Health Update

So, to expand on my last post, I’m doing better now. Not *well*, but much, much better than even a few days ago, so I will explain a bit of what’s going on.

I suffer from various chronic illnesses, both mental and physical — I have psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, asthma, hypertension, sleep apnoea, depression, and anxiety, and that’s just the stuff that I’ve got official notes from the doctors from. I’m also, thanks to my autism, *extremely* prone to paranoia.

In the early part of this year, I was doing fairly well — I had a couple of the most productive months I’ve had in years, and was, if not physically great, physically sound. I then had a bit of relatively minor personal stress — nothing major, nothing worth talking about here, just the sort of thing that sometimes happens. This happened to trigger my paranoia and anxiety, which sent my stress levels skyrocketing.

Unfortunately, all those inflammatory and autoimmune diseases I listed above are ones that get triggered by stress, so I had massive flare-ups of my arthritis and hypertension in particular. And you know what happens if you’re in agony every time you stand up, and you get blood pressure headaches so bad you worry you might have a stroke? That’s right — you get stressed!

So for two months solid I was trapped in the worst kind of feedback loop, with my mental and physical health both making each other worse — and then because I was so ill I ended up breaking commitments I’d made, being unable to campaign in the local elections, missing deadlines… stuff that makes you more stressed and more ill. 

So a minor stressful interaction, of a kind most people would just forget about in a day or so, triggered two months of chronic illness flare-up. 

So for the past two months, I have had to *ruthlessly* triage my life. Literally the only things I’ve done in that time have been either things that allow me to relax slightly and take the edge off my symptoms, or things that were absolutely necessary for immediate survival (so for example there’s a high-paying freelance client I get regular work from. I’ve had to keep taking commissions from him and turning them in on time, because I have to eat and pay a mortgage).

However, for the last few days I’ve been feeling OK. Not good — and I know that if I push myself at all I’ll relapse — but OK. And OK enough to actually do important things that needed to be done *at some point* and had become semi-urgent having been left for two months, like fill in my tax return and get a new washing machine.

That sort of level of thing was beyond me since mid-March, and I’ve been able to do it consistently enough that I’m fairly sure I’m at a new semi-stable level of recovery. I have a few more days’ worth of things like that which need doing, but then I should be in a position to start blogging regularly here again (and to finish a book that I’m contracted for and which is a couple of weeks past its deadline). 

I’m not making any firm commitments, but I felt people deserved an explanation. Patreon backers should still be getting some special stuff *fairly* soon (no promises as to when, but I’ve got stuff in the pipeline which was originally intended for March) and you’ll be seeing a lot more blog posts from me here, assuming no relapses.

It’s very hard for me to really think of myself as someone who is chronically ill and needs to plan his life accordingly, even though I actually *have* been chronically ill since at least 2011 and have been diagnosed as such since 2016 with official bits of paper. I still feel like a malingerer. “It’s only my heart, respiratory system, immune system, and every joint in my body playing up, and me crying all the time and not sleeping properly for two months. I should still be able to do 5000 words a day or so!”

I think I’m *finally* convincing myself that I’m actually ill. Thanks all for your patience while I’ve been battering this into my thick skull. When I *do* return, with luck, it’ll be on a more stable basis, and it should be very soon.

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2 Responses to Health Update

  1. plok says:

    Glad you’re feeling better! Keep it that way above all else, eh? Sincerest congratulations on being able to grapple with things like tax returns and washing machines again! It’s gratifying to know you’re back in the Land of It Is Possible To Do Stuff.

  2. FrF says:

    Maybe CBD oil could alleviate some of your symptoms, Andrew. CBD is, as they say, all the rage these days. It’s a legal, non-psycho-active compound of the cannabis plant with almost panacea-like properties (according to CBD accolytes). I think it would be absolutely worthwhile to tip your toe into that area after doing a little bit of research. Disclaimer: I’m currently trying out a 5% CBD oil for anxiety issues but so far my results aren’t exciting – but I won’t give up and move to higher concentrations/experiment with dosages.

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