I’ve been feeling kind of down lately, hence the lack of posting. I’ve had a lot to say, bottled up inside of me, but little willingness to write it.
It seems, as of the past few weeks, that my pain has diminished considerably.
However, I haven’t made it over that “month hump,” which I seem to be getting stuck on. There will be vast improvement for literally a month, and then boom, I hit bottom again.
When I walk to work and home, by the time I’m there, I feel like my calves are going to explode. And it still feels like hammers hitting my knees when I walk down the stairs.
It also seems to me that as one system starts to normalize, another one goes defunct. Lately, I have no appetite. I could go from breakfast to dinner without eating anything. The only thing that really makes me eat at all is the fact that I get kind of woozy and would prefer not to pass out.
It’s like the head is miles behind catching up with the body. The physical pain is mostly gone, but the emotional pain of a broken body remains.
And then, of course, there is the daunting thought of when will I hit bottom again? Because I know this is a question not of if, but when. It’s like an alcoholic who doesn’t realize until they’ve hit the bottom of the last bottle of alcohol in their stash that they have a problem.
When my “normal” friends talk about similar things that I am feeling, I feel resentful. Why should they have self-esteem issues? They don’t have a body that has betrayed them. And when I talk to people who have had similar experiences with illness, I find myself instantly connecting. But there must be some way to build a bridge between both worlds. After all, I used to be “normal,” if that means illness free.
I think at the age of 22, having just embarked on several journeys that mark the beginning of the rest of my life, there is still a lot about myself that I have yet to learn. Who I am as a scholar, for instance. What I achieve in graduate school has the potential to shape the rest of my career. And who I am as a woman with several chronic illnesses. I know that how I decide to live that life is my choice. And most days, I want to do it with dignity and grace, proving that I am more than a patient number, more than some medical diagnosis. But other days I do think it would be a lot easier to send the doctors packing and go it alone. Face Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus cold turkey. No meds, no doctors. Just me.
So, if there were a 12-step program for chronic illness, what would it be?
I think a lot of it goes back to control, something that I have a very hard time letting go of.