52 Weeks of Writing: Week 18—It gets harder

52 Weeks of Writing: Week 18—It gets harder
Photo by Aleksandar Cvetanovic / Unsplash

Word count: 50–52k (10k to the mid-point break)

Well, it's been a week.

There's something about writing: it never happens in a vacuum. We have to write while we have kids or pets or colleagues or partners all around us. As much as you try to build a routine, life has a habit of popping up and pulling it all apart.

I wish I could be funny, or sharp, or something, but I don't have the energy. This is the most intensely frustrating week I've had in a while.

The run-up to the mid-point break is tough. The thrill of the start, identifying the inciting incident and the excitement of starting on that journey, have all worn off and now it's the hard job of making sure all the threads lead to the massive fallout of the peak of the story, when everything turns upside down and point to the final crisis/climax.

I've been trying to piece all that together while also teaching, editing, living life.

And gradually, every day, I've been getting a little more tired. I get a lot of fatigue from the overwhelm of daily life. I'd been able to build a routine around coping with fatigue, with overwhelm.

I put the symptoms down to being perimenopausal. I've written about that over the last few weeks—the unpredictability of periods, constant bleeding, etc. I put it all down to being perimenopausal.

But, even if I thought I knew what was going on, I did request confirmation from the GP. Post-pandemic, what we do is fill out online forms and wait for text messages.

I was sent for blood tests. They did a full blood panel, a total work-up.

Meanwhile, the exhaustion worsened. The previous weekend, I'd gone from being able to run 15 miles, down to 8 miles. Then it was 6 miles. One nap turned into two, or three.

A few times, I've looked at myself in the mirror and thought, "Wow, I don't look well."

Still, I tried to carry on as normal.

The doctor called within 24 hours of the blood draw. I got a diagnosis: iron deficiency anaemia.

Of course, the first thing I do is get obsessed and start Googling. This is what I found.

Iron deficiency anaemia has three stages. In the first stage, there are no symptoms. In the first, iron stores are depleted, but it doesn't really affect the blood yet. In the second, the process of making blood cells is altered, in the body's attempt to keep going. In the third, the blood is affected and symptoms start to show.

I'm heading into stage three.

Shrunken blood cells, reduced iron in the blood. Fatigue, fatigue unlike fatigue I've never experienced before, and I've had both severe anorexia and run marathons. This fatigue isn't so much that your energy batteries are run down, but they've been taken out altogether.

This is intensely frustrating. I can barely think straight, so this is why posts have been getting late, I've given up attempting to update Medium, I can barely write because I can't think.

Last week, I tried to write about keeping going despite feeling unwell. I'm not going to get into that grindset, hustle culture, keep going no matter what mentality.

Sometimes, you just have to rest. I did finish Camp Nanowrimo, but I'm only doing what I feel able to. Because rest is good.