Melancholy Magic

In thirty minutes Lily will arrive to do my night support and as soon as she gets here we’re going to head straight out for a swim. But by the time she gets here I want to be out of the melancholy mood I’m in at the moment. That gives me half an hour to write myself cheerful. I’m optimistic this is achievable for two reasons:

Firstly, the process of writing often helps me feel clearer about whatever I’m feeling and this in turn usually makes me feel much calmer or happier.

Secondly, I’m fairly sure that I’m feeling low for a very specific and predictable reason. Today’s felt like the first proper day of spring, the sun’s out and feels warm, and several of the trees nearby are heavy with blossom. For many people this is a time of joy as the lighter evenings hint at the approach of summer. But for several years the first warm spell each spring has made me sad.

At first I couldn’t understand it and it took me a while to work out why. It was in spring 2011 that my mobility started to deteriorate to a point where I was finding it hard to get around. That summer was miserable, I spent many hot days stuck indoors because I didn’t have the support I needed to get out.

Later that year I got my first wheelchair and some support at home. These two improvements opened up my life again and meant the following summer was very different.

I’m generally extremely happy with life as a wheelchair user and I love my chairs and the freedom they give me. Yet despite this, each spring I still feel a little echo of the loss of my mobility from that first year. It’s subtle and usually slips in without me noticing, and then passes equally quickly as soon as I’ve acknowledged it.

But this year there’s an additional reason for being melancholy – my body is once again changing, with chronic pain impacting on all areas of my life.

It’s five minutes to eight and Lily will be buzzing the door at any minute. I’m going to close my laptop, put on my swimming costume and trust that writing this will have worked its magic and that I’ll be able to leave my melancholy behind for another year.

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