Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

It was my birthday on Friday. I turned 30 years old. I’m not worried about aging in the same way that a lot of women are. I’m actually looking forward to having a face covered in lines and creases, and long grey/silver hair flowing down my back. I look forward to having a face that suits my wise, old soul, and a body that looks as fragile as it feels. But when I woke up on my 30th birthday, I rolled over to see my sleepy-faced fiancé who said “Happy Birthday” and kissed me sweetly, we could hear the cat meowing softly outside asking to be let in, and this one intrusive thought pushed its way to the forefront of an otherwise lovely morning; “Where are my children?”

30 is a landmark birthday and, as much as I love my fiancé and my cat, I should have been woken up by little people scrambling onto the bed and yelling “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” in my face at a ridiculous volume. I should have been presented with hand-made cards covered in glitter that gets everywhere for days, and a drawing of unrecognisable shapes that are obviously our happy family. But we don’t have children and, as wonderful as my birthday was, I felt their presence was missing.

I have wanted children since I was 16 years old. I feel like my purpose on this planet is to be a good mother. I never wanted anything else for my life and that’s part of the reason I was so late to make anything of myself. I didn’t want an education or a career, I only wanted to be a mother, so in stead of working hard at school and looking for a job, I spent the years looking for a man to father my children. Wanting to be a good mother though, I wasn’t going to settle for someone who was immature or unstable. I wanted to make sure that my child was given financial and emotional security.

By the time I was 25, I realised that men weren’t always reliable and most my age were still terrified by the idea of having kids. So I came to the conclusion that if I wanted a stable environment to have children in, then I’d have to create it myself. To do that, I would need a well-paid job that had a good amount of security and flexibility so that I could take time off when I needed to, to have and look after my family. To get a job like that I’d need a degree, so I went to uni.

During my time at Uni I met my afformentioned fiancé who just so happened to be mature, dependable and wants children, and we are going to have a family. But college and Uni took 5 years of my life, so here I am at 30 years old celebrating my birthday as a mother without children.

Hopefully, this will be the last one.

Everything Happens for a Reason

Everything Happens for a Reason

I am a person who believes that everything happens for a reason. I have to with everything that has happened to me. If I didn’t then the universe is just cruel and unfair and what’s the point in struggling against the tide? But in stead of hopelessness, I chose to believe that, although I may not know why, and may never know why, the things that occur in my life have to happen in order for some other event to happen that creates balance in the universe. This belief brings me peace of mind and allows me to carry on trying when everything is telling me to give up.

5 years ago I went back to college to do an Access course so I could go to University. Halfway through my college course I got a very severe flu-like illness and never fully recovered. I got M.E. I was still able to complete my course (just about), but was unable to get the work experience required for the University course that I wanted to do. I was rejected from all four of my University choices and left pretty distraught. I was on the verge of giving up when my favourite University offered me a place on a different course. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but it was close and it could lead me to what I wanted to do, so I accepted and went to University.

1 year of that course and my health had deteriorated to the point where I was almost completely bedbound. I was still managing to get the work done (and was getting good grades) but my tyrannical course leader said that if I didn’t show up for class then I would be kicked off of the course. If I was kicked off of the course then I would be kicked out of my campus accommodation, making me homeless. I somehow managed to get a meeting with the leader of another course who said he’d be delighted to take me on. I ended up loving that course and that department and they supported me with my illness so I was able to graduate this year with excellent grades.

If I had been accepted onto the course that I originally wanted to do then I wouldn’t have wasted a year on a terrible course and I would have graduated last year and been in work this year when the virus hit. And what was that course that I wanted to do? Child nursing. Yep, if I hadn’t gotten M.E, I would currently be a Nurse in the NHS right now.

Just saying… everything happens for a reason.

Livin’ on a Prayer

Livin’ on a Prayer

Firstly, apologies to my followers who have had to wait twice as long for this post. I was awaiting some good news to share with you all (for a change), but unfortunately that news hasn’t come yet. So, I’ll talk today about university in stead.

I’ve just finished my second week back and although I love being a student and have enjoyed my classes, I’m still terrified that this pace is not sustainable. This past week has been a particularly stressful one and I feel as though a crash is inevitable, it’s just a question of when.

I attend university three days a week. Two of those days are half days (9-1 or 11-3) but the last day is a full 9am-6pm. Over the summer I also moved home so I no longer live on campus and have a 2 to 2 and a half hour commute each way, depending on traffic. This means that every Friday I have to get up at 5am and I don’t get home until past 8pm. My days are spread out across the week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but second year expects much more from us than first year did, so even on my days off, I feel like I’m not able to fully rest since I have studying to do, not to mention the few household chores I can do and keeping on top of my general health and hygiene.

I’ve also recently begun to worry about what I’m going to do once I finish my course. I won’t be able to hold down a full time job, but who ever heard of a part-time graduate position? Sure, if I already had a job I could negotiate a reduction in hours but how am I supposed to go into the job market at the same time as the rest of the UK’s graduates and convince a company that they should take me on even though I can only do half the work of their other candidates? And the kind of work I want to do is not the kind I can do from home. I mean, there’s always paperwork to be done and I could probably take that home with me, but lab work needs to be done in a lab, under carefully controlled conditions.

So in conclusion, I am stressed. I don’t know if I’ll make it through uni and even if I do, my career prospects look bleak. I feel as though the best I can do is just keep plowing ahead and hope that I find some treatment that allows me to live a half-way normal life.

Hope and Hopelessness

Hope and Hopelessness

I have been planning a different post for you to read, but yesterday the Great North Run was on, so I decided to give you a more emotionally driven post instead.

This time last year I was running. I couldn’t run very far or for very long but it was more than I had ever run in my life before. I got ill around March 2016 and after I’d had enough doctors appointments to know that I wasn’t going to get better any time soon, I decided that I would not let my illness control me or dictate what I could or couldn’t do. So I started an exercise regime. It was simple and easy at first, then got harder and more intense as I grew stronger and more capable. By September 2016 I was running three or four times a week around the local cricket pitch. I was heading off to my first year of University and I had plans. I was going to join the running club, swimming club and play badminton at the weekends. I had bought myself a cheap, collapsible cane just in case but didn’t think I’d actually need it. I had been walking unassisted for months, I was actually fitter then than I had been before the illness arrived.

So I went off to Uni full of hope, comfortable in the knowledge that I had taken control of my illness and I alone would decide what I would or would not do. I joined the running club and signed up for Swimfit sessions, I was playing badminton at the weekends and I felt great. Then November happened. I still cannot say whether it was because I came off of my medication, or if I had simply pushed my body too hard, but either way I succumbed to an almighty crash. My body stopped working the way it should, the way I expected it to. The furthest I could walk was to my bathroom and back, the rest of the day was spent sitting or lying down. I couldn’t even stand in the shower to wash my hair. I was taking Ibuprofen every four hours to keep the pain at manageable levels and I barely slept.

A year on and slowly but surely I have regained a decent amount of my strength and for the most part I am satisfied with my abilities. I can care for myself, go to the shop for things I need, I can study and I can even have the occasional day long outing. Relatively speaking, I am fortunate that I am able to do so much. But yesterday the Great North Run was on T.V and I am reminded of my goals and ambitions. Not only was I going to run a half and full marathon, but there were mountains I planned to climb and lakes that I was going to kayak across. I wanted to play Badminton on the University team and I was going to be a Nurse and travel abroad with Doctors Without Borders. Now my goals include being able to walk without a cane again and enjoying a whole day out without needing a days worth of bed rest to recover. These thoughts sting at the eyes and throat.

I think that staying positive can have its place. I think that seeing obstacles in life as challenges to overcome can make you a stronger person. I also think that there is a time to mourn the loss of dreams that may now never be. I have overcome much already. My past is nothing but boulders and hurdles that I have struggled over and it seems sometimes that the euphoria of having overcome your last challenge acts as a mirage, obscuring from view the minefield ahead. I think that, when the mirage fades and you can clearly see the nightmare that lies ahead, positivity is of no use. I think in a situation like this, all you can do is keeps your eyes down and place one foot in front of the other. “Plodding up the hill” my therapist used to call it. Feel sad for your perceived loss, feel sorry for yourself and your struggles, accept that life is hard and that it may be that way until you die, but keep plodding up that hill anyway.