In the winter of 2002, I gave up another piece of myself.
As I let go of more and more of my involvements with the rest of the world, I found I had a lot of time on my hands. I was spending alot of time unconscious, sleeping odd hours around the clock. But the waking hours would drag. I was no longer able to write for my website, and I had given up my newsletters in the year or so before that. So I did what came naturally to me. I read.
Until the time came that I couldn't do that anymore. Spending more than 10 minutes trying to read anything, would leave me with a head full of fog and a body full of swirling vibrating frustration. Down would go the book and down would go Jody. On my face on my bed, trying to breathe my way through the chaotic kaleidoscope revolving around me.
Okay. So, no more books. I turned then to an absurd second choice. I started doing crossword puzzles. Ridiculous, when I think about it now. Just couldn't seem to let go of the world of words. But this pastime ultimately was just as treacherous and out the window it went.
Now here was a dilemma. What in the world could I fill my waking hours with? What distractions could I grab on to? Conversations by phone or otherwise were not an option. My ability to listen, comprehend and speak were too tenuous and fled too quickly. Watch TV? Strained those fragile abilities once again.
I used to know how to knit, had made sweaters for my husband, my babies, myself. This was years ago, back in the days when I had the time, before those babies took all my free time away. I decided I would try to knit ... something. It would have to be something simple, a pattern that needed more than one mindless kind of stitch was out of my scope. I decided to knit a blanket, in panels, and had no interest at all in whether or not this blanket would ever be used. I needed something to do, something to become absorbed in. Something with a soothing calming rhythm to it.
Since I already had learned how to knit, this could work. If I'd had to learn how, it would have been as impossible for me as ... well, as almost everything else was proving to be.
I began the first panel, and finished it. Then the second, and the third. Don't remember how many there were, didn't matter. There were enough to get me through the winter without losing what little was left of my mind. The repetitive motions had a therapeutic effect. The lack of thought required gave my battered brain a chance to heal. The turning inward protected my overwrought nervous system and brought ... calm.
Did the trick for that winter. And when I finished the blanket ... I unravelled it and started over again.