Lately, when I see someone walking, I get panicky.
Each step is so small, and it seems like they probably have a long way to walk. Maybe they’re shopping, maybe they’re walking along the side of the road. Either way, what they’re doing seems to me like an impossible task. The weight of that impossible task feels like an ocean on my back. I have so much to do, and so little strength to do any of it.
I don’t walk much. For various health reasons, a ten-minute walk can leave me crippled for a fortnight. It’s been like this for years now, and I can’t remember what it was like to be healthy.
No, I do.
I remember a family holiday, when I was a teenager. We stayed somewhere with a pool, and I jumped into the delicious clear water almost the second we arrived. I might have still been fully dressed, except for kicking off my shoes. I remember thinking how I was young, and healthy, and how easy it was to move through the water.
I also remember a window of maybe two months, when I was an adult and healthy. Louisette was about six months old, and my back had just stopped hurting from that first pregnancy. I was in love with her, high on hormones, and my body felt strong. For the first time in over ten years, I wasn’t mentally ill. I remember feeling so powerful when I picked her up out of her car seat, and how good that felt. I remember not being afraid of what the day would bring.
That window of good health ended when my hip fell out of joint one day, and it hurt hurt hurt for months. (After that I had bronchitis, and then I hurt my back, and then I realised I wasn’t getting better and I talked Chris into letting me jump into a second pregnancy so I could get the whole pregnancy thing over with.)
I remember changing a pooey nappy in the back of the car as I took myself to a free post-natal physio and rain and hail fell on my back while Louisette screamed at me. I remember applying for a babysitting job and trying desperately to mask the agony as the mother proudly invited me up the stairs to see the rest of their million-dollar house. (I succeeded, too: I got the job and I enjoyed it. Of course my ability to babysit is over now. Just this year I tried to look after my beloved nieces for a few hours while my sister was at my grandfather’s funeral, and I ended the day screaming at strangers and throwing things.)
Today’s a bad day brain-wise. I’m wading through mud and I hate everyone I see.
The up side is that when a day is so moustachio-twirlingly bad, it’s obvious that my brain is messing with me. I can’t delegate everything, but I can delegate some stuff, and I already have. It’s so operatically bad that, for the moment, the fact that I brushed both my hair and teeth today counts as a win.
The down side is that the ocean is still there pressing down on me. It’ll be there tomorrow, and the next day, and if I don’t manage to trick my brain into letting me be semi-functional ASAP there is plenty more for me to lose than just one miserable day.
Merry f*cking Christmas, everyone.