When life doesn’t go to plan.

You could say I’ve always pushed myself to achieve the best.

I grew up knowing that I would be a writer. I wrote, I won competitions, I joined writing clubs, I was published, I studied Professional Writing for two years at University. I had a plan. Study, publish a novel, marry by 25 and have kids by 30.
But then, I graduated, and was not satisfied. I didn’t think anyone would be interested in reading my stories. I lost my writing spark, so, like any normal person, I took a temporary gap to ‘find myself’.
I worked fulltime, saved my money (which I was yet to know would be much needed in the future) and at one point, worked two jobs and studied.

I was so hard on myself for not wanting to write anymore. That was my plan, and I didn’t adjust well to change. My heart just wasn’t in it anymore.
I hated working fulltime in a fastfood outlet because I knew I was meant to achieve more than making burgers and cleaning tables (I learnt so much from working in that industry).
So, I decided to study Childcare. I worked when I was sick, I studied when I was exhausted and I still managed to fit a relationship and friends into my perfect little plan.

I was on top of the world once I started working in Childcare fulltime. I absolutely loved my job and I was furthering my studies to become a fully qualified ‘Room Leader’ (as opposed to an assistant). Children, are wonderful creatures and they filled my heart with a warmness unlike no other.

My body, though, did not adjust to the germ-infested environment of Childcare. My immunity was shockingly low, despite every vitamin and suggestion I tried. I caught every little virus these beautiful children had. I didn’t mind.

The one virus that I caught that changed everything completely, was Shingles. If you’ve had them before, you know exactly what I mean. They are unlike any pain you’ve ever felt before. And, I caught it twice (which is apparently rare). I was off work for months at a time, then I pushed myself to return and would have a few good weeks, then I’d get sick again and the cycle would repeat. It was endless. My immunity just… disappeared.

By December, I had wasted away to nothing.
I would go for days without eating, and naturally I was severely underweight. My symptoms had worsened, and I seemed to have more problems than to begin with. No doctor knew why I was so sick.
I began to suffer from this neverending vertigo and gastrointestinal problems, which forced me to quit my job entirely. Unfortunately, my studies were directly linked to my job, and with only one unit left before I graduated – I had to give that up too. I was absolutely devastated. One tiny observational unit which entitled me to be in a centre at the time.
December is mostly a blur of me being bedridden, nauseated and extremely depressed.

I blamed myself.
I blamed my body for not being able to fight back.
I pushed myself too hard.
I worked too hard.
I stressed too much.
I never took ‘breaks’ or ‘relaxed’.
To go from having a plan, to not having anything at all… it’s an extremely hard thing to adjust to… to be stuck at home, not being able to do ANYTHING.

I’m STILL adjusting.

I was the type of person who was always early rather than late, had to-do lists for every task imaginable, made timelines and had a calendar in my room, on my phone and in a diary. I had dreams and ideas of what I wanted and where I wanted to be.

My only current source of optimism is that I am still young. If I’m out sick for one or two years more, I still have time to pick up where I left off. I need to find some sort of positiveness in all of this.
I can’t sit here and cry about it anymore (and trust me, I’ve cried for hours at end, and so hard that I gave myself nosebleeds). All of that energy crying, could be spent on healing. I have to have hope, even if it means clutching at straws.
I try to steer clear from talking about my longterm future, as it makes me upset to think about.
I have given myself little goals to achieve, like writing this blog, and trying different things to get some sort of relief for my symptoms.
I still have dreams – things I never got to experience – travelling the world, publishing a novel, buying a house, eating at a 5star restaurant, sleeping in a tent… You don’t realise how much you missed, until you’re unable to do it.

I’m not so hard on myself anymore, and you shouldn’t be either.
You can’t be. It isn’t your fault you got sick, and it isn’t your fault that you are struggling to beat it or find relief.
‘Plans’ don’t always go to plan.
My body obviously needs this time off to rest.
I have no choice but to listen to it now.

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35 comments

  1. I can relate to you a little. I too had a master plan; go to university, study hard, meet someone, graduate and get married. It all seemed so perfect in my little head. But rarely does life ever ‘go to plan’. I’m in my final year and my life has done a 180, optimism is the way forward though. There’s more to life than what I had originally thought, there’s always an option, another way!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find your story relatable in more way than one. I sincerely hope this blog helps you find the wonderful and supportive community out there for people with invisible illnesses. You may not be able to see us all the time, but believe me. We’re all cheering for you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re not alone. Feeling like this is completely normal. ‘Failing’ like this is completely normal.

    One day at a time, homie. Blog is a great start! You’ve loved writing before, and perhaps the pressure you put on yourself to succeed co-opted the writing process, rendering it less fulfilling than before.

    Maybe try a little serial ritual, like writing for 10 minutes on a daily basis, and then increasing that by one minute every week. It’s a small enough task that you won’t avoid, and it’ll get the creative juices flowing.

    From the awards you’ve won, it seems like you have the one thing other writers wish they had – natural talent! You’ll get there in your own time, and the pain you’ve experienced will bring a depth to your writing than others won’t be able to touch.

    All the best, homeslice!

    Jagdeo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my goodness. Your story might as well have been mine, it was that similar. I’ve never met anybody whose body behaves the same way as mine. You have my complete and utter support, and the knowledge that there are at least two of us who understand what this is like ❤ x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That makes me sad, but equally happy. If you ever need to chat, you know where to find me. I know what it is like to have ‘bad’ days. You have my support too, and undivided attention if you ever need to chat (my email is on my page) xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel for u, really. I was diagnosed with a debilitating mental health disorder in my late teens. For 10 Yrs I lived the life you describe mostly. I have a healthy immune system but my mind was tearing my body apart. 2013 I picked up a virus, it went untreated for weeks and permanently damaged my GI and my mind. Fortunately when I was released from the hospital a great aftercare team called Connections picked me up. Medications had advanced over the past 10 Yrs since my diagnosis and I found a good fit for my needs. I live the most productive days of my life right now, in this moment.

    I lost hope, many times over. I cried and I obsessed over the normal life I will never have.

    This life I have though, its priceless and I will never stop fighting to achieve. Never stop fighting to rise above! Every day is a new one, new beginning and a new end. Twelve solid hours of bliss!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was also in Early Childhood Education, right out of high school. I had one month left, and I would have graduated. Then I was hospitalized for the first time. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, major depression and anxiety. That was 12 years ago. I am still learning how to deal with this illness. It’s a day to day process. It’s a roller coaster ride for sure. I am coping better now then I did then, but still learning.

    Thank you for sharing your story!
    ~Devin

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t say I relate to the invisible illness (unless self diagnosed mental illness counts). I can only imagine how difficult/frustrating/scary etc. that must be.

    I do know what it means to have plans veer off course, far more than I ever wished to. I know how it feels to lose touch with the desire to write. For me this was an awful terrible place. Even if my writing is absolute garbage it’s the one outlet I have. It’s the one place I can pour out my feelings and not have someone judge me for it.

    I’ve found that finding something- anything, tv, music, movies, books, art and using it as inspiration helps. I don’t write because I want to anymore. I do it because I have to. Just to keep my sanity in check.

    I hope this finds you in good health today. Your optimism is inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can relate so much! I’m 18, graduated from high school last year at the top of my school, received over $90 000 in total of scholarships to various universities. I had a master plan: working through university and using leftover scholarships to invest in stocks and ETFs until I have enough for a down payment on a house, all the while getting my undergrad in business admin for free at a top tier business school. I ultimately didn’t choose the full ride and chose a school where I felt like I would enjoy more. Now I feel so lost without my plan and not having something to pursue. I don’t know who I am anymore and I hate myself for not knowing what I want or where I’m going. I’m learning not to be hard on myself and it’s been baby steps so far. I realized that chasing paper and chasing prestige is not worth anything if you don’t have a personal reason behind it. Life was meant for enjoying and I’m slowing starting to learn that now. It’s been rough and hard but I’m learning to enjoy the smaller things in life. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I know this all too well. My savings were meant for a house deposit and have been spent on medical bills.
      We shall take it day by day and see where we end up. Short term goals for the long term future xxx thank you for reading my dear

      Like

  9. Thanks for reading my words and giving me a “like”:) Your words are powerful lady – thanks for being brave and bold enough to share. We need this. No matter what folks are carrying we need honesty to create community & connection. Thanks for sharing your gift! xoxo

    Like

  10. Lovely writing, never stop! I want to also share that I had shingles a few years ago on the right side of my scalp and face. Nothing helped. One day I took some cayenne pepper and mixed it with aloe vera gel (the bottled kind from the store) and piled it all over the shingles. The pain stopped! Sometimes I would use apple cider vinegar and it worked! I had to go back to work and I smelled like a salad but within a week the shingles disappeared and so far have not returned. I come from a culture where we use natural herbs (Gypsy) but I know it might be difficult for others to put their trust in something like this. Whatever you do, stay positive and know that the universe will come through for you!

    Like

    1. Thank you! Oh please do! Your post will benefit me also. How did you feel afterwards? I took the medication twice and the spots healed, but my Naturopath now fears that I still have the virus stuck in me (causing me to be so sick) and we are at a loss trying to figure out what to do. I had mine (twice) behind my ears, back and scalp. It was truly awful.

      Like

  11. Ask your Naturopath if your pH is in balance. Since apple cider vinegar is actually alkaline (even though it is an acid) and it helped, I wonder if your diet would benefit from a more alkaline one? Sometimes, when I do not feel well, I imagine I feel that horrible pain starting up on my skull again. Although I’m vegetarian I think I still eat foods that are not too good but I have cut out a lot of sugar and that seems to have helped. Sending good thoughts your way into the aethers!

    Like

      1. Sorry, just saw your post stating that you don’t want any advice, etc. I know that what works for some does not necessarily work for others. I am the granddaughter of a healer (drabarni) and although I think of myself more as a “soul healer” rather than a physical one, I get carried away, sometimes, wanting to give out info that may help. 😦

        Like

  12. Haha no no. I just don’t want advice from people who give negative advice. Your advice has helped, trust me. You know what you are talking about and it clearly comes from a good place!!!!! So thank you!!!

    Like

  13. Sorry to hear you went through all this and still are but you are going to get better, get that job, house and husband. It will all work out in the end. Hang in there. I hope you feel better real soon. I’ll write you some more stories. Keep writing your blog posts and sharing with us.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You will. I’ll be here for you keeping an eye on how you doing on your blog. I love writing its easy and fun for me but more special when I can write about special people and make them feel better.

        Like

  14. Wow shingles twice once was enough for me, The pain with shingles is incredible and it lasts almost forever. At the moment bone pain is enough for me to handle at one time. Waiting for a hip replacement here. Every time I go near someone who has just had or getting over the shingles, I am terrified of getting them again. I have been done a lot of writing trying to concentrate and get some sort of order to put a book together a dream, I do enjoy my poetry and doing a few essays hoping one word I write might help someone. Great work. Keep your blog going very inspirational.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew the pain was longterm! My Doctors keep saying I’m losing my mind. I can still feel my nerves throbbing from where I had it. I fear getting it again too. It’s rare to get it twice but now that I have, I have no doubt that you can get it numerous times
      Thank you. I do not see myself as inspirational at all haha. Thank you for reading xx

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I needed this post so badly today. I’ve been having a hard time with my illness lately. I’m at the point where I feel like throwing in the towel and just declaring myself lazy and worthless. But the truth is, I’m not lazy and I’m not worthless. I work hard. So hard that I get sicker. That’s not my fault, it’s just a problem my body has, something I have to get used to. Just because I’m sick all the time and have to force myself out of bed in the morning, doesn’t mean I’m worthless. It just means that I have to be more choosy about things in life.

    You are seriously blowing my mind with your blog today. I am so glad I stumbled across it!

    -Rachel xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too, me too. This post is so old haha. I have written some posts that have shown my struggles. Writing definitely helps.

      We are not lazy.
      I have to remind myself of that too.

      Again, always here if you need

      Cass xx

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Despite our previous exchanges I’ve only just read this post. It’s spooky how similar our journeys have been despite being on opposite sides of the world. I got ill at university and was forced to adjust, I pushed myself too hard for too long and I suffered! I started to re-build, got a second degree and a part-time job, started to train as a post-16 teacher but had to take a job at a primary school. Loved working with the children and got accepted to train as a primary school teacher instead. In preparation for my course I did more hours at a primary school and caught an infection that set everything off again. In the past few months I have been sicker than ever. I’ve been advised that I may never be able to work in such germ-filled environments as schools again. I too am still adjusting after 10 years. x

    Liked by 1 person

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