All the posts from the past few days were actually written on Friday. I felt like I was soaring high, successfully riding steadily and on the wave of recovery after making some progress in October. I was recognizing forward momentum. Major flow was happening.
Then came the ebb. I landed with a distinctive crash, the wave turned and I went under. Some of it was hormonal – the continual stress seems to have taken me off-cycle and I had to cope with physiological disruptions a week earlier than I was expecting. This triggered what I call full body migraines. I’ve had varying degrees and types of headaches since Friday (I’m writing this on Sunday night). Super hypersensitivity to light, sound, and touch have been in play. The stubble on my legs felt like hundreds of dull, cutting blades slicing the skin on my shins. I felt like a Morlock when encountering the least bit of sunlight or even indoor lighting. The tinkling of the bells during this morning’s church service had me wincing in pain.
Being in a social setting with multiple voices in different conversations carried on at varying volumes are amplified by antiquated acoustics in old buildings makes it almost impossible for me to carry on a conversation. Add to that having lots of bodies standing, walking, and sitting around a bunch of folding chairs with very little room to move combined with layers of competing and conflicting aromas from perfumes, colognes, and assorted personal care products, and I felt like I was barely functional. It took every ounce of energy I had opt to maintain civility and composure.
Then I was given a photo taken of me and Luna with her two little friends at the church brunch last week. I just wanted to hide and never come out in public again. Part of the problem is they were taken by someone in a wheelchair, so, the angle amplifies what is already amplified by the camera. However, since I had stepped on the scale and realized about an 8-10 pound gain in the past few months, putting me at almost 270 lbs, I was filled with all sorts of negative feelings, thoughts, and words for myself.
Of course, the fact I had basically binged on Halloween candy the day before and let myself go back under the coldness and darkness of the depression, just fed into all the negativity. Especially after the grandmother of Luna’s new friends said something to me about not showing up for the birthday party she’d told me about on Halloween. So mommy guilt and feeling like a failure at the building new relationships and socializing thing worked their way into mr self- disgust.
I think I faked my way through it all fairly well, though. I explained my memory lapse about the party as part of the fibro symptoms – which it is – stated that if I don’t program dates & reminders into my phone I will forget them. I also maintained my composure when once again I became the de facto child wrangler and was the adult in charge of three little girls during the latter part of the church service, including the triple potty run. I also managed to coordinate things to hitch my recently acquired responsibility to organize the church’s littles into singing for the Christmas Eve service to what is already being planned and organized for the older kids. The woman in charge of that used to be a music teacher, and she’s got it together, while I only feel like I have the facade together.
Oh, I also found someone to help get my ballot in. No vehicle, no money, no stamps, wet weather, and no rain gear (yep, I’ve lived in the Pacific NW for over 30 years and have never owned rain boots or a slicker) all meant if I didn’t find someone to help me out, filling out my ballot would be more of an exercise in futility than I suspect it is anyway.
I guess the good news in all this is that I got up, took a shower, took out garbage & recycling, went to church, interacted with people, took in the sermon, got my ballot out, followed through on a commitment, took care of Luna, washed dishes, and actually cooked some food. Even though I didn’t want to do anything other than numb out, cry, and hide.
Never mind all the things that didn’t get done. I made it through and even managed to write this.
Since this is the month to celebrate the things to be grateful for and I want to try to keep building on the progress I’ve made, I’m going to end each new post with the things that I’m working on appreciating.
- 1: Not being able to do it myself.
Reaching the point where I can recognize, admit, and own the reality that this Humpty Dumpty is broken in so many pieces and so many ways has brought me to the place where I can see and receive God’s provision, strength, and love, which is answering the prayer to help my unbelief.
- 2: Experiencing and moving through the darkness.
Living with this kind of internal oppression and hopelessness for so long means that I am better able to recognize and savor the bright, beautiful, and truly beautiful thing better now than I used to. It’s given me the determination to keep trying and forging on ahead when I can’t even see to the end of my nose or feel air moving around me. I now know it’s there and available. I just have to keep showing up.
- 3:Difficult and challenging relationships.
It means they are sticking and fighting through the painful things right along with me and that we aren’t abandoning or giving up on each other.
- 4: Discovering and understanding that others are experiencing similar or more challenging things.
That looks callous and unfeeling, but it is actually the opposite. Being able to see beyond my own internal misery and recognize it in others means I’ve grown in compassion and empathy and that I’m not as self-centered and ego-centric as I used to be. Having other people remove their masks and share their pain helps me to gain perspective and is helping me to be better at accepting and moving through things instead of avoiding or denying them.
- 5: Getting older.
With each new year I live through, I grow in understanding, compassion, and tolerance becoming less judgmental of myself and others, less rigid and brittle in my certainty of absolutes, and less inclined to do battle for the things which do not matter.