About six weeks ago I was assaulted at the theatre.
At the bloody Harry Potter play.
Some entitled arsehole thought it was ok to grab me by the neck in a ‘friendly’ way. It was only when I told him he could put me in hospital that he let go.
Of course, he should never have thought it was ok to grab me in the first place, but I would have shaken it all off (as women are, sadly, prone to doing) if he hadn’t triggered the worst flare I’ve had in years.
Within minutes afterwards, my neck pain and arm pain was so severe I burst into tears. After 24 hours, that spasm had travelled all the way down my back.
He’d grabbed me so hard that he burst blood vessels in my neck.
Police were called, it was all quite awful.
My dizziness came back. PoTS symptoms from when I was at my sickest, that I thought, I hoped, would be a distant-memory.
Near passing out when I sat up, eating anything other than the lightest of foods was almost impossible, and light made my brain feel like it was literally going to explode.
Depression came, as would be expected. I was 8 days into my dream job at the BBC. I’d worked so hard over the years to be physically able to try and truly work for the first time in so long, and this one small thing took it all away.
I was kinda like a zombie.
I get reactive depression, meaning that the way to snap me out of it is loving bullying. This, of course, for people with chemical depression is awful and dangerous and I’m not recommending it at all, but my mother and boyfriend have a method of not letting me indulge it that works for me.
I’m still depressed. But I can function.
But here’s the thing. Aside from the severe physical pain that remains, the experience solidified my increasing belief that going out is becoming more and more dangerous for me. A knock, a wet floor, the unwillingness of people to believe I need help, can have a lasting impact.
Last night during a bout of insomnia, I realised that I literally don’t remember what it’s like to just ‘go out’. That mostly bed-bound is now so much my normal. Most of that is necessity. But I don’t want it to also come out of fear.
Flare ups are hard, whether we know the reason that they come or not.
They knock your confidence in yourself and the world around you. They limit your world even further, and force you to keep fighting to put one (often metaphorical) foot in front of the other just to get through the hours that you’re awake.
I often wish I had an illness with a treatment plan. With steps that either worked or didn’t.
At this point it’s just a waiting game. It always is.
It’s just after 20-years of worsening symptoms, it gets pretty bloody exhausting. Doesn’t it?