Happy Mental Health Awareness Week, everybody.
This is very good. A tad slow leading up to after the two minute mark, but well worth it. Once he gets into the details of his experience, I think he’s done an excellent job of bringing across some of what it’s like those first months. I can see so much of my own journey in what he’s said.
I always hesitate a little before any kind of updates on illness-related things, because in addition to seeming potentially…um…less than enthralling…I feel like it always comes with the risk of having people assume that I’m somehow attention-seeking. And I don’t want that. But at the same time, 1. there really isn’t a whole lot of excitement to choose from around here these days, and 2. I have a strong drive to share at least pieces of my story and in some tiny way help to spread awareness and understanding about an illness that is so very often misunderstood. In reality, I probably shouldn’t worry about it since those people are already too distracted by the fact that I’ve just started two sentences with conjunctions.
Apologies for the giant gaps in posting. There hasn’t been a whole lot of extra energy to spare, and generally when I do pull the laptop over to try to compose a post, my brain offers up something to the effect of “uuuuuuuuuuuunh,” or occasionally “bees?” Not a particular fountain of creativity over here. It’s been a bit of a rough few months here physically, including a lot of testing, car travel to appointments, the aftermath of each of those, and a business trip that my husband couldn’t get out of. How much does it suck having your husband leave for a two week trip and realizing that you are not at all capable of taking care of yourself for that time, you ask? A lot. On the plus side, the experience allowed me to discover a new sliver of pride that I did not know I had left at this point. On the down side, I ate it. Nom nom pride.
In more recent news, I have just started Equilibrant, which the ME folks reading will know means that I’m probably feeling like crap right now with start-up effects. And they’d be right. But I need to do something more, and immune modulators and antivirals seem like the best shot for me right now given my most prominent symptoms and blood work results, and this one is often prescribed by some of the specialists in the field whose judgement I trust. Plus, there’s a slim chance that Equilibrant in particular may also do something for the ravening puffer demons that have taken up residence in my gut. I’m not sure what a puffer demon is exactly, but I suspect it is something like a puffer fish, except larger. And more ornery. And made of burning. Anyway, I am cautiously hopeful about it.
So right now I’m living through the Ultra Flu Extreme (as opposed to the regular Flu Extreme that I normally carry around these days). The Ultra version doesn’t come with leather seats, but it does have a promising “chills and shaking” package, so that’s something. My body is known to be pretty sensitive to medications/supplements/foods/existing, so I’ve been started off with just a quarter of a pill, which was most definitely the right call for me since that tiny piece has floored me like a ton of bricks. I’ve discovered that extreme illness is much like pain in that we tend to forget later just how bad it can get (Bad. It can get quite bad). I’m sure those of you who caught the regular flu this year can sympathize with that. The manufacturer mentions that dosing can begin with one pill and sometimes go up to a maximum of six pills per day. My quarter pill and I laughed and laughed and laughed together reading that, and then lay back down in a whimpering heap of painful exhaustion from all that laughing. But the pill still seemed in fairly good spirits about it, particularly when you consider that he was about to be eaten. I’m currently aiming for a dose of one or maybe two pills in some distant eventual time.
Until then, I’m back to struggling to get up the single step from my living room, sometimes needing to take the wheelchair to get down my hall to the bathroom, and getting that horrible creeping burning agony along my spine and up into my head when I try to read or type things. Things like final paragraphs on posts one has been slowly plugging away at, made of sentences very much like these.
I just started to share something hilarious my husband said today, but then looking at it from an outside perspective, I realized how horribly, horribly wrong it could be taken if one didn’t realize the context or some of the inside jokes involved. I imagine that probably applies to much of our life.
So instead, I will tell you that the other day, he suggested that the shirt I was wearing would actually make a really good goth shirt. When I looked at him in confusion, dressed in bright sunshine yellow with a bit of a light blue floral motif, he said that it was because it looked SO cheerful it was almost sarcastic.
That probably applies to much of my life as well.
I’m excited about this! After some interest in the comments from my previous post (which you should still comment on, by the way. I’m having fun deciding what I might mail to somebody), the lovely pinkbrain has agreed to put her art therapy to work for us (which is a serious and powerful discipline…but also a really fun way to get a personality assessment!). Here’s how you can get in on the action:
1) Draw a tree. A simple tree is fine (it doesn’t have to be a picture worthy of the Louvre or anything – it just has to be one you created). If possible, hand drawn trees that are scanned into the computer are preferable, but if that’s not an option, one drawn on the computer is fine too (though it is asked that you avoid cutting and pasting any pieces or anything – just drawing works best).
2) E-mail it to me. You can send it to emotionalumbrella at gmail dot com (…Does writing out e-mail addresses like that even do anything anymore? I don’t know.). I will arbitrarily decide to accept submissions until midnight on Wednesday April 6th, 2011 because I know I’m not always great at posting super regularly and don’t want anyone to miss out because they didn’t read this right away.
3) I will shuffle them up so that pinkbrain won’t know who owns each tree, and she can analyze each one and interpret what it says about the artist and their personality. If there are enough, maybe we can all have fun guessing who owns them too.
4) I will forward each person’s analysis to them and ask permission before posting any of it online. If you’re willing to share, that would be great, but I don’t want to leave anybody feeling too exposed if their trees reveal more than they bargained for. Ideally, I would like to share the analysis here with the identities of the tree-owners, and the creators of each tree can comment on how closely their personality has been pegged.
This seems like it would be more fun the more trees there are (within reason – but my active readership isn’t actually that large, unless you also include people looking for cats hugging trees or stick people trying to have sex with them, so we’re probably safe), so I encourage you to draw a tree and get analyzed! Anyone who is interested is welcome to submit one, new and old readers alike. I would happily receive a tree from you.
Many, many thanks to pinkbrain for her generous offer to analyze us! I’m really interested to see what my drawing says about me.
I had promised myself that I would try to write today, but I woke up holy tired from a truly bizarre set of dreams involving death and show tunes (no kidding), and have been feeling a little numb all day. I had wondered if perhaps I would notice more of a withdrawal effect in the final weeks of Luvox, when I graduated from Luvox nugget to Luvox flake. It’s damned difficult to differentiate one tiny sliver of medication from another and accurately judge which one is probably larger. Additionally, my pill cutter has some kind of crazy problem trying to cleanly cut something that’s not all that much larger than the width of the blade. Go figure. At any rate, I’m thinking that may be what today is.
I’ve been trying to push myself to spend my time in a wider range of activities lately. Perhaps to ensure that I’m getting as much fulfillment and motivation as possible. Perhaps due to that part of my brain that thinks it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that I might learn a language, or write a novel, or start a giraffe farm while I’m off on medical leave.
…Okay, I will admit that last statement isn’t entirely accurate. I should specify that in the vision I should easily do all of those things. At once. While making lattes.
At any rate, the goal has been to branch out and see if I’m missing out on anything randomly fulfilling and/or ensure that I’m making the best and most beneficial use of my time. Today is not a branching day, though. Today is some kind of mutant tree with a very, very long and branchless trunk leading up to a canopy of blankets and tv. It is a day for letting the world be sort of surreal, and watching it go by with distant curiosity. But I’m okay with it.
In reading another site, it occurred to me that an overview of events thus far might be helpful to have here. In case people started reading. And wanted to know what’s gone on. But don’t want to read all of my archives. Because they really don’t care what I had for lunch in July.
I’m still boggling over the fact that anybody’s reading this at all, but if you’re interested, there is now a brief overview of the history of all this over at the sidebar. Of course, once I got started writing I got characteristically overzealous, so by “brief” I mean “somewhat less elaborate than writing out a full minute-by-minute transcription of the events in question.” But if you know me at all by now, that shouldn’t come as a shock.
And if you don’t, well there’s this handy overview in the sidebar…