It’s that time of year again. And I don’t mean Chris Rea starting his drive home for Christmas at the stroke of midnight on Halloween, Ho-Ho-Ho.
No, what I mean is: every October my ME gets a little worse and I start wracking my brain to figure out:
1. What did I do ‘wrong’?
2. What has happened lately that was ‘too much’ for me?
3. When did I ‘push myself’ harder than I should?
Because of course, my first instinct is to blame myself. I mean seriously, wtf is that about? It’s not MY fault I have M.E (although some days I may also question the truth in that – idiot that I am), and it’s definitely not my fault if trying to live as close to a ‘normal’ life ends up making it worse.
Still, M.E does SUCH a fabulous job of making ourselves – (and sometimes others) – bonafide experts in ‘patient-blaming’. Despite a wealth of research demonstrating the biological nature of M.E – the lack of diagnostic test or treatments, medical neglect, and decades of stigma suggesting this illness is ‘all in the mind’ … makes it so easy to feel like maybe we’ve somehow brought our suffering on ourselves.
Meanwhile, M.E just sits in the corner of the room, guilty as sin, doubled over and clutching its belly, laughing SO hard at us, tears streaming down its ugly little face, because it’s so fucking hilarious to watch us all play the blame game – with the finger often pointed directly at the sick person.
I feel like my life is no busier in October than any other month of the year. So, why the annual deterioration? Is it the colder weather? It makes no sense to me why the change in season should impact my M.E. Yet, it seems to be the only explanation.
I hate that I always get worse in winter, because I feel like people will think it’s a mood thing, rather than a physical thing. When in reality, I will happily go stomping around in the pissing rain or snow if I have the energy. I’ve never let ice-cold toes and frizzy ‘hat hair’ stop me from jumping in muddy puddles with my son, throwing autumn leaves around that dogs have probably pissed on, or lobbing snow balls at Pete. There’s just as much fun to be had in the colder months as the warm ones.
So, who knows. Thankfully, I can generally still get out and do fun stuff in winter – it’s just harder, and takes more preparation and recovery time.
And, as I have to remind myself each year … that’s okay.
How does the weather impact your M.E?