Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Who am I? The first ten changes because of being ill

I have addressed this questions several times over the last four years that I have been ill.

  1. First I was strong, I had persevered through many adversities in my life and this would be one more.  The best indicator of the future is the past and I had made it through many tough situations.
  2. Then I was tired.  I was tired of being strong, tired of being tired.  Fatigue as a word lacks so much of what I need to convey.  I would cry in the shower, I was so tired that lifting my arms or even just standing there were bringing me to my knees mentally and physically.  Pain has a large vocabulary and it is easy for everyone to relate to but if fatigue had a larger vocabulary I would write about it more than anything else, except maybe losing my mind, maybe. 
  3. Weakness, that was next and it was awful and it crushed me.  I had spent 38 or maybe 39 years of my life making sure I was strong and it turns out all the preparation and practice at being strong were for naught.
  4. Disappointed, how could I have not persevered, how could I be tired and weak?  The days of kilts and caber tosses were over.
  5. Depression followed shortly thereafter.  Depression became really tight with fatigue and they go out to eat a lot and they are getting fat, it is like they go to TGIF's and they just feed each other until they are so heavy they can barely move.  Some people should not be friends. 
  6. Next I was scared, who was going to see my weakness?  This was a concern because I have not always been a nice guy and it would be fair to say that there are a group of people that have met me and don't like me.  Ironically I have never really been afraid of dying, I had a come apart one day on Facebook but I have always known I was going to die.  That sounds really creepy, further exploration might be warranted.
  7. I got angry, this has always been part of me, when I am scared I get angry.  It is a defense mechanism to scare people off that I have used from an early age.  I have always been a large menacing physical specimen compared to my peers.  There were not a whole lot of people hanging around at this point. Most people are terrified of dying and do not want to be around anyone that is sick so the only people that were still around were the truly loyal, loving, salt of the earth, best kind of people on earth kind of people.  I would get angry with these people.  Not my finest hour.
  8. Loneliness would settle in after the anger dissipated. As stated above most people had long since ran inside to get out of the storm.  That left people that were devoted to me.  Even the most devoted people have their limits and they would check out and not be present.  Sometimes being with someone you are trying to drive away is lonelier than being alone.  The devoted stayed to make sure I was alive and tried to meet my needs.  That was hard, no one knew what my needs were especially me.  (sidenote: these people that stayed were still being strong long after I was not.)
  9. I fell down metaphorically and entered the state of despair, there is an exit before you get to Wendover on I-80 East. I am not repeating myself because despair and depression are not synonyms and being sick differentiated them for me. (sidenote: I knew what you were thinking)  Depression is very much like the dark cloud that is shown to represent it.  The cloud blocks out the sun and things get dark and hard to see.  Now despair that is a horse of a darker color, the color and consistency of pitch and it just keeps slowly pouring down on you.  Weighing you down, crushing you, suffocating you, dragging you straight to hell or something like that.  The important thing to remember is the distinction is not slight and not one of degrees, if I can go all SAT on you depression is to despair what darkness is to oblivion or what darkness is to the vacuum of the empty universe or maybe darkness is to bottomless pit, you get the idea, bad stuff.  In other words this is Sparta and I am falling down that pit.
  10. Broken and I as write the word I know that there are not words to do it justice of how broken I was.  Broken is the only word that applies but you must apply it to all the individual infinite things that make up a person.  The things that are known and the things that are unknown.  Right now I think I am failing to convey my brokenness but use your imagination and imagine something really broken.  I have no suggestions but I have faith in you.
Looking back over this list I think it might be weighted towards the downer side of things.  Unfortunately those first transitional states were really a downer, things sucked on a big time level and those first few years being sick were a serious downer.  

Were there some good things?

Did I get more empathy towards the suffering of others, sure.  How about a better appreciation of the wonderful people in my life, again sure, yes no brainer.  Did I become more humble and did that allow me to have a closer relationship with God and then from that a closer relationship with my wife, knock on wood yes.

All those things are true and they are wonderful and with Saint Thomas as my guide I know that my suffering does serve the greater good which is God's plan.  The pain clears your mind of all the useless shit that is up there.  Pain is like binoculars for the mind, you are able to see farther and more clearly than without it.  Pain provides a clarity that heretofore I had not experienced (I am really excited that I just used the word heretofore and I did not even try).

So ends the first installment of the list of who I have been since was diagnosed and it was quite the downer for you and me as well.  Hopefully there are enough hopeful and happy bits there at the end to keep you going.

Next week I am going to talk about my trip to the neurologist but I will not forget to finish this list, I will keep going no matter how many bullet points it takes to reach who I am today.

(I am aware there are a lot of Part 1's and not a lot of Part 2's and I am working to fix that)