For various reasons, it's seemed like a good idea to start tidying up the flat a bit this week. It's not UN-tidy as such - day to day things like the dishes and the laundry and making sure there's no new life-forms in the fridge are well under control - but there's some less urgent stuff that wanted doing, like pruning my wardrobe and vacuuming under the bed.
This morning I had a wardrobe full of clothes and Nothing To Wear. Now I have five bags of clothes for my sister to go through and a wardrobe that's about a third full of everyday clothes which (with only one or two exceptions such as my one Smart Suit) I have worn and washed at least once in the last twelve months. I think this is an improvement.
I also found at least half a dozen pairs of black tights (I have kept two pairs which were still on the cardboard), a couple of bits of lacy underwear which had hidden behind my socks and still had the tags in, and three or four rather small tops which I used to wear when I was very fit and went out to dance for several hours at least once a week. I'm not even going to try to try them on, I don't think I could deal with that kind of trauma. Sister Dearest will love them though.
Having got over that little blast from the past, I started to tackle the depths of under my bed. At first it wasn't too bad, it was all stuff I knew was there. A plastic box containing my spare duvet. A pair of wings and a halo from a fancy dress competition in the aforementioned going-out-and-dancing days (*sniff*) that someone borrowed last year. A large sports bag which I have lugged around more train stations than I care to remember while on weekend jaunts to see various internet people. I could even run up and down stairs while carrying it and never missed a connection...
*sneezes from dust*
This didn't put me in the right frame of mind to hit The Paperwork.
There was a period, when I first got sick, where I didn't really realise what was going on and thought I just had a couple of nasty bugs and would get over it. This wasn't a happy time. When I look back now, I realise I was being ridiculous, but at the time, I thought I was making sense.
So there were a number of incidents to do with me fainting but refusing to go to hospital because I was running late for work and had clients to see and "it's just a bit of flu or something". There were also a number of times when I walked into the building where I worked and someone from another organisation took one look at me and pretty much forcibly ushered me into their car and drove me straight back home.
In these circumstances, paperwork wasn't top of my priorities. I would come in the front door, pick up my post, go up the stairs to my flat, and lie down on my bed and go to sleep, complete with my handful of post, my glasses, my coat, my bag, my shoes, everything. Stuff on the bed got pushed off the bed, and eventually underneath it.
Which is why today's discoveries were lurking there to upset me. I'm not sure what's worse. There's the stuff I do remember - handouts from work-based training I did and meetings I went to, printouts of emails, a magazine, some train tickets - which remind me of the life I used to have. And then, there's the stuff I don't remember, and it scares me a little that I don't remember it. Like, a tesco clubcard and two key fobs, still stuck to the letter they came with. The name is mine, the address is here, but I can't remember applying for it - and how can I have been too knackered to sign the card and stick it in my purse? Or an invite to a party I'm fairly certain I didn't go to. I hope I at least phoned to apologise.
I'm feeling very angry and I can't put my finger on exactly why. It's not that I want my old life back. I mean, it would be nice to not be in pain, or confined to bed so much (and it would be nice to be a size 10 again). But if giving up the pain and malaise (and excess flab) also meant giving up the friends I've made, the relationship with Steve, the steadiness I've acquired, and picking up at age 23 again, I would not do it.
I think the anger might be because the shift in pace and circumstances was not my choice. I didn't want to become unemployed, and I didn't "deserve" to get ill or do anything that made me ill. It was all completely out of my control and I hate that.
Carrying on from that, I think it's also affected by Sister Dearest. She's currently the same age I was when it all fell apart, and she *is* in control of her life, she *has* chosen to leave her job, she actively says and does things to steer her life in the direction she *wants* it to go.
Nah. I think it's mostly because I have done too much physically today. Also I have been inhaling two-year-old dust and that can't be good for you. Here's hoping I feel perkier tomorrow and that Sister Dearest enjoys my castoffs.
Oh, and good news. I have a routine doctor's appointment coming up in two weeks, and I've just found out that it will be with my actual proper GP, the lovely Dr W, rather than the smegging bloody Locum who cocked up my DLA. Hurrah!