Part 1 – There’s no other way to describe it. It’s insidious, and for the most part, you remain blissfully unaware. A gradual lack of repetition of doing things that you enjoy, tiny increments of what used to take up your time being replaced with less healthy habits, or in my case naps, leaving many things started and very few finished and wondering why I felt unfocused and “off”. My time spent studying, writing, dog-walking, cooking, reading, trail running, hill walking, travelling, housework, music, conversation, and generally having any interest, passion or opinions gradually shrank and days were filled with trying to keep up with the bare minimum required for living. I lost all creativity required to take advantage of potential work opportunities. My head became an empty vessel and my body eventually followed suit.
I didn’t even really notice all of these things that were so important to me disappearing at the time. Don’t get me wrong, I had started to feel a little lacking in energy here and there, unusual for me as energy had never been an issue regardless of what I’m doing or dealing with, but I put it down to this, that and the other, basically berating myself for becoming a wet rag for no obvious reason.
The decline and what felt like a complete change of identity (looking back) took 18 months – I’d gone from a running/walking/researching/studying ball of energy to a company-avoiding/napping/miserable/slow-moving/anxious blob of helpless bewilderment. The final straw was trying to walk along the beach with my dogs. A long term balance problem, which I could sometimes walk off, meant that, yes, the wavy, rippled sand pattern, zooming dogs threatening to take me off my feet, and erratic, blustery gusts of wind all conspired against me and my faculties. But this was different, a feeling like I was collapsible, telescopic, like my head could just disappear into my torso, my torso into my hips, and so on. My energy would suddenly vaporise, a feeling completely unlike anything I’d ever before described as tiredness/fatigue – you feel it in your core that it’s suddenly become a vacuum, you’re empty. Talking, never mind moving, seems impossible, almost as if you need to re-learn to consciously activate what was a previously conditioned, automatic process in your body. Ok, so it looks like I can’t walk this off…..
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