The most beautiful people we have known are those who have
and have found their way out of the depths.
These persons have an appreciation,
and an understanding of life that fills them with
and a deep loving concern.
Beautiful people do not just happen.
– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
I wish my little spiral notebook stored emotions because I’m really trying to muster up that anger and that disappointment that I felt this afternoon when I was dismissed by my primary care doctor who spoke to me like I was a little fucking whiny ass bitch with a toothache, looking for Tylenol 3. Been there done that whole routine. I don’t have the energy for the gym, much less a drug addiction.
Physically I feel like I am forty years older and the kicker is I got my Brain MRI results and it looks like my memory may be as well. It was a small victory for me, honestly. Just kind of hoping for that white matter for so you can show everyone else you’re not crazy. I mean…I may be getting there so that’s not like a definite. Anyways, as we were waiting for them to fax over the results, my doctor – who’s this short, very serious squirrelly little thing – he tilted his tiny head and looked up at me over his glasses and had the audacity to ask, “Do you think this could all be depression or anxiety related?”. You see, when you have a diagnosis such as PTSD on your medical resume, you have to accept that every single doctor that you see and trust enough to share with is going to look at a person like me very differently than say, a 37 year old stay at home mom that always brings the snacks to fucking lacrosse practice. They’re going to spend a little more time with them and actually hear their symptoms. Like such severe light sensitivity and brain fog that it’s impaired their ability to drive a car. We, those who share similar diagnosis codes, are treated differently. I can’t really describe it but if you’re asking me to, you’re probably a 37 year old soccer mom who wears pearls and in that case I’d say count your lucky fucking stars, bitch.
I did go through an incredibly traumatic experience that altered me and the course of my life and I would never have done it any other way because I now see it as a gift and not a curse. Not only that…I have very rarely let it show. I’m always smiling, always polite and the answers always ‘yes’. I still have dreams, still see him daily. Still deal with it. But prior to falling ill in December I was at the best place I’ve been in a very very long time. And actually, I remain positive and proactive, which is something I’m super proud of.
SO, UM, YEAH I DONT THINK I HAVE CHRONIC JOINT PAIN AND SHORT TERM MEMORY LOSS BECAUSE IM BOO-HOOING OVER A ‘BAD BREAK UP’ OR BECAUSE I NEED XANAX FOR LIKE, THIS SUPER HIGH PAYING JOB INTERVIEW.
From here on out I am going to do my best to drill something into my head that has really been helpful: I am the only one who knows my truth because I’m living in it. No one else will know more about you than you. Especially not some dull, uninspired family physician who’s probably popping Adderall for a non-existent deadline.
When people ask me why I insist on putting on a full face of makeup and a pair of sneakers even if, for example, I’m home-bound because my brain fog has become so debilitating that it’s begun to impair my ability to drive, I no longer attempt to explain myself. For one, if you’re asking me that question because you honestly don’t know the answer, then consider yourself lucky. Obviously, you have never struggled to find a way to conceal your cath bag under a pair of old baggy sweatpants or spent 15 minutes on the toilet in the dark using a YouTube guided meditation in order to allow yourself to relax long enough to pee.
When I look better, I feel better. Period. There’s no surprise that my Ulta card has seen more action since I’ve gotten sick than ever before or that I’ve gone through so many different under-eye concealers that I’ve narrowed it down to the one that actually works well enough to give the appearance of entire night’s sleep (Boo-Boo Cover Up Concealer, $20.00 http://www.booboocoverup.com).
Lately I’ve taken to organizing the fuck out of my apartment. Maybe its because my mom took the keys to my Jetta and all I do is stare at are these four walls all day everyday. Also I recently read that clutter lends to negative or stagnant energy and after my life as I knew it just recently came to a standstill I’m not sure which is worse. As long as I’m moving one way or the other, I’m ok. Being stuck in the middle is not fun. And I figure at least I deserve to have one corner of this cozy little box looking like a page straight out of ‘The Paper Source’ catalog. After all, just because my brain is disorganized, it doesn’t mean my stuff has to be.
That’s been my mantra ever since I decided it was just easier for me to become my own Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and I read that someone like me is usually better off going along with their second thought rather than their first. So I pace myself in escalating situations by consciously remembering to stop and breathe long enough to repeat it in my head. Unfortunately, today I literally felt myself roll my eyes while repeating this phrase for the umpteeth time because it’s now officially reached the point when I am even sick of the sound of my own voice – or what’s left of it because I get to add asthma to the list of my diagnosis codes. So, instead…I wrote a list of things that I am thankful for today.
If even numbers didn’t drive me up the wall my number 11 would be the fact that I had the forethought to memorize that phrase – ‘this is just a test’ – because that’s just about the only damn thing I can remember nowadays. Hello, Brain Fog. Welcome to the club. You may want to take a number.