I do my bit for other people and hope I am both a good friend and a good daughter. People rely on me because I’m dependable, practical, knowledgeable about ‘stuff’ and will help someone out if I feasibly can. Because I am at home all day, they assume they can call on me whenever they need to. They also assume I am free to go out to lunch, off on days out and generally have so much time on my hands I am sitting by the phone just waiting for them to call. They tend to forget that I am sick and live alone with no-one to help me. I spend a minimum of 17 hours of every day in bed so only have 7 usable hours each day in which to fit my entire life, I have severe energy restrictions and I struggle just to get dressed.
I do try to set boundaries, but enforcing them can be just as exhausting as caving in. An elderly, sick friend is currently moving house and I have spent whole days helping him. On top of that he goes to a cafe every Sunday morning and expects me to meet him for brunch, even though I might already have had lunch with him one day in the week. He became so demanding this week that I had to remind him of my situation and that in the past month I’d actually spent more time with him than my own parents. In addition, I had not had one single day to myself, where I sat in the garden with a book, for an entire YEAR.
I try to have 3 ‘holidays’ each year: Easter, my birthday in September and Christmas. I never go anywhere as I can’t afford to plus there’s no-one to have the dog, but I am supposed to spend the time lounging around doing absolutely nothing, just like I would if I were on the beach in Greece. It never fucking works. I missed my Easter holiday this year because I had a virus, so I told my parents I was having a week off this week as the weather was due to be lovely. I was so looking forward to just lying on my sunbed and snoozing for days. It didn’t happen.
Monday I had to go into town as the battery in my watch died and Bertie’s repeat prescription needed picking up, so I called in to see my parents. My Mum’s doorbell needing fixing (vital and couldn’t be left), a birthday present needed wrapping for their sponsor child in India (there was a deadline) and she wanted me to order some cropped trousers for her as she’d put on weight and none of her summer clothes fitted and being as though we were expecting 38C temperatures and if she’s hot her breathing gets worse I felt like I had to.
Tuesday I did manage some ‘me’ time, but it was physically demanding as it involved being down by the river to take some photos. I was quite pleased with the results, though, as I’d wanted to capture a gull fishing for at least 3 years!
Thursday I have my groceries delivered and they needed to be put away. Then we had wicked thunder storms and torrential rain, so I was forced to lie in bed watching repeats of Escape To The Country. Lightening hit near my parents’ house and their landline stopped working, so I had to go in and work out if it was their phone (in which case they needed a new one) or the line (in which case they needed an engineer). It turned out the micro filter had blown so they needed a new one of those.
Friday was the only day I managed to sit in the garden, because on Saturday it peed down. And of course every single afternoon, plus 3 mornings, I have to take Bertie out because his bladder doesn’t take a week off. And I still have to make meals, and stack the dishwasher, and put the recycling out…………
Needless to say it hasn’t felt much like a holiday. It never does. I am just as knackered as I was at the start of the week and I genuinely don’t know what the answer is.