Monday, March 21, 2016

Being Sick - Part 2

Although I'd sworn off most of the advice, it all came back relentless and hounding in my weaker moments. I couldn't completely write it off because it might be true. I felt so inadequate trying to find my way through all the health fads and misinformation. But with it affecting me at every turn, I longed to be able to sort it out and find answers. I obsessed, like a piece of sand in an oyster, my brain tried to work it over and over, thinking I'd eventually find my pearl of truth. I also felt lazy for wanting a health professional to take charge. I dreamed of someone saying, "This isn't okay and here's what you need to do. It will make you feel better." I didn't even care at that point if what I had was chronic, I just wanted some relief. 

This is where I found myself on the year anniversary of starting treatment. I might've gotten through it if I hadn't worked on my photo yearbook. Opening picture folders, I saw a sad story. In October I was smiling with my family at the pumpkin patch (so exhausting) and in November there were hardly any pictures at all (since I'm the photographer). The ones I had were taken by Brian so I could see events I missed. I stared at my computer screen, mouth open. I mean...I was malnourished back then, but I was happy. My shoulders slumped because even with a higher dose of antidepressants, that kind of happy was just a memory. Back then I was ignorant, but I could pay my bills. Now I worked more hours and it still wasn't enough. 

I called second hiatus. This time no treatment. No more expenses. I wanted a reprieve to get things back to at least as good as they were before I started treatment. Some people have a comfort level with credit cards and I don't even know how to operate that way. It scares me, honestly. So to keep spending and watch what we owe get higher and higher...I just couldn't. So we stopped. I took the rest of my supplements and let them run out. I hoped stopping the flow of money would calm me. 

Before work one morning, I got in a shower after crunching budget numbers. I felt such an ache in my chest I had to take shorter breaths. I reached in front of me for my shampoo and the pain increased to an alarming level. My chest was too tight to pull my shoulders back and I texted my mom. She said she'd experienced that and it was just anxiety. My fears of a heart attack calmed, I went to work. I later found out it was a panic attack and if you're under normal amounts of stress, you can get the sensation to go away with deep breathing and relaxation. Mine lasted for weeks. When it finally faded away, I had another panic attack (in yoga) and started all over. 

When New Year's rolled around, my spirit felt broken. I'd wanted this part of my kid's childhood to be a small section. I didn't want them to remember so much of it as, "Mommy couldn't because she was too tired." It broke my heart. I was facing a new year with no hope of things getting better. When people asked if I was feeling better, I'd say "no" out loud and silently add, "And I don't know when I will." 

At this point money seemed like the king of me. Every treatment people suggested was ruled out by my budget. I wanted to go to Mayo Clinic, but I couldn't possibly pay my deductible. I felt so cynical, I didn't believe they could help me anyway. I knew from this place, I had no stamina to present my case or follow any kind of life changes recommended to me. So I started praying for faith.

At this moment, I my faith is getting stronger. I feel niggles of hope. Then I ask for more. I know I will need strength too, so I'm asking for that. I'm learning to unthrone money and be open to good things coming from other avenues.

I decided this is actually a ripe place to be. I have no illusions that being a smart person or a self-disciplined person or a careful-with-money person will get me better. None of that has gotten me anywhere. So now the stage is cleared. I'm in the audience, anticipating what God will do. And when she does, I will be the first to jump to my feet in a standing ovation because I won't be too busy whispering to my neighbor about what part was my idea.  


  1. Hugs to you! Well done for speaking your truth, and for facing the difficulties. I hope you will find that good things will come your way.