Hermit Leaves the Cave

Me (on the left) at my besties’ Wedding last year (2016)

I have been off work on and off for the best part of a year with my mental health. 

It was all triggered by first one, then another Consultant telling me there isn’t a fix for my chronic back pain, and that I will be in pain for the rest of my life. 

As my pain is caused by arthritis and two discs in my spine that have disintegrated completely, the condition will get worse as I get older. 

I have to walk with a stick currently, and I don’t know if I will end up in a wheelchair by the time I am 50.

I am 34 now, single, living alone and I feel like my future is a black hole of uncertainty. 

People say, “Well everyone’s future is uncertain, anyone could end up in a wheelchair.”

Yes that is true, but the chances are more in your favour that you won’t, whereas they are more in favour that I will. 

Not to mention the fact that regardless, I will spend the rest of my life – barring a miracle cure for arthritis – in pain. 

I am not able to walk far at all and any movement causes me a lot of pain, even with the morphine and pregablin painkillers I am on. 

Obviously the news hit me pretty hard. Until that point I had hope that there was something the consultant would be able to do. I felt like my hope had been taken away. 

Consultants in my experience care only for their specific part they are working on. For example, I had injections into my spine, (anaesthetic and steroids),and they didn’t work. The consultant wondered why I was sobbing hysterically when he told me there was nothing more he could do, (despite the fact he initally offered at least 4 treatment options we could try). 

Well, the reason was that not only had he just told me I would spend the rest of my life in excruciating pain, but I realised, that, or felt that, my life was effectively over. 

After all, who would want to date someone who is constantly in pain, hardly able to walk, constantly exhausted, so spends all of their time sleeping?Who would want that? I can’t go on typical dates. I have to plan everything ahead if I go anywhere. It’s not exactly an inviting situation to enter into. 

That also meant in my head that I would never have children, probably never get married and would end up dying alone and in pain. 

That all flashed through my head as he told me this, that and the fact I am struggling now. I can’t manage the housework, I can’t manage to cook properly (which I love), I struggle getting dressed and having a bath (I don’t have a shower), I am struggling at work, how long will I be able to work? How will I afford to live when I am forced to stop working? 

All this went through my head in true anxiety sufferer style, and he sat and asked me why I was crying!

I have been working really hard trying to come to terms with this. It has helped talking to people in the same situation on Instagram. I really could do with a therapist who specialises in people with chronic pain. Even if there was a support group for people my age being told they are disabled. I have yet to find one and my doctor didn’t know of one. 

I have been mostly housebound for the majority on last year and this year so far because of this. 

Depression hit me hard and my anxiety has been so bad, that at times I have been unable to leave the house for weeks at a time. 

Occasionally I manage to get the courage to go out. Usually out of necessity. 

My new anti-depressants have boosted my mood and lowered my anxiety levels, so when I have been well enough (see previous article), I have tried to get outside.

So, I am meeting my boss for coffee this afternoon. I am really anxious about it, but at the same time, I am looking forward to going out to one of my favourite cafés and catching up.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I will continue fighting and trying to get my life back. 

Thank you for reading

Love love love

The Faraway Girl 💜

This is me age 26 doing a photo shoot for my photographer friend 💜

Me around age 28 playing guitar at a friend’s acoustic gig. 


Brain Fog

Is it really Tuesday already? The days just blend into a blur as the weeks race by and I am mostly unaware of what day it is. 

There is a thing known as ‘Brain Fog’

Brain Fog is the feeling where your head feels like it is full of clouds (mostly thunderous ones). You are unable to think clearly, concentrate or remember the simplest of things. 

I get this frequently. I am on a lot of medication for depression and also strong painkillers (morphine being one of them) for my chronic back pain. While the medication definitely goes towards the whole brain fog experience, they are not solely to blame. 

Anxiety and depression each enjoy messing with your head in more ways than one. They both contribute to this feeling of not being able to remember the word for ‘spoon’ or ‘pebble’, or walking into a room and not remembering why you are there and in fact being in the wrong room to start with. 

It is an unnerving feeling being 34 years old and feeling like you are losing your mind. I suppose it would be at any age, but I still feel like I am young (technically at least). I should be able to remember my friends’ names without having to do a mental scan for two minutes every time I try and think of them! 

It is of course hard to think at all when you are tired. I have a condition called chronic fatigue syndrome – it pretty much does what it says on the tin. My very bones are exhausted, or at least that is how it feels. If I do any activity, say make some breakfast, I will need to have a serious nap afterwards – I wish I was joking – it just saps the little energy I have away from me. 

I get so frustrated sometimes. It is infuriating not being able to remember the simplest of things. I know they are in there somewhere, I know that I have this information stored in my brain, but it’s like I have the wrong password and there is just a big ‘access denied’ sign flashing on the screen. 

I have yet to find a way around this. I do a lot of reading, I write a Journal and now of course, my blog, I try and keep my brain as active as possible, since I can’t be physically active,however, doing my job has been hard. 

I have very high standards for myself when it comes to my work, either as a musician or my day job as a customer advisor. It is so hard going from being a very high performing person to not even working at half the performance rate and not hitting my targets. I do think it is largely down to this ‘Brain Fog’, I have to check everything I do three or four times over to make sure I haven’t forgotten something. 

I am off work sick at the moment after a breakdown, so I don’t have that self-imposed pressure of targets and performance. I do worry about it every now and again. When I go back to work, I don’t know how to achieve what I want and need to. I will keep reading articles and trying new things until I find something that works to give me that password to my brain archives back.