Some people might know that I’m doing my placement year at university currently. I have fallen in so insanely lucky, I have well and truly landed on my feet with my placement organisation. They have been so truly great, I can’t find the words without it sounding stupid and false. They probably don’t realise it either, which is kinda sad. My supervisor is fantastic. She has really looked after me so far this year, and put up with my constant whining and bitching and complaining. Thank god we share the same sense of humour, or I’d be stuffed.

I can hear you all saying “Hannah, why on earth are you anxious?! It sounds like you’re having a great time!” and you’d be right, because I am having a great time. That’s the problem. It feels too good to be true, and I don’t know if I’d cope if it changed now. To me, it seems likely though…

Winter has hit me harder than usual this year in ways that I’m not used to. I can (generally) cope with the pain and the general uselessness of my right hand/arm in flare, I have strategies for that so I can carry on. What I’m not used to is the crippling headaches and exhaustion that have developed this year. My eyes feel like they’re about to explode out of my skull, and I seriously struggle to get through the day without feeling like I just want to sleep. I genuinely struggle to get out of bed in the morning, despite the fact that I love what I’m doing so much. Also, my memory has deteriorated at a terrifying speed. I literally forgot 2 appointments in the last few weeks. My brain is just full of nothing, it is a huge pit of emptiness where I can literally have no thoughts. I don’t actually know how these words are coming out right now, because I’m not consciously thinking of them. I forget words, and have been paused in the middle of sentences for up to 5 minutes because I can’t find the next word. My placement supervisor saved me in a meeting with my uni supervisor when my brain fog was making me look like a tit; she got me to explain what was going on. Trying to think can be like staring into the abyss. There is just nothing. A complete blank. It’s terrifying. This has increased in severity dramatically in the last 3 – 4 weeks. I don’t understand what is happening.

Now imagine trying to learn like this. Trying to absorb every scrap of information I can. It’s hell; if I don’t write something down, it is probably gone forever. In a profession where words are everything, that’s enough to drive you insane. Then, there’s the anxiety of missed days. My placement have been incredible in allowing me to work from home, and I seriously appreciate because there are some days when I just can’t do it. I just can’t function. However, those days have been becoming more frequent. I’ve realised that I will never be able to do this job full time because I am physically and mentally exhausted by Wednesday evening. Now, I am supposed to be doing 5 days a week. I have currently been doing and average of 4, purely because I have struggled to manage my exhaustion. They’ve been so good, and so understanding, I’m terrified that they’re going to finally think I’m taking the piss and snap. I was thanked for all my hard work this week as I left the office this evening, and I swear I could have broken down and sobbed. I don’t deserve to be praised like that when I’m taking advantage of their flexibility like I am- I am genuinely terrified of it. I was anxious before anyway, there was some proper deep breathing going on because of having to make a phone call (which didn’t happen in the end) but I think I’m finally unraveling now. I am in pain, I am exhausted and I am so scared that this good thing is going to go sour because my lack of ability to control my own body 😭

I’m at the end of my tether- I don’t know how to cope with it… I’m wearing supports and gloves and taking all the pills. I’m using creams and hot water bottles, and still I am unable to live the life I’ve wanted since I was about 13. CRPS is stealing my life; I am a 21 year old in a 91 year old body and I’ve never hated myself more. I’m currently on a train home for the weekend, so hopefully that will help me to settle… I’m still on edge, my lungs feel like they’re constricting and I am seriously having to concentrate on breathing right now. I hate CRPS, and I hate the fact that it’s making me feel like a failure. Right now, nothing I’ve achieved matters. I feel like a burden and like I’m letting everyone who’s supporting me so incredibly down. I just don’t know what to do.