Running the gauntlet.

I mentioned a few weeks ago all the upcoming appointments I had throughout the next few months…Leave it to me not to remember that this particular week would be full of back to back appointments that would have me bedbound on a beautiful sunny October day (my favorite).

A lot of things this week were referrals months in the works…for example: neuro-ophthalmology had been booked back in January (for August) and in April I was called to reschedule it to this past Tuesday. Frustrating? Oh, hell yes. When you have such a large diagnostic and care team, it’s hard to be the one to manage all the information. In my case, I left a neurology practice for what I felt was poor quality of care only to have to start over with a new neuro team, who in turn, wanted all their bases covered by their own specialists (neuro-op) in order to build a comprehensive treatment plan.

An info session with a new support group…when dealing with severe depression and social anxiety, those things are like pulling teeth with no novocaine. I survived it, though! Whether I’ll be able to handle the biweekly group remains to be seen, but baby steps in that direction are nothing but progress.

Lab work for EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN AND MOON AND POSSIBLY PLUTO.
I’m telling y’all, I don’t think I have much blood left at this point. I’ll be back in for a transfusion in no time.

MRI/MRV, a new CT scan, x-rays, and through the grace of whatever higher power I’ve managed to delay a spinal tap for at least a few more weeks after them wanting it scheduled for Wednesday morning.

After all was said and done with the rest of the appointments, there was also a sleep study to check on a variety of sleep issues…Nothing like trying to sleep hooked up like a christmas tree and being woken up to do random things on command all night…so restful! Regardless, here I am today, observing my little slice of October through my bedroom window from the relative comfort of my bed, recuperating.

Trying to manage multiple chronic issues and being a solo toddler mama and a student is probably the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced. I’m not complaining. I don’t curse my bad luck for my health issues, and I don’t regret the decision to become the mama to the sweet smart and funny little boy that is my little sunny October afternoon every day. I can’t say I don’t whine about being a student, but I keep going!

Through all the stress of the past month it’s easy to see in my writing when my head is just a total and complete mess. My last entry here I reread just a day later and was floor at how rambling and nonsensical it was…I’m not even sure what point I was trying to get across with it. At the time, I suppose, it fulfilled the need to write and just get some of the crap trapped in there out. As hard as it is to make sense of, the overwhelming feeling of relief that comes with hitting the “Publish” button at the bottom of this page is worth the potential confusion and disarray of whatever word vomit happens to be in this little text box at the time.

Never discount the power of letting it all out. It’s not a replacement for therapy, but it’s a good in-between exercise!

The middle finger of fate and other fanciful things…

I spent quite a while mulling over how exactly I could explain the burning need I feel to get some of this out. I’m still not entirely certain, truthfully. I’ve had this draft sitting in the wings for the past month. Every now and then I come in, brush away the accumulated dust, reread what I’ve vomited onto the page, add bits here and there, cull others…it’s like a personal bonsai, and I’m pruning it to death.

In an effort to force myself to write it out to the end, I skipped my normal Friday post last week. Instead I sat here Friday night, bingewatching The Walking Dead (Hey, zombie chick, I feel you, acutely!) on Netflix and staring at the incessant blink of the cursor taunting me with a sudden and thorough lack for words. This Friday rolled around and I found myself so exhausted at the thought of rehashing my own thoughts that I curled up in bed with my toddler instead.

There are days when literally all I want to do is write. To take the time to sit and let the endless racing in my mind spill out onto a page, then two…three. If it were to start proper, it would never stop. There’s a certain comfort in knowing the paroxysm of color and light and noise in my mind translate to words. Actual sentences. It’s cathartic, and it gives me peace of mind to get some of the crap out and away, but it can also be infuriatingly difficult to convey what I actually mean…but there’s also this impending dread I get from knowing that suddenly what were private thoughts locked away from prying eyes can suddenly be read and possibly inferred entirely differently than I mean them to be. Afterall, we all think in vastly different ways.

It is no secret that I bury myself in words. Wrap them around me like a love-worn blanket on a cool night. My world is carefully crafted in letters and lines; an intricate maze of sentence fragments and rambling paragraphs, sketches and sculptures, tangible and dissipating smoke rising to the rafters with a whisper. I’m sure it’s not surprise that I tend to keep what I write hidden. Tucked away and censored. To this day I have only intentionally shared this blog with two other people, and even then I spent days gnawing on the insides of my cheeks coming to the decision to open up the gates of my little stronghold just a sliver. In the past this has only served to burn me spectacularly. My words end up twisted back around, used as a way to dig deep and strike at the heart rather than to understand. It may not be a surprise to you, dear reader, considering my verbosity on this post especially, but I’m not really one of those people who are able to maintain normal healthy friendships with people. I spend the bulk of my time interacting with others petrified that I will do or say the wrong thing and be cast out as unworthy of their time. It is one of the reasons I’ve taken comfort into retreating into this awkward shell of mine.

One of the most important things I’ve ever been told is that depression is a damned liar. I feel like every now and then I need to stop spinning my wheels and pretending that it doesn’t affect me as deeply as it does and just finally put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and let my stream of consciousness spill forth to fill the void with something…anything.

It’s common for those of us suffering from chronic conditions to also suffer mental maladies. In fact, if someone claimed that they didn’t suffer in their own mind when dealing with all this I’d be far more confused by them than those of us that teeter on the brink of that deep well. Not to say that acceptance and self-love aren’t attainable…not at all, but as you may have gathered from my other posts, I don’t shit glitter and rainbows, and I won’t ever sugarcoat the fact that this existence can suck donkey balls. I don’t verbalize it to those around me, but this little anonymous corner of the internet is mine, and mine alone, and I can bitch all I want! Or just as much as it takes for me to take the edge off.

The thing is, my depression and anxiety haven’t come from the rest of my shit. I mean, sure, they are certainly enhanced by it. They feed off of it like ticks off an old coonhound. The fact of the matter is that I wandered into the Mad Hatter’s tea party long, long ago. My seat is well worn, and there’s a sort of comforting familiarity in the chaos and static. I know, it sounds like it’s a strange admission….finding comfort in depression and dissociation. That’s not quite what I mean, though.

One of the ways I explain chronic pain to people is that, if for some reason one day I woke up entirely pain free….I would be seriously worried that something was wrong. An average day to the average person would be so out of -my- realm of “normal” that I wouldn’t even know where to begin with how to handle it. Living with depression and anxiety has been so ingrained into my life at this point that, to be without those familiar feelings just doesn’t mesh with what I mentally expect of myself anymore.

But there’s meds for that!

Oh, yes, the meds. Glorious, horrible, spiteful meds. As much as depression lies….anyone that tells you that meds are a magic cure all so long as you find the right one is trying to sell you a bridge. I have spent the entirety of my adult life adjusting medications in an effort to improve one thing or another. I’ve been chasing depression and anxiety with a pharmaceutical chaser for much longer. There have been times I’ve been able to go without. Long stretches of time, even, but for the most part my chemical makeup needs a kick in the pants to stay on the manageable side of stable. A kiddie roller coaster instead of the freefall of death and destruction it can get to be when left to it’s own devices.

There’s still such a stigma, though, surrounding mental health issues. No one wants to admit that they can’t just buck up and soldier on. The world is full of disappointments, everyone has bad days, blah blah blah.

Let me tell you…I’m busting my ass holding all these pieces together. It’s an all day every day ordeal. I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize myself, and I don’t mean in the emo lyrics of the early 2000’s type way, I completely disassociate from myself on a regular basis. It’s a jarring experience to realize you’re going through the motions but you feel like you’re just watching it all happen from outside this detached bubble with no ability to really interfere. It’s scary, honestly, and this has been around longer than any of the other medical issues. Creeping into weigh down the day to day. Slowly grinding it to a halt. Then, as randomly as it settled in, it moves it’s way out for awhile, just as slowly, just as arduous. It’s a constant cycle of up and down, like a rusted carousel horse, grinding painfully every millimeter of the way only to pause at the crest of that climb and creak steeply back into the abyss.

This is just how my brain is wired.

It’s not ideal. Of all people, I know that. I’ve been cursed with the gift of introspective logic, as my therapist has told me. My ability to analyze myself is second only to that of a high powered microscope. Knowing that I shouldn’t be this way, and yet that I can’t help it seems like the universe’s way to conspire to say “Fuck you” for some slight I wasn’t aware I committed. Thanks, fate.

The point, though?
I’m still here. I’m still kicking. Shit sucks, but through it all, I’m inching my way along. I’m starting to think the reason I write everything here that I do is just to give myself reminders that I’ve got this. I’ve done this so long that it’s all second nature, and as painful as the process is to be caught in over and over and over and over again: I’ve done it before, I can do it again.

Yeah. I’ve got this.