reading the signs

Many moons ago, I was gainfully employed. I had an office to be found in, staff to support, clients to visit and a lot of driving to do. I was organised and cleared my desk. Gradually, the desk stuff expanded. I was spending Saturday afternoons in work just to try and keep on top of the paperwork. I was writing reports into the night. There were stacks of papers beside, behind and all around me. A blind man on a dark night could have seen what was happening, but I missed it. I was overwhelmed. I kept on going.  I didn’t have time to take leave I’d booked. I got sick. I kept on going. Eventually my body decided that drastic action was required, and it ground to a halt. I woke up one day feeling like I’d been run over by a bus, and my brain replaced with cotton wool.


Years later, I’m still missing signs. After Herself died I finally went to Weight Watchers. My mind wasn’t totally occupied with her health. I had a bit of space to manage my own health. I lost about 3 stone, and I was a happy bunny.

I paced myself. I didn’t do all the things I wanted to do, but I threw myself at things with enthusiasm. I began to notice that it was taking me even longer than normal to do things, and that I was worrying away about everything. I didn’t notice that I was gaining weight again. I knew it, but it didn’t strike me as significant. The pounds added up, and now I have to pay Weight Watchers again. I have put on about 10lb. Bad words. But why? How has that happened?

I haven’t been paying attention. I’ve been overwhelmed. It’s possible to be doing too much, even when I’m only doing a fraction of what I want to. I’m like a phone that needs charging for ages before it even has the energy to show the warning red sign. I’m taking a break. Gardening leave, without the gardening. Volunteer retirement, if you will. Yes, of course, there are bits I have to finish up and things I still want to be involved in, but I’m taking a huge (hopefully temporary) step back.

found at:
found at:

Blogging has been sporadic for the last few months, and will stay that way. I may cobble together an assignment for my writing class (I’ve missed the last two; one because of the Dublin trip and one because of sleeping), then again I may not. I may spend the next month lying on the sofa watching box sets of great dramas or working my way through what’s been recorded. I have no expectations.

The volunteering and the writing class aren’t the sole causes of my brain being full, but they’re the things I can manage. Little steps.


25 thoughts on “reading the signs

  1. I’ll be sending ‘good vibes’. Your a deadly writer, so even this is good to read -hope you take that the way it meant.

  2. This stepping back is in the wind right now. You are not alone. I too am considering slowing down and reducing the days I blog, maybe with the turn of the year, I’ll find new enthusiasm and perhaps a new direction. Rest well and listen to your body. Hugs, GM.

  3. Your health and wellbeing are what matter most, Fiona. You and your family are all that matters when you hit a wall. I’ve slowed down since my accident–and believe me when I say the accident was really small! But the impact caused me to see some signs in myself and I’ve slowed down a lot and let a few things go–good things, too, but just not for now! You take care of yourself…and I’d love to see you just pop in from time to time to say “hello” and to let us know you’re doing okay. I like that you say you don’t have an agenda. That’s fabulous! oxo

  4. OOOooooooo, you know what’s going to happen now don’t you? Slowly, slowly, as you let yourself lay and just be, your mind will begin to do its thing and little by little – who know and who cares how long – the plot will form. A little twisty line at first, and they, wow, you’ll have it! The characters, just outlines at first, will move to technicolour, then one day, they will be fully formed and OH. MY. GOD. The book will be born.

    But what, oh what will your nom de plume be…….

  5. Fiona, sorry to hear you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed again and have to slow down and regroup as it were. I hope you get the spiritual lift you need.

  6. Fiona I thought I would have caught up with you and Spurs fan and the girls by now, but I haven’t cos of new job and house move and on and on and on as you know or guess. But I was moved by your blog – its honesty, its vunerability, its powerlessness – all the things that are unallowed in our society, all the things that drive someone like me out of their reason, all the things – the real things, that are left out of the narratives of our world. What you say is scary, you do know that, scary to that large proportion of the world who are still pretending. You’ll see it in the too quite to reassure responses …

    Here is the little reassurance I give myself, my quirky individual self, no matter how scary and powerless and resigned what you say in your blog is – isnt it truer, more honest, more authentic than ‘the treasury’ , ‘the markets’, ‘the recovery’ – you know – the money printing machine that Britain has been running since 2008 (over 350 bn, yes billion [and imperial ones at that, not little American ones] as far as I can bear to recall). So they are printing money (an abstract) and you are struggling with the real (and being made to feel unreal in direct proportion)…Eliot said we couldn’t bear too much reality – of which kind, I wonder.

    I’m waffling a little – what I wanted to say was ‘thankyou for this honest, painful, vulnerable, inspiring post’

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