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You're gonna need a bigger moka pot...
Where Emma experiences fatigue.
I’ve never minded growing older, inevitability doesn’t frighten me. I always assumed I’d age into a creative eccentric: slightly mad, not giving a damn in my high heels and red lipstick. Red lipstick is now a terrifying item in my trembling hands, it becomes a gash of Punchinello proportions. Staggering on heels that threaten to send me headlong into the laps of unsuspecting innocents. I think my glamour days are gone.
Ironically, they call Parkinson’s a ‘designer disease’. A witticism they titter out as they deliver your prognosis. Ostensibly it’s because no two people have the same symptoms, in truth, it’s because they don’t fully understand it or know how to manage and treat it.
In my bizarre list of symptoms, fatigue is one of the toughest.
“Winston was gelatinous with fatigue.” ― George Orwell, 1984
It curls about you in a suffocating fog, sucking the strength from you, turning limbs to wet string. Your mind becomes weighted with leaded thoughts. Impenetrable and apathetic.
No sleep lifts this state, no retirement, no holiday, no stimulant will shake the weariness. Where my usual morning coffee can not spark in my befuddled gloom, the scorch of my over-hot shower can rouse no acknowledgement.
I can’t really convey the frustration. I want to do all the things and therein lies the problem. We just can’t achieve everything on our list…ever. But I have found treating fatigue as the ultra procrastination state is the most productive.
‘Wait one moment, Emma, you oxymoronic lemon!’ I hear you cry…‘How can procrastination = production?’
The limitations that fatigue places on me means I can only achieve a few things on my list. So, I choose more wisely what I’m going to procrastinate on, in order to focus on what matters most. I don’t believe that the relentless focus we are required to live up to is healthy. Strategic ignoring of tasks tends to lead to realising they maybe didn’t need to be on the list in the first instance. Procrastination is a little akin to editing.
“Attention is the beginning of devotion,” writes the poet Mary Oliver, pointing to the fact that distraction and care are incompatible with each other: you can’t truly love a partner or a child, dedicate yourself to a career or a cause—or just savour the pleasure of a stroll in the park—except to the extent that you can hold your attention on the object of your devotion, to begin with.
Going with the flow is what fatigue forces us to do and I am inclined to submit. It doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or boring, you can play with it:
I am currently lying back on my imaginary chaise lounge draped in velvet musing on this letter, sipping something delicious, with Bach playing on the gramophone.
My daily rituals also support the wading through tar days. I already take time to enjoy my coffee. Preparing with care, drinking slowly whilst reading or listening to music. I adapted my schedule to accommodate these important moments; they relieve stress, give me an opportunity to tackle the day on my terms and as an added bonus the Teens and the rest of the household benefit from a gentler start free from rushing and chaos.
I suppose the bottom line is: be kind to yourself. But isn’t it always?
What do you do with fatigue? I’d love your thoughts, ideas and tips
I know my tweets said something about Jaws…but that was just clickbait. 🤣
P.S. I really need some more friends who love to
drink wine, swear discuss Matrix String Theory. Take pity and share with your friends or arch-nemesis.