30 day challenge day 7


What was the biggest realisation you have had?

Support is everything. If you haven't got it, it's very bleak indeed. Thinking back to times past can be an incredibly painful thing to do, such as this occasion.

When you're ill, you don't understand what's happening to you, but somehow you have to dig deep within yourself to find the words to describe this alien thing happening to you to your spouse/partner, family, friends and most importantly of all if you're to get any help, your doctor. It's the worst possible time for you to have to advocate for yourself, but you have to, even though it's not going to be easy. It can be exhausting.

I lived with my partner (now hubby, of course) not 'getting' it for a long time. He is the kind of person who doesn't believe anything unless he sees it with his own eyes, and even then he tries to rationalise things. It might be because he's in IT and he has to see a problem to fix it, but me telling him things were really bad didn't work. It might be because he has a scientific mind, or because he's an annoying eternal optimist or even that he was in denial, but even him seeing things were really bad didn't work so well either. I remember the days before we had the car and having to lug the shopping home from the supermarket on foot. Carrying home heavy bags made me really suffer. We lived up a huge hill at the time which was accessed from the local supermarket by about 50 very steep steps. At the top of the steps we had to carry on up a steep hill. We also lived on the top floor flat of a house. By the time we got to the main front door of the house our flat was in, I would be sweating heavily, almost in tears of pain and fatigue and feeling like I couldn't walk another step, but James didn't get it. He'd take his part of the shopping up the 3 flight of stairs to our flat and leave me to find the energy to get myself and the rest of the shopping up the stairs. It could take anything up to 15 minutes for me to get up those 39 steps as I was done. I can't tell you how many times we repeated this same scenario and it didn't seem to sink in for him. Gradually he started to carry more of the heavy stuff, or came back down for my bags as well once he'd got his upstairs, but for a long time I was pissing into the wind. I would always tell him things were too much but he'd always ignore me and say things would be fine. There's a point where unfettered optimism turns into having your head up your arse and I'm afraid he strayed into that territory and stayed there for a while.

Things like travelling took it out of me hugely. Carrying heavy things onto trains, tubes and coaches is hard work with chronic illnesses. I remember a few years ago now when we went to Wales for the weekend (before we had the car.) We had a 90 minute train trip into London, a journey on the Tube, a walk to Victoria coach station followed by 9 hour coach trip, then an active weekend. When we were in London on the way back, we were walking to the train station from the Tube up a big flight of stairs. I was carrying a heavy backpack and I fell up the stairs because my tired brain stopped being able to move my legs in the right way (this has happened several times.) I really hurt myself, cutting and bruising my shins and bruising my arms when I landed. I remember standing in the busy station concourse sobbing my heart out in pain, exhaustion and frustration, inwardly begging James to finally grasp the notion that I AM NOT WELL ANY MORE. I ended up vocalising that as well, as a minute previously he'd wanted me to run for the train. Hello?! I had tried to tell him something like this would happen and as usual he had pooh-poohed me out of optimism. I think seeing me so bashed up was probably the first time he understood.

The honest truth is I had to hurt myself time and time again before he totally accepted/understood things had changed. Now he's brilliant and is constantly looking out for me and warning me of hazards when we're out. I do get angry when I remember how hard things were before when was pressuring me to get back into work, but I guess he was used to me being the girl who was as tough as old boots and as strong as an ox. Also, don't forget that when a person is ill they are getting some kind of help somewhere - from a doctor, a friend, or a family member, but often partners are left out in the cold somewhat. I don't think he wanted to admit anything was up as where did that leave him?!

I am so glad that I have James's support now, because for a while I didn't think we could stay together if he didn't believe me. It sucks, but it's imperative you get your loved ones to understand somehow. Even if like in my case if that was showing my injuries time and time again. Now James knows when I say I'm tired, it means I'm just about fit to pass out (which I have done a couple of times.) If I say I've done enough, it means I can feel I'm getting to the point where my legs will no longer work as they should and I'm about to have an accident. If I say no I can't do something, he knows I mean it. I know my body better than he does, after all. Thank God he can see that now.

It's a good job I love him, isn't it? ;)

Thanks for reading!

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