I've had a pretty tough week this week, I've got some personal difficulties that have been very emotionally stressful, and I've been cooped up inside for 7 days straight which has had a real negative effect on my mental health.
Ever since I moved into Memory Loss Manor, and was well enough to venture out of my front door for the first time, I've been joining in with the Bingo held in the community room. It might sound completely naff, but I hadn't realised how much of a crutch those tri-weekly Bingo session have become. I've been a regular attendee, only missing sessions when I was unwell or had other engagements. I've even brought friends along to bring the mean age of the room down by a few more years!
The Bingo was the first thing I went to on my own, some time in October last year, and although the first trip down the corridor and down the lift ended in floods of tears when I realised I couldn't get back in because the door closer made the door too heavy for me to open by myself (I was rescued by my lovely neighbour), it was very liberating in itself and a huge achievement for me. Thankfully a nice man from the council came a took the door closer off, so now my door swings freely and I can get in and out with less difficulty.
I've even got myself a little Bingo Bag that hangs from the hook on the back of my chair, it carries my Bingo Purse where I keep my change separate for the games, my dabbers and my little clipboard for my cards.
So, when the machine that generates the numbers broke a couple of weeks ago, leaving Bingo cancelled until the replacement arrived, I found myself a little bit lost. Couple that with one of my best friends being on holiday at the same time, and no other engagements to attend, I found myself very isolated. I had no reason to leave my flat at all, and my mood soon became quite low.
I also ended up feeling quite unwell at the latter end of the week, which I can only attribute to being linked to my mental health, as I hadn't done anything physically strenuous. Although there is an underlying physical cause for my ME and it's symptoms, there are many documented links between Mental Health and the symptoms we deal with. ME has been formally classified as a neurological disorder by the World Health Organisation since 1969, however there have been many attempts to reclassify it as a psychiatric disorder (an approach I strongly disagree with), and only recently have advances in neuroscience begun to explain the pathology behind the disease. (http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e3454/rr/586569) Thankfully it didn't turn into a full blown episode of illness, which is particularly unpleasant for me, and I was able to go out for coffee with a friend today.
I now have much sympathy with the elderly and other disabled people who are completely housebound. Whilst I have my car, (and not having a car was torture for me) I can't go out as often as I'd like due to the effort involved in leaving the building and getting myself and the chair into the car. I now worry that moving to an accessible home may involve a trade off with the community living that is a small bonus of being forced to live in an unsuitable property where I'm the youngest by a good 30 years!