I've been trying to come up with a way of describing what the past few months have been like. In a previous post, I mentioned some of the medical issues I was having; without regurgitating details from my ever-thickening medical files, suffice it to say I've had a number of issues to contend with. Or as my doctor told me at my last visit: you've exchanged one melodrama for another.
Or a few others, rather.
Unless you've spoken with me on the phone, you may not have noticed much of a difference. Or maybe you have. I did my best to maintain a presence here, even when it was the last thing I wanted to do. It wasn't so much out of a sense of obligation as it was out of a desire to maintain some semblance of connectedness, to keep my head above the surface when I felt pulled under.
Over the last several months, I've felt a slow descent into what I can only describe as a terrible fog. At first, I was just a little more tired than normal. Less energetic.
About three or four weeks ago, the descent sharpened and picked up speed. I became forgetful, my head cloudy. It required all the abilities of concentration I possessed to maintain my focus visually. My limbs and my body felt unbearably heavy; every movement was laborious. Getting out of bed seemed especially impossible. Unless I paid particular attention to it, my speech became slurred and slow; even my jaw and my tongue felt too heavy to move. I spent all my waking hours in a stupor, feeling as though I was heavily drugged. It didn't matter how long or how deeply I slept. Every day felt the same, my state of being residing in an odd place where feelings of inebriation and profound exhaustion intersected.
I watched my calendar fill with more and more medical appointments: follow-ups, ultrasounds, blood tests. I held carbon copies of lab slips and sat opposite white walls on which clocks ticked away the seconds, oddly colorful gifts of pharmaceutical companies eager to sell little pills with impossible names. I can still see the little holes trailing above a river on indigo on my arm.
For the most part, I stopped caring about everything. I didn't care that I wasn't exercising, that I wasn't blogging (or writing anything for that matter), that I wasn't taking pictures, that any food I prepared all tasted the same -- the things that once mattered so much to me were gone. I learned to fake it: to calculate and make up the distance between my fog and the self I remembered, but distantly.
My days passed and these things I remembered enjoying at one time sifted easily through my fingers like sand. I'd let my hand drop with a heavy thud at my side, not worrying about picking up those things I'd lost. I was just too tired to care, shrouded by a heavy cloak of apathy. Wanting anything seemed a distant possibility; the ability to do much but exist had ceased. Separated from desire and will, I found I wasn't left with much. I felt as though I had been hollowed out. I knew God was present, but in a very cerebral, distant memory kind of way. I wasn't sensing Him – or much of anything -- at all.
I had moments where I seemed to emerge from this, to rise above the surface: to get excited or angry about something, to want to work on a writing piece. Most of the time, these bursts of emotion and life manifested themselves as full and unrestrained tears. My defenses dissolved, I always returned to this place where I felt the throbbing pull at my ankles dragging me under toward numbness, weighing me down. It was a strong and steady undertow that I was too weak to resist.
I was empty. And even now I wonder if it's honest to write any of this in the past tense. But somewhere in the distance, I think the sun is coming up and that maybe it will burn the fog away; I want it to come up.
evening mist photo courtesy of freefoto.com
Please note: I understand there are many schools of thought when it comes to how to manage one's physical health. I kindly ask that you refrain from posting comments containing disagreement with choices made by me or by my physician. The purpose of these posts is to share my journey through the health challenges I face and to describe how I am choosing to pursue wellness in a manner consistent with my convictions and my own ability to assess what is best for my body.
Read part 2 here.