Wednesday, 6 February 2008


I woke up yesterday morning and couldn't move. My legs were heavy, I could hardly lift my head off the pillow and I seemed detached from my body. I was so bad that I wondered if "it" had returned again - but this was different. I knew what I wanted to do but my body woudn't respond. I stayed in bed all day, which meant that the kids had to stay at home with me.

Lying in my room staring at the ceiling I started to realise what had happened - it was as if I'd fallen into a black hole. Kirsty's death, my own illness, Graham, the kids and my blind desire to return to work had all combined to overwhelm me. Looking back I began to see just how selfish I'd really been. The problem stemmed from the fact that I read my blog from start to finish for the first time last night. It was like living through it all again but remaining conscious throughout. I think I've been sleepwalking for the last month - acting but not thinking. How could I have left the kids and gone back to work? How did I think a chat the evening Graham died would have possibly seen the kids through the trauma. I'd kept excusing myself that everyone was going through the same thing but I was wrong - we all confronting our own unique experience - the fact that lots of people were having similar experiences did not make it the same.

I'd phoned Alison in a panic and she had managed to calm me down - we spoke about the school split and how I had acted in such a manic way, I'd never even considered how frightened the rest of the teachers were - I had only looked at everything from my own point of view. Thank God for friends. I feel so ashamed - me - the counsellor, the conciliator, the mediator - the person who could be relied upon to find a solution ,to have empathy, to care, to love - all a sham, a fake, a falsehood.

I couldn't go in again today but at least the kids went in with Jennifer. She's just left the house after having brought them home. She brought the best wishes from everyone at the school and told me there was no rush to come back.

Can I go back?


KathyinFL said...

Interesting response. Just as your school center was becoming stabilized, you took a header.

But in truth, better for it to happen now than in the middle of a more important phase of its growth.

Sounds like you had not taken the opportunity to work through your own grief. You've done an amazing amount of work for having just been deathly ill as well as losing your husband and daughter. You need to be careful, grief has its own physical demands as you appear to have found out.

But I wouldn't be ashamed. Everyone reacts differently to tragedy, and there has certainly been enough of that lately. Accept that your spirit and body needed something and it shut down long enough to get your attention so that you could address that need.

DC said...


Thanks again for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

So, you're suffering from depression, a not unrealistic side effect - and a lasting one - from a pathogenic flu infection. Read up on your 1918 cases - most patients who survived suffered from neurological complications.

See, the pundits haven't spent much time on this aspect, and yet its central to the pathology of highly pathogenic influenza. There are reasons I can't go into on why this is so, but suffice to say, your main character should have lasting problems with this recurrent depression, as would the twins and other survivors at school and in your characters social circles.

The insomnia isn't from grief, it's also a very real side effect. It weakens immunity and helps set up the community for a second wave.

Its reinfection from within, not transport between urban centers, thats the key in understanding the infectious waves. Nearly 50% of those reinfected are asymptomatic.

That is how it spreads to latently infect those who don't succumb in the first wave.

Keep up the good work! Don't let this blog get you down. It's quite important to give a realistic face to an otherwise time-blurred memory of lethal pandemics.