I have, in the past, limited my interaction with other people and places in my life. The reasons I have for doing this are to protect myself and to find closeness to my, now late, mother. After discovering what was behind my behaviour, about a year ago, I now am more willing to interact as necessary with outside agencies.

I manage my own repeat prescription and appointments with hospital clinics and homecare medication deliveries. If all that isn’t exhausting enough I manage my hairdresser appointments and our social calendar, governing meals out, theatre, comedy club and cinema visits.

I have a birthday coming up soon and rather than plan it meticulously, giving in to my overactive control issues and invariably having a dreadful time, I have a few things to do in mind and will see how I feel on a day by day basis. I have declined any gifts as I don’t feel accumulating physical possessions are needed and as far as stuff goes, I have too much cluttering my space already. If anything my birthday week will involve freeing my space of excess books, DVDs, clothes, shoes, and other paraphernalia to lighten my mind. If I choose to keep stuff it will be stuff that has a practical application that I can utilise.

I feel I am over middle age, as I think living to twice my age on my birthday this month, may be surpassing natural expectations, in light of my chronic illnesses. So, if I have less than forty years to go I better get on with doing things I want to and leaving what’s irrelevant behind.

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Me at sixteen years of age