Learning to change


My year 13 group are currently looking at Virtue ethics. Don’t worry I’m not going to go into detail about it at the moment, but the general gist (and I mean general) is that through learning and habituation we develop good characteristics (virtues) which mean that we will automatically make good decisions. These are going to be different for different people, and we will all be starting off from different points based on our nature and how we have been taught. I’ve always enjoyed it as a theory but pupils often struggle with it, and I know the husband did when we studied it at theological college because there isn’t a straightforward formula as there are with other ethical theories. 

Why am I telling you about virtue theory? Because I’m having to learn to change and habituated myself at the moment. And I’ve said to numerous people… this is probably the hardest lesson I’ve ever had to learn and it is knocking me sideways.

Growing up I was always aware of the rule that if I hadn’t gone to school that I wasn’t allowed to go out in the evening. This was fair enough, common sense, and probably did make me go to school on days when I didn’t always fancy it, but I wasn’t really ‘that ill’. It gave me the necessary incentive. My brother and I were never mollycoddled – if we were ill, we were ill – we didn’t get any special treatment, and we would want to get back to school and more importantly our extra curricular activities! Essentially my family were a family that just kind of got on with it. 

When I got diagnosed with epilepsy my parents were not going to let it rule my life. Obviously they didn’t encourage me to go disco’s, but they didn’t wrap me up in cotton wool. In fact one of the first seizures I had was about 24 years ago to the day, when I was on a holiday in Disneyland Paris, with the Guides. I had only recently been diagnosed, I had only just started medication, I imagine many parents wouldn’t have let their children go away without them but mine did! 

That is the approach I’ve always had, I’ve just always got on with things. Yes there are times when I should have rested longer after seizures, but I wasn’t going to let the mess of my brain mess up my life or more importantly define my life.

So… after nearly 36 years of this mindset, I am really struggling with the lesson I’m currently having to learn about how to deal with current health issue!

About 5 weeks ago now I spent the majority of the weekend on the sofa… that’s the first I remember of what I now know to be a virus. Since then I’ve been to work struggling with tiredness, had 5 seizures, two weeks on the sofa and been back to work. It was tough going back but was good. Me, in my infinite wisdom, figured, excellent back to normal! WRONG!

On Thursday I met E for dinner, she mentioned numerous times about how viruses work, and that it’s going to take time, and there will be days when I will just need to stop, and how I need to listen to my body. I was listening, but I’m not sure I actually believed her. I’ve had numerous people telling me, take it slow, with my response being, “yes, yes I know” in the same tone as my pupils when I say it’s good that we are practising exam questions.

This weekend the reality is kicking in big time. Friday, I got back from work and was struggling to stay awake, but I still went to book group, where I struggled to hold conversations or finish sentences. Saturday short walk in to town and then popping down to see some friends. Last night I slept for 10.5 hours! This morning church, which was lovely, but by the time I got back I was wiped out and have stayed on the sofa since. I was supposed to go to some friends, to collapse at theirs, but I had to stay here.

When I was in year 11 I had a term off school due to my epilepsy, my mum arranged for me to meet up with my friends during that time. When I had anxiety before Christmas, I made sure that I met up with people and went out every day. But I can’t do that now. I’m having to hibernate. This is going against every bone and instinct that I have. Although I understand the theory behind it, and the necessity of it, it is definitely not what I am naturally choosing to do. I’m also questioning whether I only stop when I am tired or whether I should be stopping as a form of prevention as well.

A few friends have spoken about us having different seasons in our lives. Within nature seasons have a purpose to bring out the best, to create new life. This is clearly meant to be a slow season for me, with a promise of new life, unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be coming particularly naturally, but I do seem to be learning SLOWLY! 

I am just so grateful for the husband saying ‘are you sure we need to do that?’ And the friends going out of their way to make the point of telling me to ‘take it slowly’!

Here’s to a restful week!

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