There’s something that people are saying, that I’ve said even, that I don’t believe.
“When this is over”
“When things get back to normal”
I think that this situation reminds me a lot of first getting ill.
I say first getting ill, my particular combination of improperly healed injury and glandular fever that wouldn’t leave my body theoretically began when I was eighteen and first caught glandular fever. Even then my asthma-having, allergy and eczema riddled body (which I was born with) likely set my immune system up for those circumstances.
But when I say ‘when I first got ill’ I mean when I first noticed I couldn’t shake a bit of a cold properly and had to lie down for weeks afterwards. I was twenty six. I wouldn’t know I had post-viral fatigue for another two years, it would be three years before M-i-L saved my life by making me go to a private physio and we discovered that my pelvis and surrounding area had been under strain for eleven years (since a taekwondo injury which hadn’t actually healed).
The thing is, the physio and specialists etc. put me back into place (I gained half an inch in height which I didn’t know I’d lost). Immediately my twenty nine year old self assumed, as she had done for three years, that this would be fixable, that she could get back to ‘normal’.
The Post-viral fatigue remained.
I’m now thirty eight, I’ve had good days and bad days. I’ve kept trying to get healthier, sometimes it works, sometimes my immune system can’t be having with it and I spend months on the sofa or in bed.
FJ once told me, back when we were still hillwalking, that he didn’t get why my explanations of what was going on with my body kept changing. I explained that the doctors kept giving different opinions on how chronic fatigue works.
The thing is, I’m nearly forty now, the normal I remember, that was the normal of a woman in her mid-twenties.
People keep talking about ‘when this is over’ and we absolutely need plans to drive us forwards but… well… this is going to take a long time and I’m not convinced that ‘normal’ is going to be how you remember it.
Perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps my experiences are simply that, mine. This cannot be universalized, but it does feel so very like when I got ill.