When I woke this morning to snow covered empty roads, I initially ran through my day plans and reassessed which were possible. Swimming and brunch with a friend? No. Even getting from my parents house, where I’d spent the night, to the pool in my hometown would be hard, let alone my friend and I then navigating the pavements. I know I was disproportionately upset by that, but I’m too tired to swim on work days so my weekend swim is really important to me as the little exercise I can do.
The knock on effects were bigger though: snowed in, could I get back to my flat tonight? And then how to get to work tomorrow? ‘Wait and see’ doesn’t exist for me anymore. I have to organise my carer visits, my taxis to work, even my work laptop is at my flat should I need to work from home. My life is constantly scheduled with military precision. I know this, I’ve commented on it before, and keeping on top of all the moving parts has become an ingrained feature of my daily admin. But it’s only now, when plans unexpectedly fail, that I realise how much this way of living has infiltrated my mind too.
I was irritated, short tempered, and actually finding myself getting upset at my parents, like a toddler who expects grown ups to control the skies. I really only relaxed once all weather forecasts had been checked, a new plan made, and I’d contacted my carer, taxi company, and checked work emails. There’s so much scaffolding holding my life together, undoing it isn’t a quick job. Then followed some harsh self judgement.
I’ve long accepted that disability has robbed me of freedom. The luxury of being able to wake up, get up, go out and do whatever I fancy is an old memory, a richness you only appreciate when it’s lost. The correlation in rigid thinking has crept up on me though, my physical health dragging down my mental health in new ways. I’m a little embarrassed by how stressed I became. The big question, which I don’t have an answer for, is what the heck to do about it. By definition, you can’t plan spontaneity. Maybe learn new things, go to new places – just keep my brain fresh. But still, this will inevitably be within allocated timescales on fixed days, and there’s no changing that.