258 // Peripheral

The season is settling in. This morning felt like the coldest one yet and though the afternoon’s temperatures are still rising above 80 degrees, I think it’s time to change my wardrobe over to long pants and sleeves.

This week continues to strain, but after today I’ll have made it halfway and the worst will be behind me. I hope that by Friday my workweek will relax and I can focus on my home and family and the next tasks and to-dos I need to tackle.

I’m looking forward to a few days of rest next week and doing a whole lot of nothing the weekend after.

One thing going well and my only source of fulfillment lately is reading. I’ve delved back into The Odyssey and The Body Keeps the Score.

The former is a more recent translation than the previous version I read and I’ve had to adjust to a simpler and more relaxed telling. At first, it turned me off, but keeping in mind Emily Wilson’s reasoning for the wording she chose has helped to see the epic from her point of view and glean something new from it. It’s got me thinking about what it means to be a morally good person vs a successful and powerful person. In what ways are those two things at odds and how has the ideal version of each changed through the ages?

As for the latter, I had to take a break. It turns out that reading about trauma and thinking about your own past without leaving time to process can leave the mind and body too engrossed in remembering and worrying to engage with others or get a good night’s sleep. I’ve learned there is a lot left to notice and to learn about myself. There is a lot left to heal and more I may miss without having ever known of the gap.

A little time away and a chance to lose myself in physical labor has seen me back to calm and I’ve dipped my toes back in. I’m ready to slip into the shallow end, with my feet finding the bottom and the past firmly in my peripheral vision.

258 // Carry this Pain With Me

Health-wise, today was an awful day. For one, I felt a lot worse. My pain and other symptoms were heightened and quite distressing. I’m so tired and run down I had to leave work early so I could to come home and simply sleep the afternoon away. After two additional hours rest, I still woke up with darkened eye circles and weakness in my muscles.

On top of that, I met with my doctor and though we still have no solutions; we are not quite out of options. I have a plan, but it’s a little terrifying. On one hand I have to come wean off one of my medications and see if I get better or worse. On the flip side, we are increasing another medication with the hope that it will work better. So a lot of hoping with very few certainties and a lot of real possibilities for things to go from bad to worse.

I feel close to giving up, or at least wanting to. I don’t know that giving up is even a choice or what that would like as an option going forward. I guess I can’t really give up, but I’m dangerously close to giving in—to grief, to anger, to loneliness and hopelessness.

I’m just tired of fighting. Talking myself up or back is a daily battle. Getting out of bed, getting dressed, going about my day, and doing my best to work, listen, connect, laugh, love, and be present is exhausting beyond words. How can I keep up this pace? How do I go on living, really living, not just being alive, while my body is falling and failing me every minute of every day?

I guess the only way is to see that, for one, my body is me, and two, I am not failing or falling at all. I am perhaps doing, giving, and expecting more than I should, but I am strong and I am getting through it the best anyone could if they were in my position.

It’s been helpful to remind myself that that none of this is my fault and more than that I don’t owe anyone anything because of it, let alone an apology. I’ve been feeling so sorry for every part of this, but what exactly am I sorry for? For impacting others? For asking “Will you help me?” For the proximity I place them to suffering and fragility by simply existing and being perceived?

Yes, I’m sorry for it all, but what is the point of friendship, of community, of caring, connection, and love if not to both experience and welcome such impact? I’ve got to stop feeling bad for living a real life that includes sad things, bad news, and hard choices. I have to not just welcome but expect that the people in my life will put up with me, will help me, will carry this pain with me willingly and enthusiastically.

There were good things today.

I cleaned. I wrote a little. I didn’t get to that cut out poem, but I spent some time on taking care of me. There was a delicious dinner and a bottle of good red wine. I got new head phones and they are exactly what I need to help get through the long days at work.

And now the weekend is over and I am trying not to be too down about it. I’m proud of myself for doing better today than I did yesterday but I’m still carrying so much guilt. I can’t do that anymore. I can’t let myself get sucked into mindless TV and social media timelines that way again. Not all day.

But today was better, and that has to be enough. I have to let it go and start new tomorrow.