This time next week I will have been in Spain for 24 hours on some spurious male bonding thing.

The four-day visit has been in the diary for six months or more and preparations are at a very advanced stage, as you would expect at such a late date (we fly out next Monday morning).

I’m in the process of putting work on hold from the end of this week and making sure I’ve got some projects to come back to once I return.

But my head is swirling with doubts, worries and concerns – not because of the alcohol levels required for most male bonding activities.

By this time next week I will have been apart from Rachel for the longest time since we got married two years ago.

Before you reach for the bucket and throw up at the vomit-inducing slushiness of that revelation, I should point out there is a bigger (deeper?) reason for my anxiety.

It also means I will have abdicated caring duties for much longer than at any point over the last two years. We’ve had 24 and 36 hours apart, but this Spanish trip will see me away for five days in total.

I’m struggling a little to cope with that realisation.

I know Rachel will be more than OK whilst I’m away, in many respects she’ll be better off than me. She’s spending those five days staying with her dad and his partner, so will be in the best possible hands (the same would be true if she’d gone to stay with her mum instead).

And yet the anxiety seems to be building up in me.

There is absolutely no good or sensible reason for this.

As well as having her doting dad looking after her, Rachel’s health has been on an (albeit very slow and gradual) upwards curve during the summer.

The CFS/ME still has a habit of biting back, but we’ve certainly enjoyed a far more active summer than 12 months ago. This has had so many positive effects – from boosting Rachel’s creativity to being more sociable and doing a fair bit of exploring on our recent holiday and closer to home.

It is certainly true that 12 months ago I simply wouldn’t have considered taking such an extended break on my own. Indeed, I accepted the Spanish invite 6 months ago only after Rachel had fairly adamantly insisted I “must go”.

The break will be good for us both. Part of the reason our recent road trip north was such a success is that it disrupted some of the more negative routines we had slipped into over the last year especially.

It also proved quite inspiring – as can be seen on Rachel’s own blog and in the fact that I’ve indulged in plenty of “fun writing” in recent weeks.

So being apart for five days and both enjoying a very different environment – even if Rachel will be on more familiar territory than me – will be healthy in so many ways.

The fact that Flyman is still on an extended holiday with Rachel’s dad means she will get a chance to re-bond with our forever slumbering cat whilst I’m doing manly stuff on a Spanish Costa.

And yet those anxieties won’t go away quickly.

Having interviewed carers previously and done some reading recently, I know such feelings are common.

I also know these feelings diminish quickly enough.

But it doesn’t make them stop here and now.

I know I’m looking forward to next week and so is Rachel.

I just wish I could get some respite from my own head for the next few days.

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6 responses »

  1. I’m really excited for you and think the break will be good for you. I will be fine fine fine. Make the most of the trip says I. Go with the flow and switch off :o)

  2. ashysheela says:

    I think time apart is really important. Lots to tell each other about when you see each other again! Hope you both have a good few days and miss each other lots at the same time!

  3. Paul Groves says:

    Ashy: Thanks. You are right, I just wish my brain would switch off sometimes. I’m hoping I won’t have too much to tell Rachel about, I’d quite like some relaxation along with all the male bonding 😉

    Rachel: You’re always right 😉

  4. Ursula says:

    You are a sweet and kind man, Paul.

    Take Rachel by her word. One of the worst mistakes to make in a relationship – and one way or another we all care for someone – is to see ourself and the other as a parcel. You can love a person with all your heart – but your are still two separate beings. Relax, enjoy your friends’ company, sun, sand, sangria and flamenco (which part of Spain are you going to?) – and you’ll be twice as much fun for Rachel when you come back. As indeed she will be for you.

    Only Flyman will sulk on your return.

    U

  5. Paul Groves says:

    U: Thank you, spot on as usual. We’re staying on the coast between Malaga and Gibraltar. The details are hazy because I’m being swept along and others are doing all the organising. I just know which airport I need to be at and what time on Monday morning…and Thursday to come back home.

  6. […] I need respite from my own head […]

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