I expect we all live in the past from time to time, sometimes it just feels more real than what is happening around us, brighter, more alive and more vibrant, at other is a dark hole that just pulls us back there again and again. For me I suppose it is a little more understandable when your life is the same every day, there is a sort of yearning for something more, something different, not that I am unhappy, please don’t think that it’s just, well I could do with a change occasionally. I tried hard yesterday not to think about my past anymore, I have had enough of questioning everything I thought I knew, the gaps are now exhausting me and I am tying myself in knots over it all. There is a mad rule in life that says, ‘the more you try not to do something, the more you do it’, just like when you were a child and your Mother told you not to scratch at a rash, but you just had to keep doing it. So yesterday was a day of trying to distract myself, to do anything but think and the best way I know of doing that is to try and learn something, to expand my knowledge instead of question it.
I have always loved history, especially the medieval period, but when I was first housebound I started to watch a lot of documentaries and I developed a love also of the one period in history that school made me hate WW2, the more I watched the more I learned and the more I found stories I had never heard and at last I developed an understanding of it and a true interest. I now actively search out programs about that period in time, be it documentary or drama, but what I learned more than just the subject, was just what a wonderful distraction learning is. I am sure I have mentioned it before, but it is one of the things I would recommend to anyone who has a chronic illness and that is to learn something new. It is amazing just how by filling your mind with something else, takes your mind off the pain and the annoying symptoms, they don’t go away, but they do sort of shift back a little and there is a small window that allows you just to live a little. In January, I decided to take on learning about a new period of history, being limited by what the TV supplies and with it being the 100th anniversary of WW1 that was my challenge. I didn’t realise just how hard it was going to be to motivate myself to learn about what I had little knowledge of, or past interest in, but I have at last managed it and I know look forward to finding and watching anything new I can find.
Sorry if you don’t like history, but the subject really doesn’t matter, what matters is taking some of the time that all of us have and making ourselves learn. I have now manage to take two things I thought more than dull and I have developed a passion for both of them, something I thought impossible, but it is something I would recommend to anyone to do. When things are disappearing in my mind all the time it may sound a really strange thing to expect my mind to take on something new, but somehow it is managing, maybe not well enough to sit an exam but enough for me. It is also giving more things to think about other than what is causing me pain or how fast or slow my day is disappearing. I don’t have it set into my routine as I always have my TV on, even now, so I learn as I am doing other things as well. I also think that it replaces some of the things that I lost when I could no longer work, work expands your knowledge all the time, whether you know it or not. My job was a constant learning process and without knowing it, I think I really missed just learning something new almost daily.
I know that doctors say that the old wives tale of “use it or loose it”, just doesn’t work, they have proved that all those brain exercises don’t work either, but I think they missed one side of the learning process totally. Leaning isn’t just about gaining knowledge or expanding your mind, learning is about self-gratification. There is a huge boost in your self esteem and anything that makes you feel good, is worthwhile in my book. Just think about it, if you try something new and you can do it or learn to do it, well you feel great about it, once you are too ill to take part in skiing trips, or your dexterity is too poor to learn how to knit, learning is something you can always do and the boost is worth every second spent doing it. They say you never stop learning, well I think that is true, when you are part of the everyday world, once that world is no longer accessible, you actually have to make the effort, otherwise, life can get that little bit stale.
There is one downside, though, whenever I think about it as learning, I find myself automatically thinking about school, the subjects I have chosen don’t help much either as it was school that put me off both of them. I can remember clearly sitting in history lessons yawning and daydreaming about anything I could other than WW1, the subject that they wanted us to remember the dates of every major battle, I don’t remember one of them, but I can still remember exactly where the classroom was and again the faces of all of those there, but not one name. Avoiding thinking of our pasts is impossible as there are a million triggers around us daily that will take you back there in a millisecond, something someone says, or something you see, then there you are again and in my case, there I am surrounded by people I know but I can’t remember. I will never get them back, they are gone, but I can add to them, also with people long gone, but these ones have names for me just now and they are for just a little while remembered for who they were and what they did, even though I will one day forget them too at least they lived again for short while.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 12/04/12 – Emotionally tired but happy
Today is a strange one, I really don’t know what I feel about anything if that makes sense to you, then please explain it to me. I woke up with snoring in one ear and an alarm clock in the other, probably not the best start but not as bad as it could have been. Adam woke me at around 4am when he decided to come to bed, normally that is a really bad thing for him to do, as last night just like any other when he opened the bedroom door I woke up. Normally that is the end of my night sleep, I either can’t go sleep any more that night as I am awake, or he will start snoring and I won’t be allowed to sleep. Last night luck was on my side, I actually remember him getting into bed, then treating the mattress as a trampoline for a few seconds, before at…..