The Down Days

I want to start by saying that I thought about this post for a while before posting it. I wasn’t sure if I should be optimistic instead, and showing hope that things will get better. But in my first post, I said I hoped that someone somewhere may read my blog and find some of what I’ve experienced resonates with them. And that means the bad as well as the good. When I’ve good stuff to write about, that’ll be here too. But not today.

My plan for this post was to write about my symptoms and how my Graves’ disease was diagnosed – something informative. But I’m sat here in tears, frustrated and angry, unable to move, with a sense of dread about everything, and nobody around me understands why. So I thought it was best to write about that instead.

I hate being honest with my feelings and in person I can’t do it. I can’t say what I want to say when someone’s looking at me, waiting for a response. I shut down and go silent because my brain won’t process what I’m feeling quickly enough for me to respond. I don’t mean to ignore people, I’m not trying to dismiss what you’re saying – I just don’t know the answers you want. And the more I’m asked, the more upset and guilty I feel for not being able to respond.

Yesterday was a good day. I judged the North East Championship Final in Hull, and it was a relatively stress-free experience. I loved it. The talent on stage, being around people I respected and watching my beautiful students perform. I was happy yesterday. I was still happy this morning.

Judging at North East Pole and Aerial Championship yesterday! (I’m last on the right)
Photo by Cornel at Fotocad

But now I’m exhausted. My body hurts and I just want to sleep, but my mind is refusing to let me. I feel guilty for eating so much cheesecake this morning when I’m now incapable of training this afternoon. Today I’ve gone back to feeling useless and inconsequential. Like the last few months of progress were a waste of time because in the grand scheme of things, I can’t be relied upon to function. I’m broken.

And I’m frustrated that people don’t seem to understand.

When I explain to people about Graves and hyperthyroidism, they initially seem to get it. They are very sympathetic. And in all honesty I find the sympathy uncomfortable, because I don’t want it. I don’t want people to look at me and feel sorry for me. It makes me feel weak and even more useless. But at least they seem to realise I’m not just being lazy and awkward.

But then they seem to forget. It’s like they think that because I’m on medication, things should be OK, that I should be OK now. And when I say I’m not, sometimes I get the response: ‘Maybe you should go back to the doctors.’ But there’s nothing else the doctors can do at this point. My medication is trial and error at the moment, and the dosage still isn’t right. I’m having regular blood tests to try and get it right. But it’s not there yet, and it won’t be for a long time. But even when it is sorted, I’ll still have days when I feel like this. When I feel depressed and low and my body defeats me.

When I say I’m tired, I’m not just tired. I’m exhausted. It’s like the feeling you get just before you have full-blown flu. Where your head hurts and your eyes hurt. And you feel like you just want to go to bed and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. Except I can’t sleep, because my mind won’t let me. It’s full of guilt.

I feel guilty for being useless and that everyone else is having to pick up the slack. I feel guilty for letting myself down and not doing all the things I want to. For not being able to train and not being able to work. I feel guilty for needing other people to teach my classes again, especially as I know that when I do go back, I’m going to hate the fact that people are automatically asking others for help instead of me. Because I haven’t been around.

And I feel paranoid that people are going to be talking about me and judging me. I feel like everyone is going to be talking and laughing because I’m like this and I’m never going to have the strength and ability that everyone else has, and they’re all going to be talking about how stupid I am even trying anymore. That I’m pathetic doing the basics over and over again. I feel like people think I’m a fraud for even trying to teach because they can’t see the knowledge I have, because my body won’t do anything anymore.

Yesterday was a good day, but it seems I can’t have those without life evening them out with days like today.

I don’t want people to read this and feel sorry for me. I feel guilty enough for feeling as down as I do because I know people who have it so much harder. They don’t ever have pain-free days with lots of energy. And I’m sorry to those people for feeling sorry for myself.

But I’m also fed up with the ‘Pull yourself together, we all get tired’ attitude. Because it’s not the same kind of tiredness. And I can’t just pull myself together physically or mentally. It doesn’t mean I’m not trying. It means this is how things are for me right now. And if you empathise with anything I’ve said here, then I hope it helps to know you’re not the only one.

Published by aerialemma

I'm a 40 year old aerial arts and pole dance instructor who has recently been diagnosed with Graves' Disease

2 thoughts on “The Down Days

  1. I want to reach out and send a huge hug and tell you that I get you. I get what you’re saying and how you’re feeling, so so much.

    No pity from me though, I hate the pity parties too, when people start to pity me I say ‘fuck off, don’t pity me, my life is ace!’ but it’s taken a long time to get to this.

    I’m not going to try and tell you how to overcome this, because what works for me will not necessarily work for you or anyone else, but I will tell you that I’m here, and I’m hearing you.

    Writing his blog is great and I hope it helps you make sense of some of what is happening. I look forward to reading more.

    Take care xxx


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