I have been out of it for six weeks.
I tripped over in the garden and spent half a day in A&E, ending up with five stitches in my knee. So I retired to bed for a full week barely getting out at all and then a week with a crutch before it loosened up a bit. After then I was waiting for the cut to heal and didn’t want to put too much pressure on it so kept home a lot. I managed eventually to walk to my local pub but even that was a bit much. I was on massive antibiotics that really knocked me out and when I started to feel better contracted Bell’s palsy which did me in for different reasons.
My children kept offering to bring up my laptop and I kept refusing, knowing full well that if they brought it up I would start working in bed and I didn’t want to do that. I had just bought a tablet and that helped with the entertainment and I caught up on lots of reading.
It was the first time that I have not worked for so long if not ever, I think. I did absolutely no work for 4 weeks, other than filing or forwarding emails for others to action.
And do you know what? The world didn’t blow up, or collapse. My children didn’t die of starvation, and even learned a few things. They got a lot more take-away food than they should but did they complain? No, and neither did they complain about not being sent to bed, often because I was already asleep. They got to school in the morning and did their homework.
Yes I have a backlog of work. But actually it’s no more than if I have a week’s proper holiday. If it was urgent then someone else dealt with it; if it was trivial it fell by the wayside. Yes, some tasks didn’t get done and won’t get done but we’ve moved forward.
More to the point though, I felt relaxed. I had given up the last of my anti-depressants just before the accident and was not bothered about some of the dizzy spells that I was experiencing as I was just sleeping a lot. So the withdrawal side effects didn’t perturb me. I finished Paul Gilbert’s The Compassionate Mind, as recommended on my course and did quite a lot of thinking about mindfulness and informal practice. I did the occasional formal practice but not much. I read light novels and started reading proper books as well. I didn’t care what time it was and I didn’t get up with the boys in the morning, just shouting from my bed until they left. I just dumped all responsibility.
I felt so at ease, when I wasn’t feeling ill. I sometimes felt angry that I could drop everything like this because I was ill but I couldn’t sort out a holiday. I tried to let those thoughts drift by and just enjoy the enforced vacation, however it came about. I worry too much about work, about being responsible and getting things done even when no-one else is very much bothered.
I still feel deep down that failure to complete a task, scrubbing it off your to do list without completion is a sign of a lax attitude that will go nowhere. I am trying to be more irresponsible and it’s not that easy. I was even telling myself off for watching too much streaming TV and not reading enough books – because books are always more uplifting and better for you than TV. I do need help. Seriously, that is ridiculous. As a child TV was only good for news and the occasional documentary. Other programmes eventually started to slip in but only one at a time. It’s hard throwing off shackles.
I am now fairly back to whatever passes for normal for me. I did my first morning exercise today after 6 weeks of doing hardly any movement during the day, let alone formal exercise, and everything felt weak and wimpy. However, as my BFF said, I remember how good feeling fitter did and that encourages me to work at it. I am trying to not get back into work mode too much, to remember to relax in the afternoon and to not work too hard. I’ve been thinking about my routines and how to improve them to give me more time to myself and better balance between work and play, school day and not. I do feel mentally chilled out.
And I don’t miss my tablets.