Prior to 1995 I had boundless energy. I was a go-getter, constantly thinking, and in motion every day. I loved life and I worked hard, whether as a student or in my journalism jobs and internships. I sang and played guitar and occasionally performed. I celebrated the first snow each year like the bona fide life-long downhill skier that I was. I was thin, in shape and committed to physical fitness. I felt blessed to have the skills and education necessary to find meaningful jobs I loved.
In the summer of 1990 a car accident changed all that. For the next several years, back and knee pain affected my functioning. But through the physical pain and limitations, I still had plenty of pep.
In about 1996 I developed chemical sensitivities when an employer moved into a newly renovated office. My reserves of energy were no longer reliable. Then in 2000, after a six-month course of my first anti-depressant, the fatigue hit. And hit. And I’ve not been the same person since. I faked it as best I could, but whole chunks of my life disappeared — like a social life, and travel for pleasure.
Ever since, I’ve had to manage my energy, treating it as a finite resource. I had just enough energy for my jobs, which I loved. I served six months as interim director of an African American community center in upstate New York. I worked five years in my dream job as a consultant and trainer for community development nonprofits, traveling around the country and working way more than full-time. Then I went solo as a fundraising and marketing consultant and trainer.
I LOVED the work. I worked my butt off. I spent every last bit of available and limited energy on work and basic life maintenance. Most of the time I had no energy left for socializing. But that was fine — I had enough energy to support myself doing work I loved. That was enough.
In the last several years, though, the frequency and intensity of the fatigue have both increased to the point that even basic “activities of daily living” became a challenge, even when I had a house.
Possibly, from what I’m learning, especially when I had a house, since almost every house I’ve lived in since 1998 proved to have mold issues. My number one reason for moving to Arizona was to get away from mold. Then I discovered swamp coolers, a.k.a. mold factories. And I bought a house with water issues.
So here I am with a generous friend granting me partial use of her house. Her moldy house. A house that makes me exhausted. A house I like. A stove, sink, toilet, running water and washer machine I need. Social interaction I need.
I’m not clear yet how to handle this. She is on the prowl for outdoor furniture that would at least let us talk and eat outside. My plastic kitchen bins, which I’ve used as a table, are still at the campsite. Maybe I should move those to K’s house. I still sleep at the campsite instead of parking at K’s because my dogs can’t run free there.
I don’t know, writing this out confuses me.