Monday, December 3, 2018
Truth, Lies, and Illness
See... I want to believe this. But the chronic illness that is kinda leading to mental illness (and by kinda I mean a suped-up truck with hauling capabilities off the charts) has a different take.
I wasn't stupid. But the oxygen deprivation has taken a toll on my mind. I notice it all the time. I'm slipping.
I wasn't ugly. But the steroids and being told to stay still as much as possible caused my weight to double-and-then-some, which isn't helping my appearance.
Worthless depends on how that word is written, because if you stick a space in there and do some very basic math... Umm... If "worth" can be measured in terms of money, not only am I worth considerably less than I once was, but I'm now an economic drain. There are plenty of politicians leading my country who have implied as such and clearly would prefer that people like me drop dead or deport ourselves as we aren't adding financial value.
As for being weak... Physically, I use to lift 80 pounds overhead at least three times a week. Now I struggle lifting 5 pounds. Mentally, I use to multi-task with the best of 'em and deal with drama and stress without having a breakdown. Now, no. Because I live to close to the breaking point, getting tipped over it takes almost nothing. I had a meltdown over a lollipop once which is so dumb I can't even stand that it happened. And that pops me around to emotionally, where I was once stable and labeled "not like other girls." But now things hit me more often and I have new feelings that I can't even identify, much less deal with, but it's not like I'm crapping out money for a therapist. Which would be nice, but I can't even afford better lung docs so ... oh look, there's that worth/ value thing again.
As far as being a burden, yes, yes I am. I've cut most of the people out of my life who treated me like one. And I took a LOT of activities and independence off my calendars so I don't go out and become a burden to unsuspecting strangers. I put the responsibility of my breathing on myself as much as I possibly can. But still. There are family members I haven't seen in years because yes, it would be a HUGE burden on them to make their home cool enough for me to breathe or for us to meet up somewhere that's cold. I'm not worth wearing extra layers of clothing for, to them. I don't push the point. That worth thing, if it isn't about money... if it's about value in the family, well then I've fallen clean off that wagon. I'm down to less than a dozen family members who care.
I'm not sharing this on Facebook because I don't want pity or to be argued with about my feelings, my reality. I saw the post on my friend Becky Suglia's timeline (Dec 3, 12:14pm EST -- Friends only: her link) and I wrote this reply. But then I didn't want to comment with something THIS LONG on her Facebook wall. So I moved it all here, to my blog, where it will barely be seen.
My reply isn't the POINT of the post. The meme isn't for people with chronic illness. Or whatever other argument someone who can feel cheered up by this will make. I'm not there. I lack evidence to contradict the facts of my reality. Yeah, I have some good days. And there is a small group of people who are glad I'm around and don't think about me this way.
But my body is a prison. My freedom is restricted by my need for cold air. And yeah, I could try carrying a bag of ice everywhere, or this fan or that fan, etc. But see that paragraph about being weak? Yeah. And whipping those out reminds me that I've put myself in a dangerous situation. That I shouldn't be doing what I'm doing. And I feel like I'm behaving in such a way as to indicate I am ungrateful to be alive.
And that's when guilt and depression really kick in. Self-blame. And then I, the person who was always quite fond of herself, land up in a pit of self-loathing. Then grief and regret. Until I can't stand it anymore.
Those are bad days. I'm ashamed of myself when they happen. And then I see memes like this and they make me feel even worse about myself. EVEN THOUGH I KNOW THAT ISN'T THE POINT! It's supposed to make people feel better. And I truly hope it does make someone else feel better.
But that someone isn't me. If it's you, here's another copy: