I’ve been having real problems putting stuff in proper perspective.

My reaction to them has been way out of proportion, leading to the odd bout of ranting or introspection.

The curious thing is it has been like a switch going on and off – one minute Mr Ranty, the next Mr Relaxed.

It was most noticeable with a vaguely work-related issue. But rather than address it square on, my usual style for all things work-related, I allowed it to fester a little.

Worse than that, I ranted about it on a regular basis to my wife. Although largely sympathetic to the valid point I was convinced I had, I must have tested Rachel’s patience (not to mention her concentration levels).

This lack of perspective reared its ugly head again more recently when Rachel asked what progress I had made regarding our overgrown garden.

She had asked me back in January to get quotes from companies to hack back the jungle and then again a few weeks ago. Both times I made a mental note to do it, both times it went completely out of my head within 24 hours – not just filed under “do it soon”, but well and truly forgotten.

It wasn’t this inability to remember, so much, that I couldn’t to put into proper perspective.

Rather, it was the overwhelming belief that I had failed.

I had failed Rachel in her time of need when I was supposed to be the ultra-efficient one, juggling work requirements and caring responsibilities with sublime ease.

If I can forget something so basic as sorting the garden out, what would I fail her on next – reminding Rachel about her meds, giving her the right vitamins, keeping her amused and stress-free?

All nonsense, obviously, but it made for an uncomfortable afternoon for us both.

The biggest problem is that I let this fester, rather than chat to Rachel. As ever, chatting to Rachel quickly helps to sort out the stuff and nonsense.

So what is the sound of two fists clenching? Silence, obviously.

But in this case, silence isn’t golden. It is quite damaging.

It forms part of the learning curve we are both on – being married, dealing with my wife’s CFS, life in general. I need to learn to share a bit more, not bottle things up, stop clenching those fists in silent frustration.

Next month is ME/CFS International Awareness Day and I’ll be blogging again about my life with my wife’s CFS on May 12. So will many others (hopefully), including Rachel.
ME/CFS International Awareness Day 12 May

In the meantime, I’ve got everything in proportion and a sense of perspective is returning.

Various things have helped, such as talking with Rachel and seeing what a real balls up actually entails courtesy of the Fail Blog.

Making proper lists, rather than mental notes is obviously something I need to consider in the future.

And that reminds me, I must ring those gardeners…


5 responses »

  1. Ursula says:

    Paul, first things first. Don’t ring the gardener.

    Remember, not that I want to deprive any professonal company, firstly you’ll need to earn the money to pay the gardener. Yet, in the scheme of things, gardening is good for you: Physically – you work those muscles; spiritually – the pride over your eventual achievement and, most importantly, mentally – a bit like when ironing, washing up or pushing the hoover you have all that time to actually THINK – without anyone questioning your purpose.

    One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given, and yes I know it’s odd, was by my gynocologist, when I was about 24: Forget about organised exercise, get an axe and fell a tree. And he was right.

    Also, Paul, so that you don’t get overwhelmed by any task in hand, remember: Rome was not built in a day either.

    If you do take up the challenge, like me, you can always use the weather conditions as an excuse for not getting anywhere that quickly.

    I am still working on how to best edit a mind numbingly long answer to your life/work balance entry. Not as easy as I thought.

    On the subject of ranting and raving; I do it frequently: The cats are used to it – and so is everybody else who happens to pass by. I even talk to myself, if the worst comes to the worst.

    I know you haven’t quite yet hit forty; but take it from me, efficiency is vastly overrated and does nothing to redress the pain of life work balance. If anything, ultra efficiency usually tips everything over in the wrong direction.

    As to clenching fists, grinding teeth and generally getting hot under the collar – that’s life. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

    In the meantime, if you need to borrow a lawnmower, a rake or a cup of sugar you know where to come.


  2. Paul – nobody expects you to be perfect – except maybe you.

    There is a never ending list of ‘stuff’ – when you’re doing ‘stuff’ for two people it’s an even fatter list.

    You’ve never failed me. Far from it.

    Ursula – the gardening is going to paid from my Disability Living Allowance. I need Paul to set it up on my behalf and do the talking bits with people as I struggle with that (amongst many things).

    Yes, it’s simple to get stuck into doing the garden. But it’s suddenly not so simple when you have many, many other things to juggle – including being a carer. Especially when it’s a massive task that brings you no enjoyment.

    It was always my domain to chop and fell. Seeing all the chopping that has not been done is a constant reminder of my incapacity.

    I get DLA because of my debiliation. So using it to pay someone skilled to take on a massive physical job which neither of us is able to do (for differing reasons) makes complete sense.

    Then I get to enjoy our garden with my husband and feel a little less housebound.

  3. Mikki says:

    I must read things more carefully. I thought that said “Mr Randy”.

    You remind me of Dray who felt strangely that he had failed me for chasing a burglar out of the house (or “failing to protect me and my home” as he saw it) and who does lots and lots of things for me, because I am not there to do them for myself. He feels guilty if he forgets something, whereas I feel guilty for asking him in the first place. The truth is that in a partnership everyone needs each other.

    Perhaps we should all get together and form a self help group (that’s like a drinking group, but with a thin excuse)

  4. Ursula says:

    Rachel, if I gave offence I apologize.

    As you say, at times and for many different reasons, we all need to pay others to do things for us even if we’d rather do them ourselves.

    I wasn’t trying to save Paul money or to extol the benefits of doing one’s own gardening. I just wanted to cheer him up when he was quite clearly down about what he perveives – wrongly in my opinion – to be his shortcomings.

    In one of my next blog entries I will take up the subject of how easy it is to put my foot into it when communicating via the ether with people I am only just beginning to get to know; a subject dear to my heart.


  5. […] months ago, then helping to care for her as she was forced to give up work, it is safe to say I get angry and […]

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