To be able to put words to the pain is the beginning of liberation.
Jean Vanier — Seeing Beyond Depression.
It’s wonderful to feel some energy within myself again for writing. Feeling enthusiasm about anything at all is something that has eluded me for some time.
Reading the blog you might see posts and projects and think I’m still the upbeat whirlwind I was in my youth. But truthfully, somewhere along the last few years I fell into a crack and have found it terribly difficult to crawl back out.
Middle-age, menopause, post-dengue fatigue syndrome — I’m not really sure. But it’s felt like my confidence has been pulled away — like it was an invisible cloak I had been wearing for years without even knowing it was there.
It can be difficult to throw yourself into your work (or anything at all) when you don’t feel anything except an overarching sense of purposelessness — and you’re tired all the time.
When I had Dengue in March 2016 I read that many people infected with Dengue suffer long bouts of anxiety, fatigue and depression. I remember scoffing at that.
I don’t now though. For more than 3 years I’ve been trying to make-it as a full-time freelance writer while battling daily fatigue that makes it impossible to get through more than an hour or two of writing without getting into bed for a sleep. Sleep that can last the whole day.
For someone who went to gym 7 days a week (and sometimes twice a day), it’s been terribly upsetting. What happened to the high-energy girl who needed very little sleep, ran half-marathons, and bushwalked for days? How could she have turned into someone who spends nearly the whole day sedentary — if not sleeping, then sitting or lying down?
I haven’t really shared this with anyone until now — I’ve been terribly embarrassed about sleeping all the time. We have this thing about ‘laziness’ in the west, so I’ve just been avoiding everyone. Just google laziness and look at the pictures. But it’s harder to play it down when Jerry just sighs ‘Tita Mel, you’re gonna sleep again, you never play with me‘. Then you can’t sleep — because you feel guilty about needing to sleep. Then you need more sleep.
It’s only recently I’ve been able to give myself a break — stop beating myself up for wanting to sleep, and accept the fatigue as something my body must have needed. And strangely over the past months I’ve been starting to regain a little bit of my energy again.
Lately in fact, there have been more days in the week where I haven’t needed a nap at all. And more writing is leaving my keyboard. And my mind is filling with ideas again. And I’m managing a few short gym sessions or a small walk.
And it’s feeling wonderful to be at my writing desk feeling alive — catching up on client projects, putting neXtDRAFT back on the publishing calendar. And throwing myself into this writing life. I think I wrote this whole piece without a yawn.