There are ways that your body lets you know that there is only so much you can take and enough is enough. My body decided to do just that in the last 10 days or so. I wasn't just tired, I started getting lots of strange symptoms that caused a dash to A&E twice in the space of a week, but didn't lead to anything concrete being diagnosed. After the first visit, I already suspected that stress might have something to do with it, and the second time I was there, the very sympathetic doctor confirmed that. She was lovely, listening to my story from the last few months and telling me that my body was showing classic signs of stress.
I took Thursday and Friday of last week off work, thinking I'd be ready on Monday again. On Saturday, I had quite a good day. On Sunday, I couldn't stop crying, didn't feel like doing any of the things I normally enjoy at the weekend, and had a major panic at the thought of having to go to work. On the advice of my wise dad I went back to the GP on Monday and got myself signed off for a week. I felt so relieved.
That's now three days ago and I'm slowly beginning to feel more like myself again. I'm taking it very easy, still doing things around the house, getting I. and N. off to school and cooking meals, but I'm also sleeping lots and doing things I enjoy rather than things I have to do. I'm still tired and I've noticed if I do too much in one day when I feel good, I pay for it the next day. But the thought of having to go to work next week doesn't frighten me anymore, which is a good sign.
I've definitely learnt something from this. My life is so busy and I put so much pressure on myself to get certain things done - work, the kids, the house, going to see B., keeping fit - that at the end of the day, there is very little if no time at all left to do exactly what I WANT to do, rather than what I feel I SHOULD do. And I'm not going to do that anymore. I am very good at wanting to do things for other people, wanting to make them happy, but in the process, I end up at the very bottom of the list of priorities. I think it's time I changed that and start to learn that it doesn't matter sometimes if I don't go out for a run or a swim, but that I will feel better if I make time to sit down with a book or my knitting.
It doesn't matter how old you are, you never stop learning, do you.