Brenda Walker Takes The Pressure Down

Sometimes it feels like everything is coming together. My daughter has been well for a while and she is getting on with her teenage life. Then something happens – a flareup, a virus, a fall – a set back of one sort or another.

For my daughter a virus or a fall can mean a week in bed – often on pain meds.  Flare ups are painful but as she grows up she develops more and more ways of coping.

We had a different type of set back this last week. She has developed low blood pressure. This is pretty normal for teenage girls.

For my daughter it means that her already significant fatigue levels have gone through the roof. She has stopped going to school because she is too exhausted.

We’ve been through lots of health set backs. You probably have too. Sometimes you can shrug them off – other times they hit you hard.

This week I have been hit hard. A big ball of frustration and grief has surfaced. I am so angry that my daughters progress through life is so difficult. My daughter says to me “Mum I want my life to be easy.”

We both sat in the car the other day having a potato chip picnic and trying to laugh at ourselves. The constant set backs make us both grumpy and sometimes grumpy with each other.

I try hard to take a step back and say to myself – “Hey Julia in a week or so this will pass. Ease up. Stop taking life so seriously – it isn’t a race.”

Then the worries snap at my heals.  I worry about her education.  I worry about her joints stiffening up from the reduced activity.   I worry about her putting on weight because she is not moving.  I worry things will stay this way forever. Worry, worry, worry.

I read a wonderful quote the other day in a memoir by Australian writer Brenda Walker called Reading by Moonlight: How Books Saved a Life.

“When I recovered some confidence in my health, I felt that all the minor irritations and anxieties of life – arguments, moments of carelessness, failures of judgement, bad timing, the very things I might otherwise have wished to eradicate – comprised the grain, the detail, the very story of living that I should respect.”

I like to read this when I am heading off into a dark place in myself. Brenda Walker you have nailed it. We get so focused doing the right thing and moving forward that we can fail to appreciate everything belongs in the story.

I’d even go so far as to say set backs in health belong in the story as much as the good days. This is a difficult concept and a deeply calming one.

What strategies do you use to take the pressure down?  I’d love to hear about them.