another glass of water, while I also search for some Celtic folklore music to play in the background.
I think I mentioned I was doing a couple of physical examinations. I know I have at least documented several ups and downs, different symptoms and moods. Stress, anxiety, depression, sciatica, migraines, weight gain, exhaustion, brain fog, lack of motivation and purpose, inability to concentrate… and, over the last couple of months, aggravated loss of muscular strength on the extremities and impairment of cognitive functions such as working memory and ability to recall information (sometimes I forget what I wrote or didn’t write here). In other words, I’m now having a harder time managing what I thought to be just a ‘weird phase’ of my life.
Since my health has been slowly deteriorating with time, those who live with me on a daily basis don’t seem to notice my struggle. I believe I can’t blame them. I got them used to the idea that everything is always fine, that I’m not someone deserving of attention and care. That, or I got used to that role. Either way, I have been telling myself exactly that, I’m just fine. Well, I’m not, and although I’ve been meditating on a daily basis for almost two weeks now, hoping to reduce and prevent exaggerated amounts of stress hormones, today I was particularly stricken by fear.
I know I shouldn’t, and I know I must forgive myself but, in this moment, I’m still mad with myself for not having answered my needs a long, long time ago. Yes, I know, I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, and I should have more self-compassion. I totally agree with you all, and I probably wouldn’t be sick if I had been kinder to myself. However, irritation comes with my current condition too, so I do get mad and sometimes I need to let the steam flow through writing. I get particularly irritated by the fact that has taken me years to learn that I shouldn’t let people decide what is best for me. So, dear reader, if you don’t learn anything else from me, please learn this: you’re the only one who knows what’s best for you. No one else.
I should have paused my PhD a year ago, when I had the first anxiety attacks and unbearable mood swings. The reality is that I didn’t and I continued to drag myself way beyond my human capacity. Why? I believed I had no choice. I kept being told that I should finish my PhD first, because I was almost there. I did the same I’m used to do. I mean, I grew up being the girl who A-L-W-A-Y-S silenced her will and voice in order to please everybody and not let anyone down, so in a funny way it’s like my body is screaming Vanessa, you have permission to be angry and stand up for what you want! And no, don’t think I have the intention of becoming a cavewoman now. I don’t, at all, as I’m quite emotionally sensitive. What I mean is that I will now take every opportunity to express and make my needs heard. I have to learn how to do that without being aggressive.
This post is to tell you, however, that I’m going to seclude myself for a little while. I have been struggling to keep up with the blog’s rhythm and I really need to save all the energy I can. It has taken me already three hours to write this post… and I have shut my eyes a dozen times. Posting came to a point that frustrates and scares me. How bad is this? To sleep and wake up unrested became the new normal. The same happened with not being able to coordinate my fingers to hold a pen and write on a piece of paper… with not being able to hold a plate or cut a harder steak… Today I can’t recall a full sentence of seven words. I forgot my shoes under the kitchen’s table, even after being reminded that they were there. I can’t walk fifteen minutes straight without a break and I was doing routes of 15-17Km not that long ago.
I’m young, and right now I don’t have half the energy of the 70-year old ladies I found in the clinic. I’m young, and although I believe I can recover if I put myself on a lifestyle make over right away, it has been scary to experience all this alone. I’m having the medical tests, I’m meditating, I’m connecting with Louise Hay, I’m being patient with myself and sleeping whenever I need to, and I’m creating space to see clearly and make decisions. It’s heartbreaking for me to decide not to write here for a while, but I believe I have to save time and energy now. I will be, nonetheless, taking some time to catch up with your blogs. I haven’t returned comments because after posting here I get so exhausted that I switch off. That’s also why it has taken me years to reply back to comments. If I can answer three in a row at the moment is already a reason to throw a party. Thus, I won’t be posting as much, but I will surely spend more time reading your stories and catching up as I can.