A note on work, health and productivity
I feel like I have lost the entire month of July. Things had ground to a halt. I have been so tired, so sluggish, that during the past month, mustering up the energy to respond to a few emails felt like an insurmountable task. We all have those odd days that we need to take to recharge, to lie on the sofa, watch Netflix, and be very still; so we can wake up refreshed the next day feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world. My problem was that those days took up the majority of the month of July, and the much anticipated recharged feeling the next day never arrived. Instead I was struck with dizziness and headaches as soon as I woke up. If I stood up too quickly, I’d end up floored, exhausted for the next half an hour. I was so tired that every day felt like swimming through treacle, and I was seriously struggling with keeping up with the demands that people were making of me.
I’m self-employed so I don’t have one boss to apologise to, more like dozens of separate people with whom I make commitments with. As a self-employed person, your income is tied to your productivity. Over the past month I’ve not been good at responding to requests for my work or labour. I’ve done radio and TV appearances this month which weren’t my best. I have barely done any work, and the work I have done has been completed through a process of forcing and dragging myself, fighting myself from slipping into unscheduled sleeps and battling the overwhelming need to lie on the sofa and give up. There have been Sundays where I’ve looked at a busy schedule for the upcoming week and wondered how I would be able to get through it.
Underlying this all was a vague sense of personal failure, especially living under a well-established political rhetoric of strivers vs skivers. In July I spent far too much time pushing myself further than was advisable health wise, whilst chastising myself for being lazy. Generic supplements gave me some good days though, days where I had enough energy to get stuff done, and to go out and socialise rather than lie around the house feeling exhausted.
This Friday it all came to a head. I’ve been diagnosed as severely anaemic, having been discharged yesterday from my local hospital, pumped with three bags of blood and a ziplock bag bursting full with various boxes of medication. After the blood transfusion, I feel much better and full of gratitude towards anyone I know who’d ever donated pints of theirs at a blood bank. Cumulatively, you’ve all saved my life. I’m feeling ten times more alive thanks to the new blood coursing through my veins at the mercy of lots of generous strangers. In about 12 hours I should be feeling the full effects of the transfusion and will be back to my normal, productive self. And though I’m quietly resentful that I have to take a fistful of pills three times a day for the foreseeable, there’s still a whole month of summer left that I’m determined to enjoy, emails to catch up on, and a book to get stuck into.
Thanks for bearing with me.