Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Picking Up The Pieces And Rebuilding Myself

“How many times can I break till I shatter?
Over the line can’t define what I’m after […]
Give me a break let me make my own pattern
All that it takes is some time but I’m shattered […]”

- “Shattered,” O.A.R.


“I was bruised and battered
And I couldn’t tell what I felt
I was unrecognizable to myself
Saw my reflection in a window
I didn’t know my own face […]”

- “Streets of Philadelphia,” Bruce Springsteen

There has been a lot going on in my life lately. Between school and work, a crazy schedule that is no ones fault but my own, and everything else, I’m feeling completely overwhelmed. And something that I’ve realized is that while attempting to appear emotionally numb and unavailable, the truth is, I’m an emotionally needy person.

I’ve kind of had a major freak out, both physically and emotionally, and now I’m trying to pick myself up, and find the pieces missing from this puzzle that I call “me.” I guess you could say that right now my life is somewhat of a beautiful disaster.

I’ve also realized that in the pursuit of attempting to conquer the demons of my illnesses, I’ve lost myself. With illness came a profound sense of not knowing who I was. And while I was cognizant of that, the truth is that I never bothered to stop, go back, and find out who I actually am. And lately, and mistakenly, I have turned to others to validate who I am or convince me of who I am supposed to be.

I have been having people tell me things about myself that are 100% true, shockingly so. But it’s crazy that others have had to tell me those things in order for me to realize them. I know that sometimes we can only gain clarity by stepping outside of our own situation, but how do you step outside only to realize that there’s nothing on the inside that you recognize?

Self-discovery, or re-discovery, can only be done by me. No one else can do that for me. And it’s especially difficult to realize that at times, especially recently, my physical and emotional pain are indistinguishable. Illness brings up a lot of unresolved feelings, some that you don’t even recognize until much later when seemingly completely unrelated events bring them to the fore of your world.

What happens when you fill one void in your life, only to open one much bigger, that you never expected to find? I know that someday, and I hope it is very soon, I will find the answers that I’m looking for and I will be strong enough to take down the demons that are haunting me.

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; / Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. / All the King’s horses / And all the King’s men / Couldn’t put Humpty together again!”

And just as Dorothy (Judy Garland) said in The Wizard of Oz (1939) upon her return to Kansas, “The next time I go looking for my heart’s desire, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; if it’s not there, then I never really lost it to begin with.”

I realize now that my physical health will not be okay until I rid myself of the self-blame that I am harboring. The feeling of being broken, damaged, and less than perfect, will continue to weigh me down unless I find a way to recognize that what has happened over the past several years of my life is no ones fault, including my own. To me, the scariest part of the last few weeks of my life has been feeling myself begin to flare, and literally, sending myself spiraling into a flare. Actually having control in the palm of my hand, and not being able to execute it. It’s difficult to have the knowledge that I can make myself feel better, and I don’t; that I should be taking care of myself, and that for many reasons, I haven’t been.

Right now I’m working on finding my way back to myself. And hopefully sometime soon I won’t feel quite so lost or alone as I do now. But this is something that I have to do… because life goes on whether I like it or not…

It appears that ten months after my diagnosis, I am no closer than I was then to accepting and dealing with the repercussions of these illnesses. But I can finally talk about them without crying, so that’s a step in the right direction…

Just consider this identity crisis number two million and one! Illness can be a real mind (you fill in the blank)...


  1. Your insights and honesty are among the many gifts you have. Illness breaks the narrative. It takes time to find the words that write the new one.

  2. I came across your blog through a different lupus blog and find your writing inspiring. I was diagnosed with lupus in 2006 and am STILL learning to cope. It is a daily struggle. I also chart my journey at www.larouedefortune.blogspot.com.

    I wish you the best in your journey of self discovery. Know you are loved and supported.--d'Artagnan

  3. d'Artagnan,

    Thanks for yor kind words. And thanks for reading!