Gymnastics Competitions

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Taken by me at Taronga Zoo, Sydney. August 2013.

This week I splurged many of my precious spoons (Spoon Theory) on just one task: gymnastics. Specifically, jumping through hoops. More specifically, jumping through the particular hoops one has to negotiate when applying for a Blue Disabled Parking Badge (“Blue Badge“).

I first began researching eligibility for a Blue Badge several months ago. I don’t fulfil any of the criteria to automatically qualify for a Badge so I wanted time to think about and prepare my application. It’s a funny thing, part of my rôle as a Financial Assessment and Benefits Officer, was to complete countless forms of many different types. I used to joke with clients (I refuse to call people ‘Service Users’!) that on my gravestone would be inscribed the words “She could fill in forms” because I spent so much time filling in all those black boxes. You would think that applying for a Blue Badge for myself would be a doddle, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong. In common with many other people, when faced with an important form to complete regarding my own circumstances, I become really anxious and lacking in confidence. And, my goodness, did the Blue Badge application form do that for me…

I’m not sure of the reason for my anxiety being so acute. I think it may have been because I was worried that if I was refused a Badge, I wouldn’t be permitted to make another application for quite a while. The boundaries of my world have shrunk considerably over the last few months. I have lost a lot of confidence in myself and my ability to cope alone when I go out. I panic at the thought that I won’t find a parking space very close to where I need to go. Having had several falls and near misses, it feels as though I am more likely to fall than not whenever I walk outside. The whole situation is making me increasingly fearful of going out alone. I really do feel that I should have a Blue Badge.

I actually began the application process for a Badge several times, but I didn’t finish it. I would save what I had done online but then not complete it within the two week limit. I kept drafting and re-drafting my replies to two of the questions, worrying over them, asking FPR to read them and asking his opinion. It was a very stressful process. However, I finally screwed up my courage a few days ago and completed the entire form. And I even submitted it! I received an acknowledgement and an appointment for my assessment at the end of June. I printed a copy of my application, as I like to be able to see what I have written on official forms. Also, I wanted to send a copy of my application to the Amazing Dr Azeer. He and I had discussed my applying for a Blue Badge and he had said he would be happy to support my application. I felt it would be wise to send him up-to-date about my condition as I have deteriorated since my last consulation with him. I have been terribly efficient and written to the Amazing Dr Azeer, sending the copy.

Now all I have to do is wait for my assessment – and hope like mad for the decision to go in my favour. Fingers crossed!

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And Here’s Another Thing

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North Cape, June 2012

Yesterday I clicked on a link about Fibromyalgia that I saw on Facebook. A friend, who has had Fibro far longer than I, had shared this LINK to another Fibro-related blog. I rarely look at things about Fibro online, or elsewhere, unless there is something specific I want to research. However, something drew me to find out more.

When I clicked through to the blog and read the post, a light bulb went on inside my head! I could identify with what was being said. I don’t think I had ever really registered when something like this happens inside my head, but now someone else was talking about it… and it all made sense. Admittedly, and very fortunately, I don’t experience anything as bad as The Girl With Five Lads, but I certainly go through some of it. There are definitely times when it feels as though there is too much happening. Too much information. Too many directions I’m being pulled in. Too much to cope with.

“We all have times like those” you might say. “My life is really stressful.” “I’m always multi-tasking.” But, it’s not the same. It’s not trying to do cook the dinner, make a phone call, empty the bin and go to the loo, all at the same time. It’s trying to make sense of something that should be really straightforward, something which always has been simple before, but being unable to because you are being bombarded by huge amounts of information in different formats, at different volumes and speeds, in several different languages, all at the same time. The brain just wants to explode and then hide itself in a corner, so it decides to send you into a massive panic and tries desperately hard to make you crumple into tears. If you’re really lucky you’ll eventually be able to work out how to say “Stop”. And, if you’re luckier still, someone will be around who can help you to escape the attack of information, and give you a breathing space, a chance to calm down and recover.

Do you know the worst part about it? It’s feeling so pathetic because you “ought” to be able to filter all those ordinary things that have been attacking your senses and understand what’s going on – but you just can’t.