I wrote the following on a Facebook Group for people with ME/CFS:
May I share one of my pet angsts?
Folk who don’t turn up on time! Today it’s my solicitor.
I prepare myself carefully for the appointed hour. You all know what that involves. As the minutes tick away afterwards, I can neither rest nor do anything else besides behave like a meerkat sentry.
Now 28 minutes and counting…..
I received a lot of supportive, empathetic replies from folk who understood my predicament, the finite nature of my resources and the knock-on effect for my health. There were a couple of unexpected replies that took me aback a bit and got me thinking. One chap said: ‘ you’ve a Type A personality, google it’ and another lady kindly outlined her strategies for filling in the time when other people are late: reading, knitting and so on.
So, if this lady can calmly adopt distraction strategies, why can’t I? Is it a product of my personality? Can I make any changes to benefit me?
It then struck me that, for the majority of my adult life, being prepared and alert has served me very well. I’m accustomed to getting in the zone, putting on my game face and gearing myself up to respond to all possibilities. Quite literally putting on the war paint as it was a standing joke in the office that ‘Mary must have a tricky meeting today, she’s wearing red lipstick!’
Similarly, at home, with sole responsibility for 3 children, being alert and responsible at all times was entirely appropriate and useful.
And there is nothing wrong with this whatsoever.
Only, I haven’t worked now for over 4 years and my youngest is now 14 and can manage most things himself 😉
Being in a very alert state drains energy rapidly, introduces adrenaline and can be sustained for variable but always limited periods of time before I start to struggle in a variety of increasingly unpleasant ways. Then there’s the recovery…..
I think becoming aware of this is the first step to doing something about it. It would benefit me enormously to keep relaxed no matter who’s visiting and whether they’re on time or not. At the moment, I’ve no grand plan as to how I’m going to reverse decades of ingrained behaviour but I guess I’ll start on it with my next meeting tomorrow.
All ideas, comments, thoughts and suggestions are very welcome!