The past week or so has been rough. Twice I’ve gotten super sick while out on short trips and had to lay down in the backseat and pray I didn’t throw up till we got home. When getting out of the car I was so dizzy I almost collapsed against the car. Chronic vestibular migraines are no joke. Feeling pretty low but hanging in there. I wish the depression and isolation didn’t set in during flare ups like this…honestly that can almost be as bad as the illness itself.
This has been a stressful and emotional week. My husband and I had marriage counseling early in the week, which is helpful, but always makes me emotional and kind of depressed (depressed because we even need marriage counseling in the first place). Then my husband started a 12 step support group to work on some of the acting out behaviors he struggles with. I’m glad he started the group, I think it will be good for him and he could use the friendship and accountability partners, but I was also kind of bummed because his support group gets to meet in person and I desperately wish I could find a support group for me that meets in person.
I feel like I’m dying for that face to face interaction, but the only support groups I could find for me only meet online for right now and it looks like it will be that way until at least September because of the rules of the church where they normally met before Covid. I’m still going to try to be a part of it, but it just isn’t the same. Part of me is jealous that my husband gets that in-person attention and I can’t.
On top of that, my husband and I had a fight yesterday (or more accurately, I had an emotional meltdown and he sort of closed up, not knowing how to respond). The argument was about the trip we are taking to Buffalo, NY next week and about him making plans for it that I didn’t agree to and wouldn’t like so that he could visit an old friend. More than anything, I was just upset that I felt like he didn’t even think about how any of it would affect me or make the trip harder for me.
I’m feeling like an emotional wreck.
First off, I got my covid results back yesterday. No coronavirus detected! That was certainly a big relief! Now I don’t have to worry about staying quarantined for weeks!
On the sucky side of things, I did have a full-blown migraine last night. I’m not sure if it was caused by my anxiety about the test results the past few days, or something else, but it was miserable. When I get migraines like that my neck kills me too (you can actually feel the tension and swelling in the back of the neck). Like most migraine sufferers, I can’t stand sound or light, and I get nauseated and dizzy as well. I went to bed early and slept about 9-10 hours, but still feel the aftereffects of it today and fear it coming back in full force.
I’m also a little sad because while I was unsure of my covid status, some friends of mine got together for the first time in forever, and of course didn’t invite me (I don’t blame them, they knew about the covid possibility), but it still bummed me out that I missed the chance to see them.
Sorry I haven’t written in a few days. I threw my back/neck out again and it has been bad. Probably the worst it has ever been. I have been constantly downing pain killers and muscle relaxers and still no change. Usually the worst only lasts a day or two during these flareups, but now I’m on day 3 and it still hurts to move in any direction.
Naturally, this has me rather depressed too. I had appointments and fun plans this weekend that I had to cancel due to the pain. I feel like it doesn’t matter how hard I try to be social or how much I try to take good care of myself, my efforts always end up jinxed.
This is why I normally end up isolating myself, because I feel like all my health issues make me unreliable. It feels like no matter how understanding other people are, when I have to call off at the last minute several times, they start to get frustrated (and understandably so).
I just wish this horrible pain would pass.
I am not afraid to die –
but I am not yet
unafraid of living.
I’m not sure I have ever written truer words than the 3-line poem above. This little gem came to me while taking a bath last night, so I repeated it to myself like a mantra until I got out of the tub and could write it down.
It is true that I am not afraid of death. I am a bit afraid of the actual feeling of dying, mostly because of the instinctual anxiety I fear it would bring. However, I am not afraid of being dead. In fact, I rather look forward to it. If there is something after death, it will be awesome to explore and find out what else is out there. If there is nothing after death, it will just be like the times I have passed out or been put out for surgery…simply a loss of consciousness which often sounds like a relief in itself. No more worrying. No more pain. No more anxiety or depression.
However, living is scary. Knowing I may have years and years of dealing with anxiety and depression ahead of me. Knowing that I will likely suffer from chronic pain and chronic illness until I die. Knowing that my degenerative conditions will likely worsen with time. Fearing that my husband may get sick or die and I will be alone. Fearing financial ruin. Fearing homelessness. Fearing potentially abusive situations. Fearing the entire planet going to shit (a justifiable fear from my point of view). Fearing that I may end up committing suicide if life becomes unbearable (not the ending I would desire for my life).
I’ve been feeling rather sad and isolated the last few days. I think a lot of it comes from the stress of dealing with chronic illness and chronic pain. Anyone who has chronic illness is probably familiar with spoon theory, an illustrative way to describe why you have to choose carefully how to use your energy to do things when you have very limited physical ability.
In other words, sometimes you have to choose whether you would like to go out and socialize for a short period of time, spend that energy getting some much-needed housework done, work on a hobby or personal interest, or even simply take a shower…because you just don’t have the energy and the physical ability to do them all within the same day like a healthy person could.
Most of the time I end up choosing to spend my “energy” and limited abilities to either spend time with my husband, work on my art/writing/blogging, or take care of personal hygiene or light housework. Prioritizing these things leaves no extra energy or time to socialize on a wider scale or do much outside of the house, other than maybe occasionally going out for dinner or doing a little necessary shopping. Even the thought of going to a movie is often too exhausting to contemplate.
All of this makes me sad, especially when I remember how I used to enjoy so many other things I can’t do any longer. I used to love hiking, playing tennis, roller skating, bowling, dancing, working, swimming, being a foster parent, and going out to various activities with people I know or share interests with. I’ve pretty much lost all of that for good. And that is depressing.
I feel so desperately lonely sometimes, and at those times it feels like I am not only experiencing my own personal loneliness, but the loneliness of humanity in general. During those times I mourn how disconnected we have all become, and I consider how alone each of us really is in our own thoughts and emotions. No matter how deeply we want to relate to one another, there is a shallowness that is unavoidable due to separation and individuality.
Maybe I am overthinking things or ruminating far too much, but sometimes I despair of existence and wish I could truly bridge the chasm between my own mind and heart and another’s.
Why Stars Explode
Written By: Maranda Russell
Feeling lonely tonight,
wondering if the night sky
knows how I feel –
it seems like she would.
All that emptiness,
the vast space between each star,
perhaps that is the real reason stars explode –
not because of heat,
not because of age,
but simply due to the overwhelming shadow
cast by their own isolation.