In the past week or so I have been poorly with an imagined possible disease, a very real mental health issue (anxiety, along with the nausea and headaches that come with it) and an even realer physical ailment (I have been struck down with a bad case of the lurgy, which feels like a girl-who-cried-wolf-style punishment for being a hypochondriac).
I struggle with health anxiety, AKA hypochondria. There is no symptom, now matter how big or small, that I can't chalk up to some imagined horrible syndrome. I ought to have a loyalty card for visiting my GP for all the times I've popped in to check something out; a spot of blood in my ear which turned out to just be a scratch, not a burst eardrum; a bruised boob, which was probably just the result of a crappy sports bra, not breast cancer as I feared. I once fainted while watching a short film about leukaemia and bone marrow transplants (which was a cartoon, for crying out loud).
This time around you can add cervical cancer to the list of serious disorders that I have practically diagnosed myself with (along with breast cancer, skin cancer, stomach cancer, bowel cancer and Parkinson's Disease). I went to my GP to check up on some irregular bleeds that I was having and he recommended that I needed to book a hospital appointment to get everything properly checked out, just to be on the safe side. Instead of just getting it booked and getting on with my life like a normal person, it sent me into something of an emotional tailspin, I'm sorry to say. My appointment went ahead sooner than planned, and found absolutely zero problems, as I should have expected. I got to watch the inside of my cervix and entrance to my womb on a pretty big screen, which means that I can now add 'That's the worst/grossest/most boring thing I've ever seen, and I've seen the inside of my own cervix!' to my repertoire of witty put-downs.
The one silver lining to the cloud of tickly coughs and snot that I currently find myself engulfed in is that time resting means lots of time for reading! I am a complete tart when it comes to books; I always have several on the go at the same time.
A couple of recommendations:
– Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame – a non-fiction, semi-memoir about the pursuit of creativity, not for money or acclaim but for the sheer joy of it. Gilbert challenges many of the most damaging myths about creativity, including the ever-popular 'tortured artist' cliche. She tells of an aspiring author who gave up after one of her lecturers told her that writing was only worthwhile if it makes you feel bad. Seriously, people! Eat, drink, be merry, write, draw, plant flowers, sing, dance, listen to Britney and enjoy your life.
– She Caused a Riot: 100 Unknown Women who Built Cities, Sparked Revolutions and Massively Crushed It by Hannah Jewell – the title pretty much covers it. V educational, entertaining and properly lols. I wish the stories of these amazing babes would be taught in schools so that fewer boys and girls would grow up thinking that women are delicate flowers unsuited to 'traditionally' 'masculine' (I'm doing ironic air quotes here) activities such as ruling an empire, being an unbeatable military tactician and killing a Nazi with your bare hands.
This month has largely been business-as-usual as far as work goes. I spent the first half of May focusing on my uni coursework. More recently I have been getting in touch with different companies and organisations about the possibility of freelance work, and the response has been encouraging. Marketing people can be so nice! Of course I won't be counting any chickens until they've hatched/until the money is in my bank account, and then immediately back out of my account in the form of ASOS orders, which will then be returned almost as quickly, because that is how my personal finances work.