In addition to remembering to take a picture with Pete in it this time (!!), we did another ‘thing’ as a family recently: a road trip to Oxford for Pete’s cousin’s birthday bash.
Until now, I had never met any of this side of Pete’s family before, as I was simply too unwell with my ME/POTS. Nowadays, my condition has improved, and doors are finally re-opening.
They were SO lovely and welcoming.
I haven’t been to a large social gathering since before getting sick over six years ago. It’s been a looong time. It was FANTASTIC – albeit different to when I was well.
I’ve always been a social butterfly – however, there are things I was worried about at this party, which I never used to be:
a) Chatting standing up (standing still is SO much harder for me than moving around due to blood pooling). Before, I used to just do it. Now, it’s hard to focus on conversations when inside I’m thinking about where I can sit down before I fall down … and how soon.
b) Conversational insecurities. I worry that my conversation skills are pretty crap these days due to years of isolation and brain fog. I sometimes feel as though spending that much time on my own, feeling so unwell, followed by spending all my time with my baby, in combination with the brain fog – has kind of fucked with my ability to think of questions and topics outside of me, Pete and O.
c) Factoring in rest. I went to sit in the car for a little rest at one point, as I could feel myself fading from all the talking. But I felt self-conscious, since we were parked right opposite the venue and people from the party could blatantly see me (the venue doors were wide open). I’d managed to not talk about my health so far, and I was worried about drawing attention to myself by going for a rest. I also didn’t know whether to call it a day, to minimise the symptom payback in the following days, or push myself to stay for the dancing.
… I Stayed.
Me. Dancing. WTF?! I’ve no idea where the energy for that came from, but it was AMAZING!! SO freeing. Six years of struggles temporarily evaporated, and it was just me and my son, busting some shapes on a dancefloor – like normal people do. With other normal people. (Apart from Pete, who steered well clear of the dancefloor. Me and O would have only upstaged him anyway.)
For one day, my soul was set free. It was so lovely and liberating to meet new people and NOT talk about my health conditions for once. I mean, yes, I was conscious of what was going on in my body, and how far I should or shouldn’t push myself. But for the most part, my health didn’t dictate my every movement that day; we had a wonderful family day out, and I THINK I may have actually passed for someone who was ‘well.’
… Go me!
(Obviously my ME flared up over the following week. But not as badly as I’d expected. It was definitely worth the payback!)