The ‘Calm Sick Switch’. When you walk in to a room you may instinctively flick on the light. It doesn’t take much thought if any. You could continue to enter without the light, you are familiar enough with the environment. But having the light on helps you to see and move with ease. It prepares you.

When I flick on my ‘Calm Sick Switch‘ I have recognised that I am about to enter a phase in shadows or darkness. I can navigate it in my normal frame of mind, yes. But the comfort of having  clarity to see all the obstacles is comforting. Essential even.

When I flick on my ‘Calm Sick Switch’ it is because I have a sense that I will be entering a period of uncertainty. At this point in my life flicking on the ‘Calm Sick Switch’  happens as easily as sliding in to my ballet flat shoes. I feel some pain, or see some unusual bruising and I flick the switch.

The mental change that happens within me with the flick of this switch is similar to putting on chain mail under a coat of armour, or wearing a camisole under a dress. It requires a certain amount of detachment in order to strengthen my resolve. I remove myself from feeling first-hand the situation as it is occurring to me and thus take on the role of an observer in a sense.

The first step after I flick the switch is to consider the situation from the perspective of data analyst and theoretician. I list down symptoms and then review effects of my medicines.

The second step is to review my current diet and reflect on any and all physical things that have happened to me. Have I done something differently, have I fallen or bumped into anyone, did I carry too much weight or work too much, am I getting enough sleep?

Next I combine these two pieces of knowledge and introduce Lupus. Often symptom plus event with Lupus can lead to a perfectly reasonable solution.

Do not take this to mean I am ignoring, avoiding or self-diagnosing. It is simply a way of living for me, and helps me to create a rational and clear account of my health. All of the steps above are completed in detail and documented (in one of those trusty health journals) and I take these to my doctor or the emergency department. If it is a case of my own clumsiness or incorrectly taking my medication I am able to discuss this with my GP Evs over the phone and tests or appointments will be organised. All I need to do is go where I am told and give what they need to help me ‘keep on keeping on’.

So you see, the ‘Calm Sick Switch’ is just one of my coping mechanisms. I do not think I am the only who has one of these. I do not think this is even a somewhat unusual coping mechanism, perhaps I just cling more to mine, admit it freer or am more aware. I think this past year I have lived a dual life. I think part of me has survived under the ‘Calm Sick Switch’ as my own personal Airplane Mode. The other part has been equal parts The Real Jessie and that confused, mass and stroke affected Lupus patient.

I wonder what other people feel within their mind when they need to protect themselves. What do they call it? What does it feel like? Does it help them, or do they use it to hide? Have I even explained this correctly?

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