A Funny But Serious Post: Great Title, Kel!

I'm on day 20 of this dizzying sickness. It has been Hell, in the simplest, most humble of terms. And so for the last twenty days, I've lied (laid) (lay) (lie) in my bed, casually fantasizing about the gun emoticon on my phone...to, you know, jump out of my iPhone and take me out. Admittedly this fantasizing was done under the nastiest shards of pain, a shock so bad it confused me into thinking that I don't want this life, not like this.

See, I'd just need one fake bullet. Or two, because it's likely I'd miss and shoot my wall instead, and I've already put a hole in it by bouncing this ball against the plaster for the last oh, sixty or ninety days or so.

This ball's seen me through a lot of hard times. See, I've been down. Low, low, low. Lower than ever before.

I've never been low enough to picture the gun, to squeeze the ball, to embrace the sheer enormity of my physical pain and cry.

I don't cry very often. It's sort of a rule in our family, though not often talked about or discussed. It's kind of like nudity at the breakfast table. You just...don't. Dinner, maybe. But crying? It makes people uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable.

It makes me appear vulnerable. Ugh. So gross. So weak. So...mundane. I cry, because I'm not inhuman, but it's usually over commercials where the actors are aging from birth to college graduation in rapid order. Now those! Those are worthy of shedding some tears. Here's a favorite: (This is an audio-visual blog today, folks. Strap in!)

(My god, that kid is cute. Maybe one day I'll make one for Sadie. I definitely have a picture of her from every week.)

Back to the point: I didn't cry much before. And then in August, September, I hit the Wailing Wall of Tears. It was SobFest2013. It was gross. I became addicted to a certain Kleenex brand, like some Target-shopping commoner! I cried giving myself insulin because I didn't want to be diabetic; I cried when my mom said the wrong thing, even when it was benign; I cried when my dad begged me to get it together. I cried over THAT DAMN COMMERCIAL like ten times.

I cried and then I reached the Hole of Desperation and Blackness. Here's where all the Bon Iver and sad Paul Simon came in. I felt this way for awhile. Too long. And it was very, very serious. Serious to picture the gun. 

I considered going inpatient. I considered outpatient, and I still think group therapy is something I may do in the future. (Once I get over the miles-long waiting list of my fellow depressives: raise your hand if you have a favorite antidepressant!) I stopped one medicine and I started on a new medicine and I talked to my doctor and therapist for many, many billable hours. And one day, after a really good session that may or may not have included calling me out on my bullshit, I saw something differently.

My doctor said that she thought that I had PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A disorder many cancer and chronically ill patients actually suffer from. (The stabbing needles; the time they literally cut my throat open and took my thyroid out while I had nightmares on the table...) 

I had all the symptoms: depression, anxiety, fear, disassociative behavior, lack of interest in anything except Sadie...

I had them all. And the relief flowed through me like it had when I was diagnosed with lupus and told that what I was feeling was real and it was not my fault. It is not my fault. Yes, people have it worse than me (so you've said) but this is my life, and it sucks sometimes. 

I started to talk about it with my cancer camp friends (First Descents, y'all) who had experienced exactly what I was going through and some of whom are still feeling it today. (Soon I'll hit you up for more FD money, but this is why.) They helped me to understand that I didn't have the life I did 2 years ago. And that I don't have the life my friends have today.

And while that may seem defeatist, it's also true. Like, extraordinarily true. I don't! I won't! I will not ever again, no matter how many vitamins I take or doctors I see. I never did. I just faked it until I landed on this sabbatical, licking my wounds and wondering how/why/dammit.

As soon as I started talking to my therapist--like, really talking with words that were honest, and stuff-- I began to feel a smidge better, and with that came purchasing items and Doing Important Stuff: buying a carrier to drag Sadie around the neighborhood, walking the dog, taking my pills, taking a tiny bit of an interest in living till I'm 40 (which I have probably never had an interest in because who wants to be in this much physical pain for that long?)...I got sick again. 

Really sick. Mouth sores in the shape of Very Large Plains States, like Montana and North Dakota. And there were rashes and fevers and two infections and it was all happening now, when my sister is getting married so very soon.

So I retreated. I cried. A lot. And I panicked. I said to my FD friend Hairband, I said, "I am going to ruin this wedding." And she said I wouldn't. And I won't.

See, this story doesn't have a happy ending, because I'm still working on that. I'm still trudging through the last couple of days of this illness, and then I'm gonna man up, get my hair colored and be a terrific (marginally okay) maid of honor for my best friend, my beautiful sister. I'll do the things, I'll get it done.

And I'll keep working toward what we call "radical acceptance." Acceptance that maybe, after 17 months, I still need to be at home, recovering. Acceptance that I made it through the rigorous disability process for a reason: state-mandated doctors determined I needed it to survive. Acceptance that these diseases and this hardship will always be a part of my life, and it will make it so difficult at times, that you won't want to go on.

But for now, I'm grateful I had people to tell me to get help when I needed it. 

And I am dreaming again. Of Kristie's wedding, in 5 days (!). Of a January spent in Los Angeles. Of my trip to Hawaii in December. Of my friends' annual ski trip. An FD reunion in 2014. And Erin's wedding in April (bridesmaid for the fifth time! 22 away from a movie deal, bitch!). And maybe a place in Brooklyn in the spring...

But most importantly:

Watching this love of mine, this heart that beats outside of my chest, go on and on.


Fear. Reality.


(Super Emo Picture I Took To Demonstrate My Misery, Obviously)

I am submerged in painkillers, but the pain is as clear as ever. I am a mouthful of open wounds; my speech is garbled, heavy with uncertainty. I swallow and inside I scream. 

I rinse my mouth in the bathroom and bang my fists against the walls. I get back into bed and sleep for an hour; I wake and do it all over again.

I try to listen to my meditations but they do nothing to penetrate my reality. I watch The West Wing and remain awake. I swallow another painkiller; I've lost count of how many I've taken today. I should be more careful; I cannot.

I feel like I am drowning; breathing through my mouth is not an option, but my nose is congested, so that each breath I take is shallow. I use nasal spray, decongestants, more often than recommended. I need a minute of relief.

I read my books and websites and forget what's been said a minute later. I rewind my shows and watch again. My attention is blurred. I do not drive on days like this.

I blow off my friends. I apologize but it must get old, right? I am never there when I say I will be. 

My sister gets married in 2 weeks and I'm afraid my sickness will still be present. I'm afraid I won't be able to celebrate her. I'm afraid I'll be tired and lethargic. I am afraid, I am afraid.

I need a break. I want a break.

This is my entire life, and I need more.