I will be the first to admit that I live a perfectly good life.
My parents have supported me and helped me throughout every mishap and every setback when it comes to getting to the bottom of my health issues and even supporting me financially whenever I can't work. My friends - the handful that I truly trust with all my heart - are no strangers to the past two years and just how difficult it's been. But even then, there are things that keep me quiet. There are ideas that run through my mind when no one is here and no is listening... that something is wrong. That something much bigger is eating me alive from the inside out. No one is to blame, because I choose to disclose certain problems I face and the fears that wrack my brain. But no one else is responsible for not being aware of the ones I choose not to share. It's not because I don't think anyone would understand. It's because I don't understand it myself.
I'm not unhappy. But I'm not okay.
My body has been in pain for two years. It started slowly, and I ignored it for as long as possible. I never sought help, because I didn't think anything to be truly wrong. But when I finally came clean to my parents, I started the endless loop of doctor visits. Appointment after appointment after appointment. I never got a straight answer. Fibromyalgia. Chronic Fatigue. Lupus. Hashimoto's. Anything and everything got thrown at me, and I never believed any of it. Finally, I took the holistic approach and eventually found a diagnosis I thought made sense. When I was 15, I contracted Lyme Disease from a tick bite. I was treated with antibiotics, but according to new research and theory, the medication merely suppressed the virus instead of killing it. If this was the case, my immune system had been under attack for going on ten years.
But here's the thing. I've been undergoing treatment for going on 5 months, and I was told that it would take a total of 9. The extreme pain has settled, and I don't have nearly as many bad days as I used to, but when I'm down... I'm down. And it's hard to get back up. It's not so much about concentrated pain anymore. It's my entire body. I just ache all the time for no reason. I've cut so many things out of my diet, thinking that certain foods might be triggers for inflammation, and I've stuck to my medications. My detox. But I still feel helpless.
What if it's in my head? What if everything I'm feeling is just my fucked up mind playing tricks on me? I've considered for a long time now that I suffer from depression, and I see the commercials all the time about how it "hurts" and it's very real and very different for everyone. But have I always had it, or have I developed it due to everything I've suffered from? What if I'm bipolar? My ability to go from happy to sad feels like a rollercoaster a lot of the time, but there's no pattern to it. And the energetic "manic" episodes never last more than a day, or a few hours. I'm already on Cymbalta for anxiety, and for that it's been successful. I secretly hoped it would help with everything else as well, but I know I need to find something more suitable for me.
Being in pain is stressful.
Living up to the expectation I set for myself with writing was overwhelming.
But here are a few other things I've never shared...
The first, my closest friends are aware of, but the rest I've kept to myself.
I recently came to the conclusion that my boyfriend of 8 years is really just my best friend. The decision was mutual, and we both came to a very conscious conclusion that we were no longer romantic. We hadn't been in a very long time, and in a way I'm not losing anything by accepting our new status, but it's new, and it's different, despite how right it feels.
I don't like to get out of bed most days, because it's easier to be alone. I waste hours watching tv or scrolling though social media, merely because I don't have the energy to be social in person. However, I'm lucky enough to have two very close friends that help me in very different ways. I have one friend that is always a phone call away, and has been through everything I'm feeling, so it's the easiest thing in the world to share my struggles, because she gets it. My other friend can raise me up from that low I feel no matter how deep I get, and I don't even know if she realizes it, but she's the most important person in my life at the moment. If I feel myself slipping, I'll text her to hang out, because I know as soon as I see her I'll feel better, and I can be myself. It's strange, but it's probably the truest friendship I've ever experienced in my entire life.
There are times when I've dragged sharp objects against my skin to distract myself from the physical aches in my muscles. I don't want to die. I don't cut myself. I just enjoy the distraction, and it puts my love of tattoos and piercings into a unique perspective. I redirect the pain into something I can control, and it eases everything.
I fear that one day I will be addicted to the pain medication I receive for flare ups.
I fear that one day there won't be anything that provides relief, because my body will have built up a tolerance to whatever I try.
I'm afraid that everything I feel - both mentally and physically - is all in my head.
I'm afraid that I'll never know what's actually wrong with me.
I have no right to feel sad. I've lost people I cared about, and I've struggled with my health, but I can't understand what would cause my mind and my body to unravel so destructively.
If you read this, know that my life is not in danger. I have no thoughts of suicide, and I doubt I ever will. But I am slowly going insane trying to understand why I feel so lost and so sad and so pained.
“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad, and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.”
― Stephen Chbosky,