Bad night. Couldn’t sleep. Feel exhausted and cranky. Don’t want to do anything. Snarl at anyone who looks at me. Have had two cups of strong coffee. Didn’t help. Want to go back to bed, pull the blankets over my head and oblivion. Know that wouldn’t help. My co-houser tiptoes around me.
It’s only one day, you might say. So? That’s one whole day out of my life. I don’t know how many I will have. Don’t want to waste one. Anyway, I don’t like feeling like this- edgy, scratchy, everything too hard, screaming inside at anything I try to make myself do.
Some sort of irony? One day I write about how wonderful life is when I’ve slept well, the next I want to scratch and snarl and bite and write about how bad I feel because I haven’t slept.
Yes, it is only one day and it will pass, but how do I get through it? I don’t want to feel like this all day.
Force myself to have a shower, admit grudgingly I do feel a bit better. Might be able to do something. I put on some Lullabies- soothing and serene. Maybe I’ll do some gardening. Having my hands in the earth is soothing and consoling. The Amish say that having your hands in the earth is when you are closest to God- that must mean I’d be sweet and kind. And gardening doesn’t require much energy, only walk downstairs, put on some gardenng gloves and sit near a garden bed. I know I’ll feel better, but… I’m folding my arms, stamping my foot, pushing out my chin…well, not literally, but I would if I was six! I feel like being six, stamping about, growling, knocking things over…
All right. I will do some gardening and I’ll phone the rehabilitation centre and book a session in the hydrotherapy pool. Hot water and gentle exercise, followed by a time suspended in the water, wearing a weights belt and a flotation ring. Yum. It’s the best feeling. Completely relaxed. There’ve been times when I’ve almost fallen asleep.
Haven’t seen my friends there for a few months. There’s P who hit a tree, late one night, at around 100 kms. Brain damage with physical results- some paralysis, some slight speech slurring. Works hard at his rehab, visits the pool three times each week. Says it helps. There’s B, don’t know what happened to her, maybe arthritis. She isn’t elderly, uses a walker, finds it difficult even to get into the pool. There’s C, a farmer, had an accident in the dairy and injured his back. He can no longer farm, desperately wants to work. And there’s A, just reaching adolescence, severe Cerebral Palsy, adores the water. It helps with muscle spasm. His carers joke around, as does the man responsible for the pool. Can’t help being cheered by a visit. The atmosphere is always friendly, supportive, we’re a gang. It’s fine to whinge, no one minds and we’ll end up feeling better. I worry about them when I haven’t been able to go. Has P become gloomy and despondent? His long marriage ended last year. How is B managing? She lives with her aged mother and finds it difficult at times. Has A become more spasmed, less mobile, smiling less?
I have a bet with the pool manager. We both need to lose weight, so we have challenged each other, have regular weigh-ins. Last time I was there, he had lost seven kilograms. I had put on four! Comes from having made friends, having regular lunches and women who bring home-made cakes to book club. Churlish to refuse to eat it. And after all, I believe that any food made with love, is beneficial.
There was a time, after a deeply unsettling and distressing experience, when a dear friend took me to the beach for a picnic- a salad he had prepared. We had a swim, sat on the beach and ate it. I was teaching quite a distance from home so was staying with other friends that night. The wife, fastidious and obsessive about what she ate, reacted with horror to the loving kindness of my picnic. ” But you didn’t eat it?” she said.
Of course I did. It had been prepared with great compassion and love. Nothing about it would hurt me.
I’m feeling better! I can survive the day and I’m enjoying it. It’s a sublime one, a day of sunshine after rain. Clouds in a blue sky, a warm sun that’s not too hot, and a cool, gentle breeze. Perfect day for catching up on the washing or even better, sitting outside with a book. I thank my co-houser for her forbearance. A plump, snarling woman is not a pretty sight.
Maybe I’ll take a sleeping tablet tonight.
I’ll get there, I have the tools for better sleep, I know it won’t happen instantly. It’s exercise and mindfulness meditation. Some yoga. Some time being merry.
And acceptance- after all, it is only one day.