Monday, February 4, 2008

Try Hard

I am trying to organise myself. By saying this I have already got off to a wobbly start because one is supposed to be thinking along the lines of either doing something or not. Trying to write the novel/drive the car/climb the stairs doesn’t cut it - you either do or you don’t. Apparently. But, like I said, I’m trying. Mr. Signs, who has begun part-time psychotherapy training (Transactional Analysis), has identified one of my so-called “Drivers”, and it is Try Hard. As drivers go, it’s not such a bad one - Be Perfect is a real stinker to have in the engine.

The thing is that living with a chronic condition (see profile) for so long means that one is often applying the will negatively, in the sense that one has to discipline oneself not to do things. Times when a glimmer of relative wellness opens the possibility for taking action are potentially dangerous because all of you wants to rush in and do it. But overdoing it is easy and subsequent comedown hard as nails. So you learn to walk the line between yes and no.

I am feeling a bit better than this time last year. This is basically down to the fact that I am living life at a pace I can manage and focussing on possibilities. I had hoped for some more radical change with LP, but small steps are good and I was/am nothing if not realistic and, in any case, on we go. I have taken up Pilates. What I mean is I have had a one-to-one session with a practitioner and can now do lying on the floor and sliding my legs forward and back whilst breathing out. This is apparently not nothing. Next I will join the group and basically do what I can. The practitioner asked me if I had ever had whiplash or been in a car accident. I said no.
“You’re lucky then,” she said. Whatever. Tomorrow is pancake day, and after that Lent, for which time I am planning a project, in the company of a fellow Creative. Without going into details (for to name it feels jinxy), it will involve a certain amount of daily activity in the sphere of pen-wielding. Or is it pushing? Anyway, so tomorrow we will eat pancakes and talk about it – always the best part.

The rhythm of my life, though, remains eccentric. There are times, like today, when I do not climb into my body until nearly mid-day. I have just telephoned Waitrose - my supermarket of choice because of this – to see what time they closed and wonder why it has not dawned on me before now (especially now I have no young children) that I can shop, when I must, in the early evening, and actually this frees up a small but substantial portion of daytime energy so that I can write, eat, walk, do chores, see people (or at least one of those). And read.

I think I may only have read one novel last year – from beginning to end, I mean. Poetry and short things, yes, but novels ask a more sustained engagement which I wasn’t able to give. But I want to. So the rhythm of my life must take this into account. I’m reading What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt. Trying.


Kahless said...

Hello Signs.
My last therapist was a TA guy. I have a Try Hard Driver too. Not too bad I think. A few of the bloggers on my link list are TAers. I hope Mr Signs does well and enjoys it. It is quite interesting and practical I think.

Rhythm of Life. That is a lovely line. I am glad you can measure your health as better than last year. That is good.

Enjoy your pancakes!

Digitalesse said...

Hi Signs, nice to be reading your blog again.

I don't know too much about TA but I do recognise that I have the Try Hard trait deeply engrained and understand totally when you say that, as we are, we need to apply it in such a way that encourages to be more disciplined with our physical and cognitive resources.Well done with the Pilates, too.

I'll be having pancakes tomorrow, too.

Unknown said...

Oh dear, I ended up with the 'Lie down and have another cup of gin' gene. I try hard at this though and practice at least twice a week.

But no, I do understand. I have Gilberts Syndrome and one of the symptoms is days of chronic fatigue (just tired being tired). A positive outlook, which you seem to have, is so important.

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Kahless,

Mr. S is loving TA, it is the right thing for him and I think he'll be a good therapist. I wouldn't choose that particular path myself - though my T has a background in this.

Unbelievably, my village has run out of milk and I've had to buy Betty Crocker pancake mix just in case.


What a nice surprise. The thing about these drivers is that they can drive us too hard in the wrong way. A bit of order, though, can help support.

I would have made pancake batter tonight if I'd been able to buy milk - but will enjoy the Betty Crocker if I must.

Hi Minx,

Not boasting, but I used to be able to drink most people under the table - now, because of Condition, it's the occasional glass of wine. I've diverted into Sit Back and Have Another Chocolate and am pretty good at this. And yes, practice is important.

I've never heard of Gilbert's Syndrome before now (and just looked it up). May the force be with you, and all of us, say I. Cheers, m'dear!

Kahless said...

Hi Signs,
I have a box of Aunt Jemima in the cupboard. I love american pancake mix.

Reading the Signs said...

Kahless, I can report that I polished off both the Betty Crocker and home-made - and both were good, but I think mine was best.

Feel ready for the 40-day fast.

Kahless said...

Ah Signs, I reckon yours was best too.

I feel positively bloated myself. My pancakes turned out more like waffles. Don't you think some food is over-rated?

Mellifluous Dark said...

Glad you enjoyed your pancakes – hope the project planing went well.

What a strange comment about whiplash. Whatever, indeed.

Glad you are feeling better than this time last year, Signs. Small steps help one to not fall over, I think.

Cusp said...

Oh blimey I know that driver: 'try hard', 'work hard', 'a good name endures' (school motto). No matter how hard you try to delete them from the hard drive the seem to be ingrained into the very fabric along with all the 'shoulds' and 'oughts'.

We had buckwheat pancakes this year with maple stirrup (as my son calls it) and jolly nice they were too....yum !

Funny, I used to be able to drink like a fish to no ill effect too. Since the onset of the bastard even a whiff of the grape makes me heave. Very cruel.

Reading the Signs said...

Kahless, I'm afraid I could eat pancakes every day if I let myself. But I don't.

Hi Mellif - she said it because there is someone in the group I'm to join who has had that. But why that should make me lucky I can't imagine.

I like the thing about not falling over - it's true!

Hey Cusp, I love buckwheat pancakes but have usually only had them with savoury things. I'm trying to stay away from too much wheat, so must try making those next time.

Re. the grape: it's the thought of it that still tugs. In truth, I don't enjoy it much any more.

Unknown said...

Ah, it's a hard thing that, learning the balance between what we can and can't do when there's chronic illness in the air. I get what my acupuncturist calls Tigger energy - I have, by learning the hard way, learned not to bounce when I'm Tiggerish, likewise I've taken the "be perfect" gene and chucked it out the window, now I've just got to get "try hard" under control. Illness, particularly chronic illness, it strikes me, is about discovering what the lesson is, and learning it well.

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Vanilla, believe me I have learned all the lessons, done the Advanced Course and got the T shirt. In fact I'm thinking of setting up my own Academy. The zen of chronic illness, eh? Always a deeper level one can take it to.

I know Tigger energy - though I've never heard it called that.

Pants said...

Hi Signs

Try hard works for me, except of course when the rest of the world isn't falling in line - which is often.



Reading the Signs said...

Hi Pants,

I am trying hard to make it work for me too.

And you are an inspiration - keep on keeping on.