verb UK /(MAKE CHANGES): to change something slightly, especially to make it more correct, effective, or suitable: e.g.”If the chair is too high you can adjust it to suit you.”

I’ve been practicing the art of adjustment lately as part of my ongoing efforts to adapt to the ‘new normal’ I’m presented with. I’m trying to adjust to the fact that I’m doing ‘alright for Liv’ rather than actually alright. That doesn’t mean I’m actually ‘okay,’ especially when thinking about where I want to be and how I want to feel. It means to get through each day, I’m having to make some pretty serious adjustments. It also doesn’t mean I’m really not okay which I guess in itself is an adjustment because if ‘old me’ were to describe the way I feel at the moment, they’d describe me as being ‘pretty poorly’ but now I’ve adjusted my definition of what ‘pretty poorly’ means to me and I think it’s something that involves being hospitalised and completely immobile.

Here are some of my current everyday adjustments:

  • having really slow starts, this is because I’m finding I can only cope with activity for half of the day e.g. during the morning or afternoon and definitely not both
  • not promising I’ll be there or committing to plans, this is something I absolutely hate and means I miss out on seeing my friends a lot
  • not being able to enter certain areas of shops/cafes/homes because of the scents, smells, environments that seem to be really good at sending me in to coughing fits
  • not eating/drinking anything with a strong flavour for the above reasons
  • not singing along to songs in my car because my voice just won’t let me and if I manage to croak out a few words, I’ll be voiceless afterwards
  • taking a week of annual leave before Christmas, not because I have any plans but because I know my body couldn’t hack working another 5 days
  • not being able to get through the day without a nap or looking like a zombie, it’s like my batteries just run out completely and I physically have to recharge

Some of these adjustments sound petty, trivial and moany. This isn’t an exhaustive list but they’re things that make me feel like me, give me a sense of independence, fun, spontaneity, youth and a happy ‘go with the flow’ attitude. If I’m completely honest, I’ve found myself saying no to far more invitations than I’d like because I feel rubbish or because going along to them will sap my energy completely and I’ll have to spend days recovering. 

Perhaps more seriously, I’ve had to adjust what I think my body is capable of. This is a hard one for me. I feel like I can’t trust my own body, I feel like as soon as I’m fooled in to thinking I’m well acquainted with it, I discover another problem that was completely unexpected and knocks me for six. I can no longer depend on it. I can’t be sure it’s there for me to fall back on and I think that’s something I’m going to need to continue to try to adjust to.

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