I lied to you.
I mean, if it’s any consolation, I was lying to myself as well, I just didn’t know it. I was not ok, and I remained not ok for about 18 months. I did head to California and hike a little bit of the PCT, along which I met some incredible people and continued to believe I was harnessing my grief in a positive way, but after I left the trail and hit Portland and New York City for a while, I was mostly into full-blown self-destruct mode. I was drinking for breakfast and fuelling my body with donuts and nicotine.
Not healthy grieving:
Upon my return to the UK, and to work, I became increasingly aware of how little I cared about myself and everything I did. I put on weight (near enough 25lbs), I neglected household chores (not quite on par with an episode of ‘Hoarders’, but not the usual standard you’d expect of a grown ass woman). I stopped socialising and arranging to do things, opting instead to read books about death and loss and everything miserable so I could wallow in it. I basically became a fat, melancholy hermit.
But in October, 2018, I went to Switzerland with my friend Lisa with the intention to hike. Hiking we did, but what shocked me was how unfit I had become. I was out of breath, my hiking clothes hugged me a little too tightly, and – worst of all – the photos Lisa took were the kind of paparazzi shots you’d pay good money to shut down. It was the wake-up call I needed, and as soon as I got home I took some ‘before’ photos and began my journey of self-improvement in earnest. After all, on top of starting to come to terms with the loss of my brother, I had to consider the impact my health would have on my MS diagnosis (something I’d given
very little zero thought to).
I started exercising more, improving my diet, and cutting out unhealthy activities. I started to take an interest in things again.
Although I have accepted that life is transient and, ultimately, meaningless, I also started to actually believe, as Miguel de Unamuno wrote, that “if it is nothingness that awaits us, let us make an injustice of it.”