When you suffer from a chronic illness there are inevitably many setbacks. I could tell you about the events I've had to miss or the time I cried at my graduation party because I was just too plain exhausted. I could tell you my attempts to go somewhere simple like my local supermarket only to fail getting out of the car and being brought home and put to bed or being too exhausted and weak to wash my own hair and having my boyfriend kindly do it. I could explain in monotonous detail the many days spent unable to move from bed. Unfortunately there are too many of these stories and too many of us with them - so I'd like to start a kind of tag. The positives of 2014, the achievements, the highs. I'm going to tag as many of you as possible but I would love anyone and everyone to do it!
1. Finishing My Teaching Placement
This is bittersweet for me as even though I'm really proud to have got through it, it is the period of time I blame for taking me from having 'mild' ME to having moderate to severe ME. Getting to school at 7.30am in winter, teaching all day, meetings until 6 and then marking, lesson planning and so on took it out of me beyond words. I was crashing as soon as I got home and yet too anxious about all the things I had to do and my health to be able to sleep. With that said, I was so proud to have achieved outstanding lesson observations and an outstanding placement grading - it was definitely an achievement!
2. Finishing University
After my decline in health I was seriously worried about my ability to return for my final semester at university. I could barely get out of bed, not to mention driving a 30mile round trip to university, concentrating and doing all my final assignments. After a teary meeting in the course leaders office I decided with so little time left to just go for it and with the help of super-duper friends I somehow managed to achieve two 'firsts' in my final assignments and a 68% final grade.
3. Attending Graduation
Graduation is obviously such a big rite of passage after finishing your degree and I was really upset at the thought of ME taking it away from me and, more importantly to me, my parents. I just wanted to be able to go and enjoy the day for their sakes more than anything and I was so pleased I managed the whole day - in heels!
4. Getting into DIY
I'm not sure how I managed to paint two pieces of furniture but it was a really nice experience setting out to do something, doing it and having something to show for it afterwards. Not always easy these days and the feeling was quite satisfying!
5. Going Out With Friends
It's hard to be a good friend when you have ME which is so upsetting as I really do have such amazing, great friends I love spending time with. Any time this year I've been able to go out and do normal things with my friends has been the best.
6. Seeing Arcade Fire and Lena Dunham
I'm really big into music and Arcade Fire really were one of those bucket list bands for me to see. Even though I was feeling pretty crummy through the show I'm so pleased I was able to go and not let ME hold me back. Seeing Lena Dunham and hanging with my friends Louise and Katie in London was amazing too, it was so fun to be somewhere different.
7. Getting to my Sister's 21st
My sister's 21st birthday party really was a huge 'do' with lots of family from around the country coming and I really didn't want to miss out. After a blip at the beginning (where the room started to spin) I was quite distraught at the prospect of having to go home so I thought "If I'm feeling crap and I'm going to feel crap tomorrow - why don't I give my body something to feel crap about?" and got on the dance floor for the first time in a year - I think I had the most fun of anyone there!
I've probably included the big things of my year but lots of my achievements have been little things - getting out of bed and getting dressed for the day, yours might be too!
I'd like to tag:
Faye - freckles-and-all.com
Hayley - HayleyEszti.com
Lauren - itslittlelaurenslooks.blogspot.com
Meg - meg-says.com
Rachel - smellmyroses.blogspot.com
And anyone else with a blog who would like to do the tag! Sending lots of love and health to you all for the new year.