Sydney. I'm on a WhatsApp call to the UK at some unearthly hour of the morning, trying to articulate what this most recent set back feels like. I'm struggling to walk as far as the bathroom again. It's starting to feel, at this hour when it's so easy to catastrophise, pretty helpless. I'm getting more and more exhausted, whatever I do: "I was in sight of the finish line and now there's an unmovable black rock in my path". In my mind it was as dark and shiny as a mountain-sized piece of flint. "I can't get over it, around it or through it. I don't know what to do".
"So don't do anything", says the wise voice at the end of the line. And we work out that I won't catch the ferry to the Opera House to see a friend, Sebastian who I used to live with and once wrote a song about 18 years ago. I can't. As usual it's more of a realisation than a decision. I was over ambitious and over planning again. I will have to have a rest day.
While it is frustrating to be in one of my favourite cities in the world after so long and find myself hardly able to see anything, once I really accept things as they are, my situation nearly always seems to improve. And it's starting to sink in how lucky I was to have had all those months of steady progress without any sign of a real crash like this. Crashing, I'm only learning now, is an almost inevitable part of this illness.
I'm not far from the Northern Beaches, half camping in a cabin by a creek, my bed by a large window that looks out onto trees bursting with cockatoos, ancient looking lizards over a foot long called Water Dragons, possums and bush turkeys. It rains on and off and the scent that hits the eucalyptus trees in the rising heat is clean and sweet, reminding me of the very same smell in an Ethiopian childhood. I hardly leave where I am. But I rest. I am grateful to be here. And it turns into at least a few rest days.
An ME/CFS Thriver