I booked tickets to a gig today. It kind of seems like madness. I’m feeling kind of depressed. I’m having a flare-up in symptoms. I cancelled going out on Thursday because I wasn’t up to it. Simple things seem overwhelming. A heavy-metal gig doesn’t seem like the smartest plan does it?
Maybe or maybe not. I’ve found it useful to book a future event when I’m feeling very low or depressed. Not too far in the future but far enough away that there is a realistic chance of feeling better. It is an act of faith in myself. I’m saying I know I will get through this.
I also think it’s important every so often to do something stupid and unsuitable and see what happens. I worry that if I only do things that seem sensible and safe my world will shrink and shrink. I’m a natural coward so it’s important that I challenge myself every so often and give myself the chance at least to surprise myself. I need to make an active effort to keep myself from retreating.
I believe this only works for me because I have a small number of supportive people around me who have made an effort to understand chronic illness. They encourage me to enjoy myself and take the occasional risk. They’ll help me out on the night and look after me with no resentment if it doesn’t turn out as well as I hope. I can’t imagine I’d have the confidence otherwise.
I also need their encouragement to get past the idea that if I’m well enough to go to a gig then I should be well enough to do everything else. I don’t think that’s an appropriate attitude for any kind of chronic illness or disability. It’s probably not helpful with short term illness. It makes a world of difference to have a partner and close friends who understand that chronic illness is different from short-term illness. It’s possible to put in extra effort occasionally but not to sustain that level of activity in the long run. At other times it’s possible to do something for a short while, but you’ll pay for it later. They realise that a long-term illness is also different in another way. Deferring fun activities until you’re capable of maintaining all the other areas of your life could mean no fun for a very, very long time. And that is a bad way to live.
I realise Viking heavy-metal isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea but I’m glad to have something to be excited about (just as soon I’m ready to feel excited about anything).