Hanging in

I’ve taken the day off from work, reporting in as sick. It’s not that I’m particularly unwell, just very rundown. I seem to have been reporting that for months, but if you never do anything about it, then it won’t change. I need to replenish. One day isn’t going to do it, but it’s better than forcing myself to work.

Most days, I feel off to some degree; it just varies by degree. As I’ve reported previously, I have persistent stomach problems. For the last 8-9 months, I wake up feeling quite uncomfortable, some days worse than others. Sometimes it fades within an hour or two. Sometimes it takes longer. It’s pretty low-level but persistent.

My head gets foggy, too, though I don’t know if that’s for lack of sleep or otherwise. Pretty well always, I have that sense of ‘tired eyes’. Mostly I feel a subtle pressure around the back of my head and to the forehead as if I’ve worn a cap – or skullcap – too tight for my head. Again, more inconvenient than painful, though it wears me down. And there’s the ‘awareness’ in my shoulder blades and back of my neck, like when you have a cold.

None of this by itself is serious enough to keep me from work, which is probably part of the problem. Working from home means that you show up to your desk on those occasions when otherwise you’d have made the call to stay home. I soldier on through the week, turning up to my desk, but come the weekend, it feels as if it hits me harder when I relax. Some weekends I feel totalled.

I don’t think there’s anything serious. I suspect it’s probably a lot of little things rather than one thing and that most of it could be filed under burnt-out. But, I can’t go on like this – there’ll come the point when I’ll fail.

I went to the doctor last week. I don’t have a lot of faith in him. He’s a nice enough sort of guy but a bit timid when it comes to making a call. I feel as if I need to feed him ideas and remind him that he’s the expert. He seeks my permission when I want him to be decisive and confident. That’s why you have experts – to make the decisions you’re not qualified to make.

He sent me for a few tests – an ultrasound on my stomach, a blood test, and a urine sample. I also had an x-ray on my left hand – I think I might have arthritis developing there (which comes after a very innocuous fall a few years ago).

I wonder how much of what I’m experiencing. I know there’s a bit of a feedback loop between the physical and psychological in some circumstances, and this is one, I think. If I got my body right then, I think my mind would clear quite a bit also. And if some of the uncertainty was taken from me, I think I’d feel fresher in the body.

The fact remains, I’m tired and I think I need a rest or, better still, a break.

I suspect what I’m experiencing is probably quite common. When I was in the office last week, I caught up with one of the managers, who’d returned from a couple of months of leave given to him by the company. What he described was similar to what I’m experiencing. The whole Covid thing got to him mentally, at which time he got sick also, and then, near the end, picked some infections that prolonged his break by another couple of weeks.

In a way, I envied him. At least he got to have a break. That was never a possibility for me because there’s no one else who can do my job at what is a very critical time. It was never an option given to me.

I don’t know if I’d get much out of sitting at home for 6-8 weeks. I’m sure I’d replenish some of my physical stocks and get some energy back, but what I really need is a change of scene. My mind needs to freshen up as well.

By instinct, my memory harks back to the days when I’d hoist a pack on my back and head off to some foreign place. I’d mix with exotic cultures and wrap my tongue around foreign languages and immerse myself in a world different from my own. I’d explore and have adventures, hop on and off trains and busses, mix with the locals in their bars, eat their food and make my way to the places important to them. I was ever myself, independent and resourceful, totally engaged and very much alive.

It seems to me that’s the ideal therapy for what ails me. Of course, it’s pretty well the one thing impossible at this moment.

I’ll make the best of it, and try and find a way.

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