best effort

For the last five days, I’ve hardly had the energy to leave the bed (or the tub where I’ve spent hours), let alone the airbnb I’m staying in. I keep thinking about how lucky I am that I picked such a great spot to fall apart. There’s an adorable reading nook that I’d sleep in if I could, looking out at the gorgeous view. At times, I’ve hardly been able to look at a screen or listen to any audio. I sat in silence staring at the ceiling or with my eyes closed. I fully fell asleep for a few hours in the tub on Saturday (or was it Sunday?) finally in a place of “good enough” contentment to relax. I noticed today that my rings are oxidizing. Considering how terrible I feel with this cold, I’m doubly grateful that I don’t have COVID.

I woke up this morning with slight shortness of breath from the congestion that haunted my sinuses making their way to my chest. Each night before I go to bed, I think about how I’ll feel better tomorrow and tomorrow comes but the symptoms remain. I haven’t been this sick in years, which is a testament to just how run down I let myself get over the last month or so. How did this body ever climb mountains? Ahhhh all I want to do is move.

I’ve never felt more in touch yet out of touch with my body. The symptoms make me acutely aware of my breath yet I feel like a brain stuck inside a poorly running machine. Sometimes I wish this is how mental health was truly treated and seen. Last week, for the first time in seven years of working for Automattic, I bailed on an in person meetup. I simply could not do it. My mental health was beyond shot, my fumes running on their last fumes. The ableism stuck inside of me struggled to make the call — I wanted to see myself as someone who could do it all rather than thinking about just what I could do, end of sentence.

I keep thinking about the grief from the year+ of isolation. Am I integrating what I learned into my everyday life? Have I been changed for the better like I wanted to be? What have I forgotten without the heartbreak in my chest? Rather than rush through healing, I’m trying to sit with it. To be in touch with how the sunshine feels different when I’m finally able to sit outside. To feel how my body loosens up as I stretch. To be aware of my breath (I returned to meditation). To see food as medicine and nourishment as I eat the same thing nearly every day.

After a year and half of holding it together, I see what’s going on. I’m finally crashing, despite my soul’s best effort to power on. My body has the ultimate off button and tonight when I was able to do a little bit of stretching/movement without any nightly chills, I didn’t take it for granted. Or perhaps I just got sick in the chaos of being a human! I’ll take the life lesson either way.

8 Comments

  1. Bryan Wagner

    Exactly so, I identify so heavily with what you wrote and the feelings that accompany being ill, particularly a deep illness that lasts. I believe that after critical experiences we do what amounts to a reset. Either an illness or just a vague malaise that seems to last seems part of it. Take care of you my friend, intense self nurturing and lots of compassion are in order.

    1. Anne McCarthy

      Yes! It truly does feel like my body is rebooting with different capabilities slowly but surely coming back online. With each new one that returns, I am embracing it with such intense gratitude knowing how fragile the entire system seemingly is! Thank you, friend.

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