Feeling Down and Rolling With It

Mon 9 – Sun 15 Oct 2023


  • Feeling down due to my ongoing ankle / Achilles problem and the change in the weather. Trying to roll with it until things get better.
  • The week of mum’s cataract operation which increased my caring responsibilities
  • No books finished but lots of TV: Big Brother, Uncanny, and the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals

Reasons for Feeling Down and the Remedy

I suppose that as I wrote in my previous blog about how frustrated I felt (read it here), then I should not be surprised that I was left feeling down last week. Two main reasons for this.

First, my ankle / Achilles problem continues

There is some possible light at the end of the tunnel but it continues to restrict my exercising ability – see below. As said before, one of the key aspects of my life since I stopped working has been taking exercise. But I’m being restricted by the discomfort I am feeling.

Second, it finally feels like Autumn has arrived

The warmth has seeped away and the days are definitely shorter, wetter, colder. I wake up and it’s semi-dark at 7am. Mum is talking about putting the heating on. I don’t know if it’s SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) but I know many of us start feeling down at this time of the year. At least I have my Spain break to look forward to in about a fortnight. But it’s all downhill from here until light and heat returns in March.

Autumnal trees and leaves

So what is the answer to feeling down?

I think you have to just live through it. It’s like an organism that will die. This is not the severe depression I have had before. This is a passing cloud that must be allowed to pass. Let time take its course. Appreciate your feelings but don’t surrender to them and find things that make you happy. The latter is slightly difficult as I would lose myself in walking and exercise but that is currently curtailed due to the ankle / Achilles problem; it’s a vicious circle that needs to be broken.

“The changes we dread most may contain our salvation.”

Barbara Kingsolver

Health and Efficiency

At least a telephone assessment to come

I realise I need to rest my ankle / Achilles injury if there is any hope of it getting better. The good news is that I have an appointment with a physio next week. Bad news is that it’s a telephone assessment that may lead onto a face to face meeting but unclear how long that will take. The ongoing NHS delays leave so many of us feeling down. If I was cynical I could think that the government is trying to force people to go private…

I had planned to go to the gym on Wed morning. That would have been the only time that I would have exercised with no other gym or swim sessions (though partly as I needed to care for mum after her operation). But then on Wed morning itself, my injury was really hurting again. Perhaps it was psychological but I could not take the chance of causing more damage and stopping any recovery that is happening.

Dissected achilles

Gym, Swim, Weight: Temporarily no good news

The problems with my ankle / Achilles and caring for mum (see below) meant big, fat zero in terms of getting to the gym or swimming pool. Meanwhile, I continue to find some relief through wearing the passion-killer compression bandage. No real exercise and something only old people wear – no wonder I am feeling down.

Weight showed a slight increase probably due to lack of exercise and an element of feeling sorry for myself comfort eating. But I think I know where I am going wrong and I need to make a few adjustments to my eating to stop the weight coming back. Shouldn’t overlook the positive that I am more than half a stone lighter than I was a year ago.

man weighing himself

Family and Friends

Mum’s operation

Another big layer of last week was mum’s cataract operation. Dave hired a car on Thursday which was a good idea as everything took far longer than expected. I took mum to the hospital at 11.30 as directed. Turns out this was to get people prepped for the afternoon list starting at 1pm. Left them my contact details and they said I would be phoned to collect mum up to 5pm.

Me and Dave went back to his flat and waited. And waited. We left for the hospital at 4pm, and about 4.15 we got the call to say come back. London traffic was heavy but we got there by 4.45/5. Collected mum and we had to go through her post-op medication then back home.

I spent the rest of the day and the next day looking after her. She was in pain and discomfort but the main issue was trying to explain the regime of drops (3 and 4 drops through the day with 2 different meds) and trying to help her be able to put the drops into her eyes on her own. I can’t be around for every single time drops are needed not least as one med is for 4 months.

I know mum is feeling down post-operation but hopefully things will pick up over the next few weeks as her eyesight improves (fingers crossed).


Art and Culture

  • No cinema Had intended to see a gay film on Friday as part of the London Film Festival. However I couldn’t go as I needed to spend time with mum the first day after her op. No point in feeling down about having to miss it as I wasn’t to know mum’s op would be when it was. I booked the ticket several weeks before we got mum’s date.
  • Big Brother I’m dipping into Big Brother as and when. It is great to have it back and it feels like a comfort blanket that I can put on when I need to (which is quite a bit this week). A very mixed group of housemates. Little eye candy apart from Paul from Liverpool whose Only Fans pics have already been leaked – predictable.
  • Uncanny Started watching ‘Uncanny’ on Friday. A nice programme about ‘real life’ occurrences of the supernatural. I am firmly Team Sceptic but I like a good mystery / ghost story. Also found out the Radio 4 podcast it is based on and started to listen to that.
  • Rugby World Cup Really enjoyed watching the quarter finals at the weekend. Some sexy blokes but also great games full of tension and skill that see-sawed backwards and forwards as to who would win. I’m always amazed when teams don’t give it their all in these situations where it’s their big chance to be part of history.

Books and Reading

Reading is one of my key escape mechanisms / pressure valves. One of my ways of getting out of a mental ditch. And I did a fair amount of reading last week though perhaps not as much as I wanted. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself to do anything when you feel down. And some things like caring take up more time than we expect.

So no books completed but progressing 2 very good ones

  • ‘CLR James: A Life Beyond the Boundaries’ by John L Williams. The most recent biography of the celebrated black Marxist historian. Nice to read about such a ground-breaking historian but also seeing how everyone’s lives can be very hum-drum.
  • ‘A Memory Called Empire’ by Arkady Martine. An award winning piece of space opera. As usual, saying a lot about when it was written. A nice view of an empire in decline and a pioneer-type settler world that stands against it.
Rows and rows of beautiful books

The Week Ahead

  • Looking forward to my telephone assessment on Tuesday but it’s not magic and I can’t expect an instant improvement to my ankle / Achilles problem
  • Things do feel slightly better with the problem so I am going to chance some visits to the gym / swimming pool but focus on upper body only
  • Caring for mum continues with a strong emphasis on her post-operation recovery particularly making sure her complex drops regime is administered correctly
  • Should finish both of my books and move onto some new stuff
  • Getting everything in place for my break in Torremolinos – that should cure my feeling down 🙂

And Finally…

If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit

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