Friday, January 25, 2013

Lean On You

For some time now I have been silent. Haven't had much of anything to say in this blog. Nothing inspired, anyway. I feel like I have said it all. Again and again and again. The same thing over and over until I am sick of hearing myself whine. One day up, the next day barely getting out of bed. Hoping for another up day, not knowing how long I will wait. Maybe if I try this or do that or wear magnets on all twenty fingers and toes I can participate with those I know and love in this brutal, viscous, hungry game called life. I got sucked into a pathetic reality show, Secrets Of A Trophy Wife, and stared mesmerized at Kim Kardashian look alikes pumped full of silicone and collagen and botox driving around in Bentleys. It was better than a bad car accident, I just couldn't look away. But for three days after I couldn't do anything but compare myself to them, and the $115 million reasons that separate them from me. I felt like a loser, pathetic, sorry. "But you got sick!" my angel said. "Doesn't matter," the devil spat from my other shoulder. "It's no excuse."

And then I read my friend's blog. Mid way through the sob overtook me. Fat tears rolled down my cheeks as the cleansing and healing experience of knowing someone else lives the same whack ass reality I do quenched my emotional pain. And I got it, why I write this blog. I remembered why it's important to the scope of my life. I remembered that even at my healthiest I shunned Orange County trophy wives with a vengeance. I never wanted to fit in, be one of the crowd, like everyone else. I never wanted to do what I was supposed to do. I just wanted to be me. So why on earth do I care about that now? With a shudder I realized it's because I can't. Even if I wanted to, I can't. And that sucks. Having options taken away from you, even if they are options you never even wanted in the first place.

I have no more grace or dignity with these viruses and conditions sucking the life out of my bones. I have nothing to give and I’m losing the drive to stick it out. I’m angry. I feel the losses every day. Fibromyalgia mocks me. I don’t recognize myself in my behaviors anymore. I’m sullen and sarcastic, morose and private, believing again that I do not deserve to be loved. I've said too many unkind things, exhibited too many harsh tantrums. I've become a shadow. I covet, I yearn, I grieve. I even hate sometimes. How can I be lovable? Girl Interrupted ~ Sleeping Beauty Awake

Thank you my sister for writing my heart. For reminding me why ripping mine open all over the world wide web wasn't such a bad idea after all. And renewing in me the purpose of it all. Survival.

Thanks for joining,

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fight And Flight

I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my Fibromyalgia journey lately. Obtaining a managed level of symptoms is no easy task, but I was actually doing well enough for long enough to gain some of that precious perspective called hindsight. The separation between super sick me and moderately managed me was large enough to gaze with startling clarity through the thickly webbed stills of history and see all it took to get me here. Each choice I made on a journey I didn't believe had choices when I was living it. The tremendous dose of a horrible reality I nursed on daily as I navigated my way through endless attempts to overcome this beast of burden. And the soaring joy I couldn't contain as my pain became managed and life became livable again. 

What jumps out the loudest is how many layers there are. Because for each triumph there was a thorn ripping my side apart. For every excruciating flare a day when the torture finally ended. Every heartache a win and achievement a price. But the biggest question I keep asking myself, reverberating around my cranial cavity day after day, is how do you accept and fight against something at the same time? We were designed with a flight or fight reflex. Fight or flight, not and, right? But had I abandoned either objective I don't believe I would've been successful in my venture. One simply cannot accept the hell of unmanaged Fibromyalgia as life forever, not if we want to get any better. Conversely one cannot even begin to address the underlying environmental and lifestyle breakdown exacerbating this illness if we don't stop fighting and accept it, and then learn how to live with it. 

Good vs. evil, yin vs. yang, success vs. failure. Time and culture are ripe with philosophies striving to balance oppositional forces. We chronic illness patients are not unique to this struggle. In fact it seems to be a theme richly intertwined with the human plight. I finally realized the way to not let the totality of my objective obliterate me was to utilize time. There is a time to lie down, and a time to rise up. A time to take a deep breath, and a time to let out a loud yell. Often these aren't choices but boil down to the necessity of survival. Breaking time into tiny capsules, even though I was often only able to deal with one at a time, gave me a holding place for the rest of my burden. I couldn't carry everything at once, and when I finally stopped expecting myself to, realized I'd gotten much further than I ever thought I could. 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. 
A time to be born and a time to die... 
a time to weep and a time to laugh, 
a time to mourn and a time to dance, 
a time to search and a time to give up... 
a time to tear and a time to mend... 
a time to love and a time to hate, 
a time for war and a time for peace.
~Ecclesiastes 3:1,2,4,6,7,8

Thanks for joining,

Sunday, January 6, 2013

You Know My Pain

Two things happened recently that made me take pause. Or more to the point, my reaction made me take pause. First was a good friend who got the flu. She was at work and feeling very ill. With disbelief in her voice she explained how terrible she felt, and horribly irritated she was to not leave work early and head home to bed. It was New Years Eve and she'd already used all her vacation time for the year so she had to tough it out for a few more hours. I commiserated with sympathy, I really did. Boy do I know that well, pushing through a day of work with the flu. Except mine didn't go away in a few days or weeks like everyone else's does. Nearly eight years later I still have it, and a whole slew of other problems too. I know I am more than a little bitter about it. So while I cushioned her venting with appropriately placed interjections of, "That sucks!" and "I am so sorry!" my mind got downright nasty.

Because it took everything I had not to scream at the top of my lungs, "That is what I have felt like for eight years, but worse, far worse! Could you imagine eight years? Eight years? Do you think you would survive it? Do you?" Then I had to get a grip. This is a supportive and dear person in my life who doesn't challenge my illness, it's validity, any of it. She takes me at my word and loves me anyway, and had clearly done nothing wrong to deserve this outburst. As I settled down a blanket of maturity came over me. I felt satisfaction in knowing my friend doesn't know the hell of my illnesses first hand. I wouldn't wish it on anybody. But I also felt proud, because I've survived something insurmountable and damn it, I'm just strong at this point. There is no reason to "prove" my misery to anybody because I ain't seeking approval. C'est la vie, it is what it is, my life I own it. Ramming my truth down her throat wouldn't do anybody any good. So I kept my mouth shut.

My dear husband, however, wasn't quite so lucky. He hurt his knee carrying some stuff down the stairs. It got him bad and for six to eight days he bitched and moaned about it continuously and was a total grouch. After a few days I asked him if I could be honest. "Sure," he gulped, and gave me a suspicious look. "I am so sorry you got hurt. I am. But I have to tell you, your constant complaining made me realize it was really bothering you, you were really in pain. And you know what I thought?" I could all but see the look of reluctant engagement on his face. "I feel bad, I do," I said. "Get on with it," he said back. "Well it sucks you are in pain, but is a good reminder to you when I am doing nothing but kvetching and moaning this is the kind of misery I am in. And it is hard to be nice or do anything but focus on it." And I do have to say he took it quite well, he really did.

Thanks for joining,