After more than 4 months of non-stop battling and being away from work for more than 2, I’ve come to several realizations.
I am generally someone who is used to setting schedules. Complete task A by next week, achieve task B in 2 days. That sort of thing. I like milestones. It’s just my programmer’s/management instincts at work. Progress has to be in the form of something trackable so I feel more encouraged.
But apparently, you can’t force a schedule on your body’s recovery.
I’ve aimed to “get well by June”. Didn’t work. “Okay, two more weeks to settle things.” Didn’t work either. “Okay, I give it until end of July.” Nope, nope, nope. The fever continued and I got more and more frustrated.
Eventually, I decided to let my body set its own pace. And I put myself into zen mode. Stop forcing my body, stop overthinking, overanalyzing. Just do what I need to do to help – complete rest, lots of water, meds.
Instead. I set schedules on my action plans. If I don’t feel better in 5 days, do X. If minimal improvement in 2 weeks, do Y.
X and Y may or may not help. Usually it doesn’t. But at least, it’s some semblance of control. This whole thing was seemingly out of my control and I didn’t like it.
Not giving up, and looking forward to better days.
Though it’s getting a little harder, considering how it’s been 2 months and counting.
I’m pretty much home-ridden now. And no matter how I had sought to make my room my ‘ultimate hang out spot’ much earlier this year, I realized it’s possible to get absolutely sick of it.
Work kept me going for a while, until I found it difficult to navigate stairs. After 3 close-to-passing-out moments in and around the office, I made the difficult decision to work from home.
Many a time, I find myself missing my normal life.
Going to work every weekday like a regular person.
Having the freedom to just get out of the house to walk anywhere I want, whenever I want.
Having regular conversations with people that do not revolve around health and “eh, what happened to you?”.
I’m still trying to psych myself into thinking that there is a good side to all these. Like hey, you still CAN work (albeit from home). You have not lost your mental capacity to write amazing code. You’re still making a worthwhile contribution to society. (As for the mental capacity to think rationally, well … that’s rather debatable now.)
And the fact that mum and I are much, much closer than before. She’s been really supportive the past 2 months and a half, taking me out for drives when I whine about being too bored at home, spending all her free time with me in the hospital when I was admitted, stocking the house with ample supplies of isotonic drinks and uh, comfort food.
Not to mention how much I prefer to be alone right now and home is the perfect place for me to get all reclusive. (And I’m still pretty much ignoring all my texts as well – sorry, friends. Really. Don’t. Want. To. Talk. About. It.)
And that every day is a step closer to full recovery (I hope). I still feel like crap now but I guess I just have to be patient.
I’ve been actively pushing people away the past month and a half.
And I know people are getting increasingly exasperated. I’m sorry, but let me explain.
I used to be really open about things. To share with my friends exactly what is going on. I even detailed my health updates publicly in a blog as a form of release. My friends were my confidants, and I relied on them for emotional support.
Perhaps a little too much.
In 2010, I made a grave mistake. I had opened myself too much and trusted the wrong person. While this person was initially supportive, she soon lost her patience and subsequently made very harsh judgments. Judgments which rang into my ears until today.
I was really hurt. And since then, I stopped trusting.
I’ve stopped talking to anyone on this topic, and chose to rely on no one else but myself for emotional support. (Save for 1-2 close friends, and whining at my parents who I know for sure will not judge me no matter what.)
I’ve stopped letting people see me when when I’m down and under, and whenever I can, I put my strong face forward.
These days, when people broach the topic of my health, I change the subject entirely.
I also realized it’s better this way.
Emotionally, I’m better in touch with my feelings since and accepted the reality that certain conditions are going to be permanent and nothing is going to make it go away. I’m also used to coping on my own, after having done so for 3 and a half years.
Having to constantly account for my hospitalizations/illnesses to people is tiresome, and I’d really prefer not to go into it. I’m fine. I do not want anyone to pity me. And when people know too much, it inevitably opens a can of unsolicited medical advice (which I absolutely cannot stand).
And of course, I do not want my poor health to be top-of-mind recall when people see me. Let’s talk about happier things.
I’ve turned down several requests for hospital/home visitations. Because I know for sure we are going to (inevitably) talk about my health. I’m sorry, but I really don’t feel like talking about it. Plus, I am no longer comfortable with people seeing me when I’m weak. Let’s meet when I feel better. I’m no fun when I’m down.
I’ve ignored countless messages on Whatsapp. I’m sorry. I know you guys are worried, but I’d like you to know that I am handling things just fine and you don’t have to worry about me.
Please give me time. The crazy one will be back soon.