I left my sanity at home

I have been on long term sick due to labyrinthitis, M.E and fybromyalgia. Today I had a meeting at work. Although I was initially excited, as time drew near I started dreading it in a heart dropping, stomach churning way. What if they thought I was faking because externally, I look no different. What if they pushed me to return or allocated work which would, at the moment, be too much? My imagination fired up as non-existent conversations between colleagues in my absence came to mind. “Ere, I bet she’s dragged this out coz her kid’s had the summer holidays, don’t you?” “She’ll have forgotten everything, we’ll have to train her again! Imagine the time that’ll take!” “Have you noticed how quiet it is?!” “She’ll be wanting annual leave next!” I distracted my mind before it traveled further into the realms of the untrue..

I ambled slowly to the bus stop (I am, for now, unable to drive due to symptoms). I felt as though I was in a Victorian novel:

The sky was a blanket of grey, draining the world below of all light and energy. The wind blew icy cold and light rain bit the face of Angel as she pulled her coat tighter around her. “I should’ve let this coat dry after washing it! Now I feel colder than ever” she thought (O.k, that veered from the Victorianesque slightly). She shivered and kept her head down as she battled through the winds. The streets were empty. save a few brave souls, blowing into their hands and marching on to their destinations. Cats lurked down every pathway, glaring accusingly as Angel passed: their whiskers kissed by the fine rain, their eyes bright with the challenge of the day.

The bus stop, when I got there, was busy with people waiting: A lady in her tracksuit smoking to “pass the time.” A young man in a t-shirt bouncing from foot to foot, puffing on an electronic cigarette and swearing profusely, his mother giving him the odd smack on the shins with her walking stick. A young mum rocking a pushchair gently back and forth. Her baby shoeless, coatless, sockless, hatless and blanketless wriggling red toes in the rain. I perched on a wall away from the group and started to plan things to say at the meeting.

Maybe I could ask for a fan. I struggle controlling my temperature. Maybe they would let me have drinks by my workstation. Maybe I should mention my hearing is now damaged in my left ear and my memory is shocking. Maybe not. The bus came, the group of people boarded and I stayed put. My bus was next. A lady joined me and asked if she had missed the bus. She was relieved to learn that I was waiting for the same one. We watched a postman across the road slip and drop his letters. How long before the red vans, the post boxes and the daily deliveries from, generally, cheery postman become a memory of the past? Will Abi tell her children about it:

When I was a kid, we posted letters in a red letter box to Father Christmas. He would write back, you know. And we got post everyday. If the postman had a big parcel, he would pull up in his red van outside the door. My stepmum was a postwoman for a while, and our neighbour was too. They have some stories to tell about banging heads on hanging baskets, running away from barking dogs and finding pet rabbits on pavements! (all true!)

I digress.

The bus arrived. The clock was now ticking. In exactly fifteen minutes I would be walking off the bus right on the doorstep of work. My heart started beating faster. I distracted myself further by staring out the window trying to get gardening ideas from the properties we passed. I started feeling travel sick. I looked down. I looked ahead. I looked to my left. Nothing helped.

By the time I got off the bus, I felt dizzy, exhausted and sick. I stumbled in to the door frame of my workplace and came face to face with my two bosses. Well, I thought, at least I look ill! My worries were instantly quelled as they both held me and were happy I had made it. Over coffee and a catch up, all my questions were answered and my worries eased. In two to three weeks I will be back at work. In my swanky new workspace complete with new chair and new blinds (so I am more in control of the light in the room). I will be meeting the rest of my colleagues next week and I am told there will be a buffet for the occasion. I do hope there is carrot cake!

I am a notorious deep thinker and worrier. Nothing is ever as bad as I fear it will be and today is a classic example. The results of my worry are, as always, exhaustion. I have spent the rest of today power napping whenever I can. I have longed for pyjamas since the meeting closed. I have wanted to run back to the safety of my home and close the door on the world for the day, safe in my cocoon of home comforts: my partner, my stepdaughter, my space, my cats, my sanity! At home I am, for the most part, calm. I am free to be me. I don’t need to wear the “i’m fine, really” mask. I don’t need to worry about what’s about to happen. At home, I am never alone. At home I have unconditional love and support. At home I am complete.





The oddity of cats!

Image I have always had cats. As a child, I would whisper my secrets to Bridie. She kept all my secrets. Being a stereotypical female cat, she was fairly allusive, but if I needed her she would somehow turn up. She would sit by me and keep me company. Her warm body calming or healing me. Sooty was the same. A healer. He would know when he was needed. He really was the funniest, soppiest cat.


Now I am older. I have my own house. I have three cats. Charlie (pictured above), is our baby. We also have Tigger and Heidi. Since having my own cats, I have observed them closely. The boys often stare in the same direction at, well, nothing in particular. I have tried to break their vision by moving my face in front of theirs. They just look around me and continue to stare at the “nothing.”

Image Tigger (pictured here), is the most sensitive to people’s emotions. We got him for free from freecycle: a recycling website which ordinarily deals in furniture. Tigger was unloved, living in filth and very nervy. He is still scared of loud noises and plastic bags. And yet, If somebody is poorly, tigger is there. If somebody is upset, Tigger is there. He sits as close as he can to you and settles down. He is soporific and calming.


ImageHeidi is another rescue baby. She was found in a laundrette with kittens, curled up amongst the washing. Now, if you can’t find her, she is likely to be found in amongst the ironing, under blankets or balancing on the washing line ready to swipe any fingers which try to remove pegs! Heidi is, as Bridie was, allusive. She spends most of her time outside and yet, if Abi is poorly, Heidi is there. Heidi is extremely reactive to the emotions of children, in particular.


I can understand why most literature portrays witches as having cats. I can understand why stories about cats usually contain magic of a sort. They truly are magical. They see things most people cannot, they alert us to movements we otherwise would not have known about. They heal and calm and just know when to be close to us.


As I type this, I have Charlie sat next to me, Tigger is stepping through puddles outside in a way which makes him look like he is wearing high heels, and Heidi is on the trampoline, though due to the weather, she is not jumping! (She does! Honest!) 

Has anyone else experienced the oddity of cats?! I am sure any cat owner would have tales to tell!