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Good Grief

What am I grieving about?

I’m not even sure what part of the grief process I’m in. Is it over yet? Is it ever going to be over? Being sick sucks enough, but I get to feel emo about being sick too. When are we going to be able to hack this so we can short-circuit this mess? My amazing therapist suggested I write about what I’m grieving about, so that’s what’s happening here.

I miss just being able to just live my life the way I used to. As far as my body went, it was like a Toyota- it could look better I guess, but it was reliable and low maintenance. It was awesome. It did what I asked and it felt great pretty much all the time. Now I’m plagued every single day by my limitations. If I live within those limitations I can feel pretty normal. No warm environments, no exertion in the morning, no hikes, blahdy blah. I miss mountain biking and kayaking. I actually think I could kayak again, because at least it’s recumbent, but what happens if I start to feel bad… I’ll be in the middle of a giant lake or bay. Perfect. I envision myself shooting up with an epi-pen, and calling 911 from the middle of Mission Bay. That’s just not the life I had in mind. No more kayaking solo.

This is the question on my mind when considering doing anything outside of my little home now: “WHAT IF I START TO FEEL BAD!?” It’s become such an incessant and annoying question. Can I get a break? What healthy person doesn’t take for granted such a compliant and able body? I definitely did. These days, I often just figure why bother, might as well stay close to home or sit this one out. Beyond just being physically exhausted, I just get emotionally spent. You don’t get a vacation from your body. You are stuck with what you got, even if what you got sucks. Acceptance is not something I ever excelled at by the way.

Even eating can get me feeling sick, because my heart rate can shoot up and I feel queasy and dizzy. Oh no… shunting blood for a little digestion is such a big deal. Good god. I try to eat small meals these days. I miss stuffing my face when I have an appetite. How am I not skinnier by now? OH yeah, because I’m allergic to exercise. Is this even real? I think this must be purgatory, because it’s not hot enough yet to be hell.

I miss my social life. I can’t knock back drinks or feel comfortable in stuffy bars, because the temperature and all the smells can get me ill. I wish that was an exaggeration. I don’t like spending tons of time with people at normal events, because I can’t participate and that’s boring… and depressing. I can manage watching people drink at happy hour, but I really don’t feel like fainting at a concert, or watching people rock climb. Guess I was pretty active… that’s not my life anymore. I wish I could get into video games and D&D. Where do you find sedentary friends? God I really miss drinking. If there was ever a time I could use a drink…

This is going to sound so lame. One of the biggest things I miss is just going for nice long walks. That used to be my thing. I just really enjoyed being out and walking in the world. So simple, yet now so challenging. It’s tiring and requires vigilance since I have to have my meds with me and my water and my cell phone to ring for help if needed… and it’s just not what it used to be, which was easy and carefree. My expectation for my life was that my body would start to give up when I was OLD. It’s so hard to see older family members and realize wow I am so much UNhealthier than them… even they have such a better quality of life than me. I might as well be freaking 90. Alphaville needs to make me a song called “Forever Old.”

So what do you think? I think this could be considered the “bargaining” phase maybe mixed in with some depression and anger. I’m skeptical that I’ll reach that thing they keep calling acceptance. I don’t get how you can really accept living with this stuff. I think it’ll probably happen when plenty of time has passed so that a part of me can forget the healthy memories. The contrast between health and sickness will dim, and this new life can feel normal. Just thought it might happen sooner considering all this brain fog… come on give me something!

 

Published in Mental Health Personal Stories

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