Ever since college, I’ve tried to give blood regularly, although it doesn’t always happen regularly – I’ve gone years without donating. Something will trigger me and then I’ll find myself back in the habit. Even though I hate needles, I know the importance of giving blood and I don’t usually mind taking the time out of my day to give.
Last fall I was scheduled to donate whole blood when they called and asked if I’d switch to platelets instead. Since it would take longer, my appointment got rescheduled for the following day. I really didn’t know what it would entail or how long it would take. I ended up giving two units of platelets and was there for close to two hours. At one point during the donation, I thought to myself, “I am literally being drained out.” This donation took place during my fall sabbatical – a time when I was trying to recover from years of spiritual, emotional and social draining. And now, there I was being drained of my blood (of course, with platelet donations, the blood was given back to me).
I know the blood bank has been in a shortage for quite some time now. However, even before the shortage, at least two times a month or more, I’d get a phone call from 317-916-xxxx asking for more of my platelets. I don’t remember the last four numbers, but I recognized the first few and stopped answering after awhile. I would listen to the voicemails and eventually started deleting them without listening. I knew they needed something from me and I didn’t want to give it.
Today I received a call from that number again, but because I’m in the midst of job applications and interviews, I thought it was best to answer, just in case. It was the blood bank asking for me to donate platelets today or tomorrow. I declined and she wanted to know if it’s due to a busy schedule. “No, I’ve just been really tired lately and I don’t want to give away my blood.” I think she understood, but also encouraged me to call back when I felt better.
I really have felt drained lately. I’m getting enough sleep and exercise. I generally eat well. I’m doing things I enjoy, like sewing, reading and spending time with friends and family. However, I’m tired all the time. I think there’s so much going on internally for me that my body is starting to get depleted. It reminds me of my computer when it’s working extra hard and I hear the fan whirring and feel the heat building – my body is working extra hard to process so much internally: resigning and the excitement and sadness that comes with it; applying for jobs and the anxiety that creeps in when I question whether I’ve made the right decision; all the emotions that come with infertility and acceptance of it and yet not; dreams of a new business but doubts that I’ll really make it happen. Yeah, it’s a lot.
I’m ready to feel energized again. Two weeks ago when the announcement of my resignation was made public I felt very energized. Holding in that news for two months was challenging, so finally being able to talk about it brought me a lot of energy and enthusiasm. However, now that the reality of leaving is settling in, now that I’m facing the uncertainty of what will be next, the energy is draining out of me. Even though I know a walk would help, I’d rather just lie down and take a nap. Even though I know I don’t need to fill these days off with a full to do list, I feel this internal pressure to get.everything.done.today. It’s confusing and complicated and draining.
Someday I’ll get back into the rhythm of donating blood again. Right now, though, it’s okay to keep it for myself. It’s okay to not be reminded of all that’s draining out of me by letting someone literally drain something out of me. A season is ending and some time soon a new one will begin. I want to begin that time with some renewal that only comes from rest. Once again my body is trying to tell me something – maybe this time I’ll listen and then actually do something about it.