A day in the life of a single parent. – Guest column by Pooja Priyamvada, Fibromyalgia survivor
Our guest columnist this week is Pooja Priyamvada, a columnist who writes regularly about issues related to mental health. Pooja has fibromyalgia, a condition characterised by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Women are more affected and there is no cure.
Some days begin like this, thankfully some to begin with, over the years these become many. You wake up as if in someone else’s virtual reality. Like someone, somewhere, in this case my own nervous system is flicking switches I can’t control and so I pour salt into my morning tea (which I don’t mind), some milk in the red sauce of the pasta I am making for my daughter’s lunch (I hope it make the sauce creamy, not sour), sugar into the chutney in the blender which was supposed to be spicy, and then I put the mixer into the fridge. Well almost.
Extreme brain fog does this to me. The constant chronic fatigue of living the tough life of a single parent reminded time and again that she is a “single mother” of a girl child in India and the never-ending Sisyphus-like toil of fibromyalgia and depression.
I begin searching for a book written by the famous Hindi writer Swadesh Deepak. It’s an autobiography of sorts that he started writing while suffering from schizophrenia. One day, 13 years ago, he went missing. I can’t find the book, so, I order it afresh online, but the payment requires a password. Where are the passwords? At a virtual space that also requires a password. I have forgotten that too, so I opt for ‘Cash on Delivery’ and log out.
I start panicking, thinking that I haven’t packed the school tiffin. The box is in the fridge. Then I remember she has the other box today.
Two words I read somewhere are coming back repeatedly to me , Anhedonia and Allodynia. Are they the same? Am I confusing them? Google tells me that Anhedonia is the inability to feel pleasure and is a common symptom of depression and several other mental health conditions. Allodynia is feeling pain from non-painful stimuli.
I think I have both today. Two AAs on the pain and symptom report card of the day!
I go to the chatbot I use to practice some grounding, but my fingers hurt while typing and I am typing gibberish. A nasty client calls though she knows I avoid calls. At the end of the 60 minute-call, my hands are shivering, maybe the anxiety is back.
The tea has gone cold.
I am recalling this about eight hours later and struggling to punch keys on the keyboard, but this has to be told lest I forget this. There are no visible signs of any illness on my body. This pain, this struggle, is my illness.
Can anybody see it? Can you?
Also Read: Understanding Fibromyalgia