I often look at the title of my blog and think about “what is it I’m trying to convey?” And am I achieving it. Don’t answer that! Lol!
For many early MEcfs years I couldn’t use technology of any kind. My brain couldn’t cope with the challenge, nor my eyes cope with the visual gymnastics or glare. I eventually signed up for a quarterly magazine from an MEcfs charity. I have to say I found that overwhelming too. As I could barely read any of it.
I often felt very cut off and alone. Apart from my immediate family. And the handful of friends who doggedly kept in touch and who thankfully still do. I also became very well aquainted with the patterns in the artex ceiling of the room I rested and still do rest in.
Several years in, I was ever so gradually able to use a little technology again via an android phone. I was disinclined to seek out support groups relating to ME/cfs. I found the thought of discussing the condition as well as live with it, even more overwhelming. I still struggle with that. Which is why I use humour as an ongoing distraction.
As I have matured and acclimatised, as much as one can with a long term condition, and reclaimed some cognitive function. I came to the point of wanting to and summoning some courage to interact. And eventually to start write a blog. I had dragged myself through so much, it seemed an obvious next step to put that experience to use.
Many Chronic Illness writers are incredibly gifted at sharing research and data. But that’s just not me. I like to be informed, but I also enjoy a distraction from the hard cold facts. And from symptoms. I’ve found acrostics really REALLY helpful on numerous occasions. I’ve talked my mind through many, many days of extreme nausea.
Ok Penny, what does the current social distancing, isolating, quarantine, lock-down scenario have to do with your experience?
Having recently interacted on a post describing fairly active distractions, and being met by nothing but love. I thought I should show some grace and share from a less able perspective without being defensive about it. I hope that’s not interpreted as a #humblebrag.
I guess where many people are right now is wanting to know the facts. But quite honestly, a distraction from the distressing detail is most welcome. People may be feeling alone, cut off and at times overwhelmed. And possibly hesitant of reaching out for support.
Some people may feel that the chronic illness community are currently claiming bragging rights on how we cope with the little understood phenomenon of being homebound. Our gong is finally being clanged. But as one ME peep rightly pointed out recently, we have had years to get used to it. As much as that can be possible. Not that that makes our situation right or acceptable. That discussion is for another day.
Please, don’t be under any illusions of us being complacent. Many of us would happily grap the nearest tea tray and chuck it out of the window. That would be messy and dangerous. But we’d still like to do it.
Adapting to change
So you could say that many communities are being fast tracked into the homebound scenario and maybe feeling a bit panicky about it. Some will cope better than others. There is no right way. Being able to go out for a walk each day, if you’re not in quarantine, will help. Go slowly at points and notice. It will help fill your mind with interest and relax you.
- Has that tree on the corner blossomed yet?
- What tree is it?
- I like the colour of that front door. Going to google that shade.
- Are the blackbirds nesting here?
- Is that infact a Blackbird singing?
- I must remember to give Mrs X at no. 3 my copies of Hello magazine when possible.
- Oh THAT’S where the library bus stops.
- I need a new wheelie bin.
- When did I last play hopscotch?
- I never realised there was a bus stop opposite the chip shop.
- Wave to a neighbour
- Do an accrostic of a street name or feeling.
- Maybe I’ll take a random bus ride one day.
You get the idea – there’s loads. Just within 10 or 20 minutes. I can’t go for walks by the way. Unless being pushed in a wheelchair, but certainly not currently. But on rare car journeys my brain racks up details that keep me going for weeks.
Where there are many people who can fill their time with fabulous creative projects. I bow to their skill and capacity.
I am the queen of finding distractions to help make a day feel productive and worthy of living with compromised cognitive and physical function. These can vary from 1 minute to longer. No not like Hugh Grant in ‘About a Boy’. [Brilliant film by the way.] For a start 30 minutes is too long, and I’m not Hugh Grant. You noticed.
Distractions from Lockdown
Here’s some distractions that are keeping my hope up at the moment.
- Having one of my young folk home and enjoying quality time with them. Priceless.
- Taking it in turns to choose a film or series to watch in the evening.
- Enjoying the birdsong uninterrupted by aircraft flying overhead.
- Filling up the birds adhoc bird bath and water stations.
- Writing. Sometimes.
- Starting journals. One word at a time.
- Keeping a photo log. Maybe.
- Reading. One sentence at a time. Devotionals are good. Short manageable sections.
- Order your next book. Paper/e-book or audio book. I vary depending on which cognitive function is most available.
- Sharing silly memes.
- Messaging friends and family. Intermittently.
- Interacting on support groups.
- Sharing useful local information.
- Compiling treasure hunt lists for food shopping. That in reality has been exhausting. But we now have a routine in place and the added bonus of getting to know more lovely people I’m never likely to meet. Story of my life, lol!
And there’s more…
- Tidying up my craft supplies. Only a little. No, I am still not parting with that 500gm tub of blue glitter. Life needs glitter. Used wisely.
- Healthy snacks and not so healthy snacks.
- Herbal tea. A nice cup and saucer is essential for this beverage celebration, in my humble opinion.
- Giving my companion doggo treats and trying to teach her to curtsey.
- Listening to music and short podcasts.
- Talking with God.
- Gazing out of the window. No, not at the neighbours, that would be weird.
- Emoji quizzes. We have had a hilarious time with that.
- Thinking about how amazing it would be if I physically could do yoga. Or still dance.
- Consequently watching a lot a ballet videos on instagram.
- Being thankful.
- And so on…
So there you have a few suggestions to help distract from Lockdown. There are sure to be many more.
I invite you to ‘leave your worries behind’ with this fab tune!
Stay safe and well & have a blessed day.🌸