Friday, 29 May 2015

Dear body...a letter to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Dear body,

We have always had a bit of a love hate thing going on. From earlier in my life, at primary school...standing a head taller and wearing a bra aged 10 to being called 'thunder thighs' as a term of endearment by my father throughout my teens.
Even back then I didn't like you much when it came to going out and wearing nice clothes but you had your were good at sport, really good. I got to represent my school, my county and my university, nearly even my country. Who would've thought my body could do that. We weren't thin ever were we but we were fit, muscular and could pull it off so to speak.

Then it started, bit by bit I couldn't do as much. Sometimes it was my fault. I pushed you far beyond your limits. I pushed you too far on nights out, not enough sleep and too many brain aching lectures. I remember the 3 weeks of tonsillitis and being taken to the doctor by someone I hardly knew, I remember the hospital and the drip and I remember sleeping a lot as you recovered from glandular fever. I remember getting better and getting back. That was the best bit.

I remember running off a court during a warm up to throw up in the loos after a heavy night out regardless of training the next day, I remember dragging myself up that hill to the sports hall in all weathers and getting cramp. My bad.
I also remember the fall as if it was yesterday. I remember the bang in my knee and the bang of my head on the floor. At the time I didn't know what hurt more but in time it was clear that joint was busted. The operation recovery was tough. I remember wrapping parts of you in bin bags so I could wash without my stitches getting wet. Foolish as I was it worked!

I struggled to come to terms with the fact high impact sports were out of my life. The had been there the whole time but I just couldn't put you and your broken piece through it anymore. I was warned and those couple of times I tried by golly you showed me didn't you?! All that swelling and pain to show me I was broken. The problem was you made me lose some of the only friends I had, that team were so important and I couldn't lead them if I couldn't play. You don't understand how lonely it was and how much I needed that competitive edge to blow off steam.

We got on OK for a bit once I'd given in to you. It was done. You played up in the cold and certain social activities were out (ice skating for example) but it was fine, I could hold the coats and drink the mulled wine couldn't I?

I hurt you deliberately sometimes too. I'm not going to lie to you. It wasn't your fault it was other people trying to cause pain. Little gossips who have nothing better to do but I'm not lashing out for no one so I did it in private. I'm sorry for that, there was no other way.

Sometimes I got you in situations you shouldn't have been in. I put you in danger and I'm sorry for that too. Luckily you were still strong and you fought for us and kept us in this world. You adapted to moving away and not having a car to get around. You got used to the trials and tribulations of a series of failed relationships that it became a joke as a defence mechanism. Disaster area I called it, and you. That wasn't fair really, you just got carried along for the ride.

Then you gave up on me. What was it? Did you get bored of dealing with the 'garden variety' illnesses picked up in schools and fancy something more challenging? Is it karma? Or payback for all I put you through? I wish you would tell me...
I remember the morning you gave up. We'd been fighting hadn't we for weeks...I was making you carry on, insisting it was for the new job and I had to prove myself and that I could do it. I forced you to get up in the darkness and work til the darkness the other side and then continue until it was all done. Except it never happened because you wouldn't let me, you had me falling asleep on my laptop, drooling on my marking or being so sick and stressed it was like being frozen in time.
I woke up that morning feeling you complain as you always did. It was dark even with my eyes open. I tried to stand but you had other ideas. You took my legs away from me and left me on the floor in an undignified heap. Thanks for that, you took all my power away that day and I am struggling to ever forgive you.

You made me stay in bed for so long. So long that days, weeks and months merged away into a blur. I felt like a sub citizen, I didn't exist out of my 'bubble' and you made me too scared to even try and leave. I was scared you'd do the same to me as you'd done that morning. I couldn't trust you anymore and you have no idea how scary that is, the one thing I should be able to trust was behaving in a way I could not understand.
Best thing about it was you evaded medical science. Did you stand in the corner smiling when they kept saying 'those tests are normal' and 'I don't know what this is' did you? well did you? It seemed you were taking the p*** out of me body to put it frankly.
I persevered though didn't I? Bet you didn't expect that.

I got you doing a bit more, I got us back to doing something that vaguely resembles work. You have no idea what you did there. You destroyed all the resolve I had the minute I couldn't earn enough to survive. You are lucky that the other body in the house has a reasonable job otherwise you might've got more than you bargained for. It's cold in doorways you know body?!

Thing is this illness you now have, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome the doctor calls it means you are making it difficult for me for a long time. You've limited my activity so much it's made me ill in a different way. You've made the only part of my body I thought I had left sick brain.
You've led me to comfort eat due to the depression and anxiety and I can't run it off or swim because you WILL NOT LET ME. YOU. It's all your fault and I am scared.

I hate you and I can't look at you right now. You are fat, stretched, wobbly and ugly and I don't recognise you anymore. Not even your face.
Give me something back please. Let me control some of this so I can at least fit into the clothes I own (seeing as I can't replace them as you took my wages away too remember.) Have you not had enough of this now? It's been over a year and I still cannot be in control, why are you limiting me like this and making me look such a fool?

I wish you could tell me. I really wish we could come to some agreement. Anything.
I wish you could tell me why you make my hands and feet hurt like they have been out in the cold for an hour all day every day, I wish you could tell me why the pains in my stomach come so suddenly and go equally quickly and why sometimes I can think and sometimes I can't. Do you enjoy not being able to walk far and getting sweaty when you try? It's like a sick joke, all of it.

I want an end, give me a clue, when is that going to be do you think? Before the wedding or after....

Bet I can guess

Yours in general hatred and fury

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