Home / Blog Posts / Fatigue and the Black Dog / Diary of a Chronically Exhausted Vicar. Episode 32

It was a fog, thickly white, suffocating.
It was an anvil or grand piano falling suddenly, heavily, from a snapped rope.
It was a prison door closing out the light, the freedom.
It was sorrow, it was lethargy, it was discomfort, it was pain.

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar image

The virus knocked me off my feet before it had fully arrived. At the first sign it was on its way, Chronic Fatigue flipped its switch into higher gear, and so, it seemed, did Depression. All energy, motivation, joy – gone, at the flip of a switch. It was days, weeks even, before I would understand why.

When at last it settled in, for five days it turned me into a zombie, and that was almost the only symptom. The foggy headedness so much a symptom of the other things that I suppose it’s no surprise I couldn’t see it clearly for itself.
And now that the other symptoms of the virus are here – I’m swallowing razor blades and beginning to cough up phlegm – the fog is lifting, and I feel some sense of happiness for the first time in a week.

Honestly, until yesterday when it moved from head into throat, it felt like a Depression virus, and I get so worried when it seems the Depression is coming back, for it is so quiet and so much a part of me that I forget the damn black dog is here all the smegging time. And sometimes, when I remember, I get mad.

It’s the anniversary of the death of the world’s beloved Robin Williams to Depression, today, or yesterday (I’m reading about it on twitter feeds from the USA, and the time difference has me befuddled). It’s an insidious illness. It’s an indiscriminate illness. It’s a potentially lethal illness.

So I guess I am right to be wary at the signs of its switching into higher gear within me. It’s already heightened with the presence of the Chronic Fatigue. The inability to move egging on the desire not to move; the physical pain exacerbating the abiding ache of despair; the lack of concentration doing something worse, I can’t think what …

I am also right to let the darkness rise from its corner from time to time, especially now that I have less energy for the struggle of resistance. The structures, the rhythms of continual movement, even when I feel I cannot – I’ve done three puzzles this week, small movement even while I rest; sitting still with the sun occasionally on my back through the window; achievement, joy, delight, stars on a dim night sky – this habit of active rest keeps me moving towards better health, even when illness is here to stay.

Today I can see sunlight through the cloud.
I have wriggled out from under the anvil.
Fresh air is blowing through the open door.
The pain remains, and discomfort, but the sorrow is headed out that door.