A Long Sleep

Imelda Conway-Duffy

I’m told that in the first year of my life, I slept – and slept. My mother used to lean over my cradle and watch and listen, checking that I was still breathing. Still unsure, she would ask my grandfather to check again. Maybe I was born tired! In my mid-twenties, I knew I was tired. I now know that the tiredness was due to two things: boredom and a malingering discontent.

By the late 1980s, health issues had taken me through a plethora of medical procedures. Then, I stumbled upon the connection between challenging life events and physical illness – through a young doctor, acting as a locum for my regular physician. “This is a stress-related condition, which is compromising your immune system,” he said. So what? I wondered. Everyone has stress in their life. I was too embarrassed to ask what an ‘immune system’ was. But his remark…

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