Ever since I ‘got sick’ nearly three years ago, I’ve been on the path and in the process of slowing down. I remember the idea was first introduced to me by the GP who told me about it in the context of chronic fatigue. Pacing. It meant thinking about the amount of energy you need, considering if you have it and making choices based upon the answers to those 2 questions. I hated the idea then, I’m not so against it now, but back then, it just represented the acknowledgment that I had to stop doing what I was doing and that something else was making that choice for me.
Honestly I wasn’t really enjoying what I was doing, but it was the path I had committed to and I had pride in trying to finish it. But that wasn’t to be.
Over time I’ve slowed down so much that I can’t quite comprehend how ridiculously ‘busy’ I used to be. Back then I never had time to read books because either all my time was at work or taken up with thinking about work or my family. I was obsessed and didn’t know it. I’d stew over the problems of the team I worked in and they’d plague me all the time, but I accepted that as part of the role of being a team leader. Now I read 2-4 books a month and want to read more. It’s frightening to me that I suspect most people I know are still back in the same state that I was and maybe will never get out of it. That they accept it also as part of modern life or perhaps even a badge of success – how busy they are – because it’s exhilarating and can make you seem like you are doing something with your time.
It’s been a painful realisation for me, because it’s been forced. But I’m not sure there would have been any other type. How many people would be able to choose to give up the busyness once they’d found themselves in the middle of it? Maybe I’m not giving others enough credit for the process, just because I didn’t see it coming…
Although I did. I knew I was unhappy at work, I knew I was getting fed up with the role I was doing. There were signs that I should do something else but they weren’t drastic enough. A virus followed by post viral fatigue followed by thyroid disruption was certainly drastic enough to make me stop. Or more specifically, it was simply the fatigue that made me stop. I didn’t discover the thyroid deficiency until a year after I’d first come down with the virus… after I was getting sick and tired (pardon the puns) of my GP telling me I’d get better eventually. It was that phrase and the word eventually that drove me to seek help from integrative doctors who gave me the support, diagnosis and medication that I needed.
I was at my wit’s end and sick of the fatigue, the pins and needles, sick of feeling like a failure, feeling useless, feeling like I was letting my daughter down. I felt moved to take action without knowing if there would be a benefit and I put myself on the path to recovery. That’s why I now encourage people to keep trying Keep looking for answers if you are not happy with the ones you are getting. Look for them in different places and from different people.
These days I’m looking for that sweet space where I can just experience and enjoy the days as they are and not feel the need to do something better or achieve anything, although that pressure haunts me constantly for some reason.