Saturday, 16 June 2012

Flotsam and Jetsam

Yesterday provided me examples of  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and "lightening ship", jetsam being the things deliberately thrown overboard and flotsam the stuff just washed away.

And without the first  I suspect there will just be more of the second, more messily, though deliberate abandonment doesn't come that easily.
It's been an eighteen month process, and I'm not sure I've finished shedding, yet (looking round, rather concerned, for anything else remaining, not actually vital, that could be  pushed overboard).

Paid work had gone before the CFS appeared* due to pre-existing illness.  Taking my trains to model railway exhibitions went first: turning down invitations was hard when it was a big area of fun and reward, and a good part of my social life in terms of meeting people.
But the model maintenance work, the travel and the being "on show" was clearly becoming too much of an ask.   Splash.

Voluntary work at two youth-clubs for teenagers on the autistic spectrum.  Splash.
Keeping the garden in order, (it has trains too).  Splash.
Two committee places with Cornwall council, contributing to their development of services for autism.  Splash.
Standards of housework... cut back
Internet groups and forums... culled.  Splash, splash.

Some activities simply got washed away: reading is far too tiring to pursue in any degree, and this in a house with over a thousand books.
Similarly most computer games.

It's becoming a lighter ship, but a very bare one.
Meals have got to be quick and easy to prepare.
Clothing, "low attention": sweater and jogger bottoms, usually.

So what do you do when you can't really do anything?  It's a challenge even if domestic necessities eat up far more of the day's energy and concentration than might be conceived.

Old Punch cartoon (and not from  Satchel Paige at all!)

Vicar's wife: (sympathysingly) "Now that you can't get about, and are not able to read, how do you manage to occupy the time?"
Rustic man: "Well, mum, sometimes I sits and thinks; and then again I just sits."

There's certainly room for more of that, but I've long been accused of "thinking too much".
I've given that charge considerable thought, naturally, but have concluded that while overdosing on thinking is entirely possible, far more often the condition is encountered as a deficiency disease.
I know which risk I'd rather take.

Thinking now comes with a few extra traps to avoid:
brooding, and dwelling on the negative, of course, and handling the decided frustration of hitting upon plans and ideas that cannot be followed through.
I may have an idea or two about that.  And I am still afloat, for now.

(*possibly: it gets complicated: was "burn-out" a precipitating factor, or a precursor?)

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