Could you spare a couple of minutes? He said. Actually I can’t right now, I answered I’m on my way somewhere. Could we ask for a donation then? He went on… I’m sorry, but I’m not working right now, so I don’t have any to spare. “Aye, that’s a good one” he answered.
In that moment He wrongly assumed that I did not like cats! I stopped, walked back and told him that if my partner wasn’t violently allergic to them, I’d probably work in a cattery and have a house full. I also explained that I had been out of paid work for two years now and that next time I was back in work I would be happy to donate once again as I did previously.
So I wonder if the man in the shopping centre who was collecting for the Cats Protection League, would have worded his request differently had he known just what I was going through just to get to that point walking through the shopping centre in the afternoon?
I also wondered briefly what he saw when I stood in front of him in my battered work boots, jeans and a vest, hair all messy. Dehydrated and melting in the heat, feeling stressed, exhausted and quite literally lost. He probably didn’t give it a second thought.
Yes, anxiety had well and truly kicked in, but I had chores to do that day and it was my only chance to get them done. When the car is playing up, you take your chance and do a round robin trying to get everything done before arriving back exhausted but happy that you made it.
It so often seems to be the way I feel after going out these days, Yay I made it! After I have returned home again but I had so many more tasks to complete before that point.
It had taken me three days to get up the courage to drive into town in the car which is misbehaving again and threatening to break down. At the moment the fuel is fighting to get through so it doesn’t like climbing hills and drops to a crawl. Two mechanics have been unable to fix this so far, so I really don’t know what to do about it now.
So firstly I visited the Bank in the shopping centre to try and open a new bank account. It used to be so simple. I had ID with me but I had to make an appointment for another day. They couldn’t deal with it then and there, which meant I would have to come back again. I stood in there for half an hour. Frustrating and then they decided that my ID was not enough for them I would have to have paperwork which I do not have here with me. So I would have to get Mum to send it up through the post before I could return to open one. I’d also have to make another appointment but I had already tried to call them 3 times that morning before I had even got in the car, they don’t answer the phone. I asked for directions to the Post Office and began to walk there. I felt exhausted at that point and then desperately needed the bathroom and have to walk back for 15 minutes to the toilet I had walked past on my way into a shopping centre, one of the places where I feel most anxious.
I also had to buy Birthday Cards and write and send them. Send a parcel from the Post Office. First I had to locate the Post Office which was more than a mile into the biggest shopping centre I’ve been in for years and ask three people for directions, how far away can it be and was I still going in the right direction? I finally found it after walking for another 20 minutes in the opposite direction, going into a shop and then upstairs. How bizarre!
Having come across the Cats Protection man on the way, it left me feeling rather rattled. Disbelieving so and so, I had told him the absolute truth, but why should I have to explain myself, the reasons why I cannot stand there and listen to his pitch about why I should donate money I don’t have simply because he thinks that I could. It upset me, at that point I felt that I could barely stand and I still hadn’t found the post office. I was feeling dizzy and sick and so very tired that if I had stopped, then I may not have got started again and I was about 15 miles from home too.
I still had to tank up with fuel, get some food shopping and collect Water from the camp site before returning home.
I arrived back home four hours after leaving and was totally exhausted. I just wanted to curl up and go to sleep. The relief of being back safe was immense. I just about made it through dinner, my eyes heavy and I slept for 11 hours. I couldn’t move for 2 days, the pain was absolutely ridiculous. I hurt everywhere. I had lost the grip in my hands again and kept tripping over things, my co-ordination was all out of whack and I was clumsy. My nerves jumping and muscles in spasm kept me awake day and night. Sometimes people have no idea just what it takes to do the simple tasks that we once took for granted.
Although the voice inside us tells us to get up and show up and keep on fighting, achieving and we will win, sometimes we have to face it that we just wont. However On the days we do achieve we return triumphant with a sense of euphoria that one day has gone better than we thought, before the crash comes and we spend the next two days in bed, or just too exhausted to function or even do the mundane. The highs and lows of having a long term chronic illness.