Pushing on

I’ve just got off the phone from the office, having tentatively agreed to return to work in February on a part-time basis.

I don’t know if my physical state is much advanced on what it was a couple of months ago – perhaps I’m a bit stronger? – but as our esteemed PM keeps telling us, we have to learn to live with it. At this point, I’ve said I can do three hours a day/15 weekly. All going well that can be increased in March. Given the limited hours, I’ll be focussing on specific tasks rather than general.

I’m curious to see how I go. I’ve spoken before of how I have no interest or motivation for work, having faced down death. I expect that will pass, but it’s a real thing for now.

What’s real also is that I don’t have the energy or enterprise generally, which is a bit disturbing. I’m tired, I’m in pain, I’m deaf in one ear and walk with a limp, so perhaps it’s unsurprising that I don’t have that drive. And, I still don’t know if I’ve made it through the woods – whether I’ll survive this or not. Still, it feels foreign and unwelcome. I’m used to doing things. Used to striving for something. It was a part of my identity, but with so much of my identity disrupted – most likely permanently – it makes sense that my sense of purpose has diminished also.

The best way to illustrate that is this blog and how rarely I post anything. These days it’s a chore, something I have to do, whereas before it was a vital means of expression for me. Then, I bubbled over with ideas and words. Not now, though I still have strong opinions (which I can’t be bothered sharing).

As someone who has been working on writing a couple of novels in his spare time over the last few years, you might think this was a great opportunity to put more time into those. But no. I’ve written nary a word. It’s not that I’ve lost interest – what I’ve lost is the sense of enterprise and discovery. I feel mentally spent, with nothing left for acts of creation.

Surely some of that is physical and presumably will change with time. However, I also think that having a serious illness has changed my perspective and the nature of my creative thought.

In my situation, you tend to live day by day. There’s little sense of the future and little point to it, really when you’re not even sure if you’ll be around for it and what state you’ll be in, presuming you are. It’s very confused. You deal with the circumstances of the moment, resting as you need to, taking painkillers 24/7 and attending medical appointments. You drift. Until you feel well again and get the all-clear, all bets are off.

My imagination feels like an indulgence in this situation and has slipped down the list of priorities. If I forced myself, I’m sure I could be just as creative as ever, but I don’t have the energy for it.

This is one reason I’ve started being more proactive in my recovery process. I need a sense of control. I hate being passive. I’ve had a physio appointment and have referrals for a psychologist and hearing specialist. And now I’ve organised a return to work. That’s where it’s at, I feel: I need to force things.

I still don’t know what lies ahead, but I’m through with relying on hope. It’s easy to do nothing, but that makes me aimless. The world doesn’t stop, nor should I.

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