It’ll never happen

I talked to my mom on the phone last night, and it finally struck home to me.

I will never have her support for the traumas I’ve been through in my life.

We were talking about a friend of mine who moved back to Florida, & when she asked where she lives, I told her.

Mom: “Oh, that’s the same city *he’s* (my male sibling) lived in.”

Me: Yeah, mom, I know.

“And btw, the girls (his daughters, my nieces) are coming up to visit this summer. I need to get in touch with Youngerdaughter to see if she wants to schedule her time home to coincide, so she can see them”.

Me: It would be nice, I don’t get to have any contact with them.

My sibling made a big deal of telling me years ago that he had the passwords & logins for his wife’s social media, as well as his daughters, so I believe he would not just watch if I tried to interact with them, but actively block contact or attack me through their pages.

You can think me paranoid if you want, but he’s attacked me verbally & emotionally so many times I have blocked every attempt he’s made to contact me. He is toxic in my life, & I won’t put up with his abuse.

Mom: “Oh, honey, he’s changed.”

Me: Not enough to say he’s sorry for what he’s done & said. Last time, Mom, he said “I’m sorry if you felt hurt, but sometimes you’re just too sensitive.” He didn’t say he was sorry for hurting me, he put the blame for my trauma back on me, then told me that I was “too sensitive”.

BEING SENSITIVE TO PAIN IS A TRAUMA RESPONSE.

Me: Mom, he has never apologized for what he said, or for what he’s done, he’s always just “I’ve grown up, & want to move past this”

Me: Translation – I’m tired of being called out for the real harm I caused, & want everyone to sweep it under the rug, because it doesn’t fit my “benevolent Christian man, husband & father” persona.

Mom: “Did I tell you my dog hurt her paw? She won’t let anyone anywhere near it.”

After about 10 more minutes of basic, surface conversation, I told her I love her, & hung up.

Avoidance, thy name is Mom.

Same thing happens whenever I bring up anything regarding the sexual assault I suffered from my best friend’s brother when I was 16. Her best friend is this (now man’s) mother. Every time she comes to visit, my mom wants me to see her, & they end up, somehow, working his name into the conversation, which sends me into a PTSD- induced panic attack.

Mom once: “Its been XX years. You should move past this. Let it go.”

I was never believed, not by anyone from either of our families. I was never allowed to talk about it, except when my parents tried to send me to a Christian counselor, & then told him that I thought I was molested. Not that it had actually happened, but that I thought it did.

I love both my parents. And I’m lucky to still have them in my life.

But, that hurts.

It hurts to know that my pain will never be valid in their eyes.

That they don’t believe that one instance even happened, but that I made it up or dreamt it.

And that they don’t remember reading the actual email my sibling sent me that ripped our family apart.

“My little sister died years ago. I don’t know you.”

Oh, fucker, you don’t know how right you are.

She died at 16, when a boy she trusted sexually assaulted her, and no one believed her.

She died at 17, when her parents sent her to a counselor & told him they thought she was delusional.

She died again at 19, when she was raped in college, and didn’t feel as though she could tell her parents, because why would they believe her now, when they didn’t before?

She died AGAIN, when at 20, they accused her of being on drugs, and forced her to get tested, when she’d never taken drugs in her life.

And she dies again, and again, and again, when they excuse her abusers for hurting her.

I still love my parents.

Don’t forget that.

But, loving them, does not make what they say & do, right.

My parents have always been the “turn the other cheek” people.

I can’t. I won’t. I will NOT give you another chance to hurt me, after being repeatedly struck on one side.

I still love my parents.

They’re good people.

But, the pain is real, when I know I’ll never have their unconditional love & support.

It’ll never happen.

Entropy

~things fall apart ~ the center does not hold~

I can feel the edges crumbling, the particles of my balance slipping into the cracks at my feet.

Everything hurts, & I can’t afford anymore doctor bills.

My RA is flaring in places it hasn’t been before. Or maybe it’s not RA, but the beginnings of fibromyalgia, the same as my mother has, mingling it’s chaos with the rheumatoid I already know, and that has been diagnosed.

*sigh*

Who the fuck knows.

And, since I can’t afford more medical expenses, I can’t get anyone to believe me.

Fuck invisible illnesses.

The anxiety & depression are only worsening, as my chronic pain settles even further into my system, denying me rest, denying me decent sleep.

All of which, are causing migraines, as the stress of it all builds.

It’s spiraling, & I can’t ask for help.

I’ve tried explaining, tried telling family that things are sliding Sideways.

But, it’s just not a priority.

They don’t hear me.

They don’t understand, that the smaller pieces I’m telling them, are tests.

And no, fuck, it’s not fair to test my loved ones, but in the state my brain is right now, I can’t bring myself to let it all go.

Because, if they don’t hear the little pieces… The times I continually say “It’s really hard trying to do this on my own”…

If I keep getting blown off…

Why say any more?

It doesn’t make a difference.

There is no help out there.

I have to do it all.

And I’m alone.

I’m always alone.

In the end…

Entropy always wins.

Tightrope

Balance. My life for the past… Oh, at least 23 years, has been about trying to find,and maintain, some kind of equanimity. And while there have been a lot of highs and lows, I’ve done alright, for the most part, at my search.

I had a really bad 2 year stretch, depression my constant companion, with anxiety keeping me strung tight & riding the line between dread & the feeling of utter numbness.

I’d fake my way through the days, keeping everything light & surface at work… then I’d come home, and static would settle between my ears. I’d sit in my chair, & stare at a wall for hours on end, until finally realizing the sun had set & it was time to sleep. I’d then lie awake for hours, not able to get my brain to shut off that static noise, problems whirling around inside like a tornado, eluding my grasp & stymying any problem-solving abilities I thought I had.

I came very close during those 2 years to just cashing in what few chips I had. 3 times, I almost took that last, long step.

But something always pulled me away from the edge.

My children. My grandchildren. My Beloved Nephew. They held me to this life long enough to claw my way out of the hole I’d sunk into.

And don’t bother asking what held my head under water, because I don’t know.

Depression doesn’t work like that, at least for me.

It seeps in under the door, around the cracks in the windows, like dark fog, slowly obscuring the light.

You don’t notice it at first.

It’s just a light haze, and you can easily brush it aside.

Until it fills the rooms inside your head with maladaptive thoughts, urging you to give up, give in.

You’re not really going to make anything out of yourself, after all, where are you now? What do you have? Who’s on your side, anyway? Everyone talks about you behind your back. You’re so weird, they can’t handle it. You’re too much. You’re not enough. You’re just….. wrong.

And, it’s always easier to believe the bad stuff. An overheard remark… a backhanded compliment/insult. Passive aggressive comments. A glance in the mirror after your anxiety/depression kicks in, and you’re done.

Yep. You’re just not worth it. No one wants you around. Not to keep. Get over yourself, & just do it.

And the strains of Hotel California start playing in your lizard brain, urging you on.

“You can check out any time you like… but you can never leave.”

You walk a tightrope, every day, between barely making those 24 hours, with your heart in your throat, and your chest on fire, your whole body clenched in knots, or slipping from the heights, plummeting to your final stop.

It’s hard to see the light right now. I can feel the fog rolling in again, after having a respite from the blank spaces for a while. I try to drag myself away from that edge, but the land tilts under me, and I slide…..

Being sad – is not the same as Depression. Being sad is for a reason, for a space of time, even if that space of time is a long one. There is a reason for it, and there are ways to work your way out of it. It’s explainable, logical, even expected, at times.

Being Depressed… *sigh* for me, most of the time, there’s absolutely no reason I can point to where the slide starts. No “thing” I can point to that is the catalyst. It just, exists.

I do the talking thing, not with a therapist, which I can’t afford, but with trusted folks in my life.

I do the medication thing, which helps to keep the BigBad from clawing my chest open, but doesn’t “fix” the problem.

Believe me, if there was a fix, I’d take it.

But, you can only keep the fog at bay, sometimes.

Walk the tightrope.

And hope… that the light starts burning off the fog when morning comes.

The Problem With Invisibility

Chronic illnesses, Chronic pain, autoimmune disorders and diseases, they all change a person’s life forever, and not in a good way.

I’m not going to try to cover all of them, not even some of them. Because I don’t live with them all, I don’t know how they all affect someone’s body, or emotions. It wouldn’t be fair to try to “explain” someone else’s pain to them.

All I know, is what I’m going through.

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I also have Chronic Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, & CPTSD (Childhood Post Traumatic Disorder).

You might not think that all of these qualify as Chronic illnesses, or Pain Disorders… And you’d be wrong.

RA is a chronic, degenerative, incurable disease. It’s most often one of the “hidden” diseases until it reaches one of it’s worst phases, because all of the pain is on a person’s insides. Joint pain isn’t obvious, until you can start seeing the gnarling of fingers, the oversize swelling of joints, the warping of stance.

And one of the things about chronic pain?

After a while of nonstop pain… Most people become somewhat used to it. We never have moments without some form of pain anymore, so can’t remember what that’s like.

And, as your body becomes used to the lower level constant aching… Your body resets its base level for pain.

Things that would cause a normal person to call out a 6 or 7 on a doctor’s pain scale, are now a 1 or 2 for us.

“It’s just always there, it’s normal”

Whether my face shows it or not… I’m always in pain, anymore.

Knees, ankles, wrists, fingers, lower back, hips…it’s like a sub-aural hum from elephants. Human ears don’t pitch for those, and my pain receptors don’t seem to pitch for the pain that’s constant, anymore.

My mental illnesses, Chronic Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, & CPTSD, are also hidden diseases.

Many people still don’t think they’re actually real. They claim it’s a “weakness of spirit”, or laziness, or, as some religious fanatics call it “infestation of evil”.

When, in reality, my body doesn’t produce certain chemicals to properly balance my brain, so I have to supplement them from the outside with medications.

Just like people with diabetes have to take certain medications to properly balance sugar/insulin levels.

And yet, I don’t know of anyone saying Diabetes isn’t real…

And as far as my mental illnesses go, most of them go back to traumas that happened when I was young, and my brain stopped making the chemicals to balance out the emotional damage from overuse of the stress chemicals.

How long can a person survive on adrenaline from a flight/fight/fawn response?

Eventually, it runs out.

And, as the lovely topper one this stacked shit sandwich –

All of them have a side symptom of exhaustion.

As a person with these illnesses, I struggle a lot to do certain things. And some days are a harder struggle than others. Some days…are just a wash.

And yet, no one can see any of them, unless I choose to show them, to talk about them, to try to explain.

But, because you can’t see them, they’re not real, right?

Cover your eyes, make them invisible, and they cease to exist?

That’s a 1-yr old game of peek-a-boo.

And I’m no longer playing.

I’m not invisible, and I won’t go away.

Wiped

I fell asleep with my phone in my hand, Facebook open, last night. How do I know this? Because the 1st thing I saw this morning when I picked my phone from the chair today was the top of the FB screen.

I don’t even really remember opening fb, last night. I’d spent the evening mostly on tiktok (my new favorite social platform), & must have decided to flip over to see what the other side of the fence was doing before I…*blank stare, slow blink…oh, Good morning, sun.*

This – the random exhaustion, completely debilitating, has been something I’ve been dealing with for a while now.

I worried about it for quite a while, thinking there was, maybe, a new issue with my thyroid? Maybe a bad slide down in my depression? Maybe (help me out here, WebMD) it could be something really awful?

I visited my doctors. Had tests run. Numerous tests. Lots of money down the drain, and a lot of patronizing medical verbiage from some of the physicians. You know, shit I don’t put up with. One doctor, I refuse to go see, anymore.

Putz.

Well, funny enough, it was the internet that helped me figure it out, not one of my Drs., who basically all told me that it was nothing, “Just the price of getting older, dontcha know”.

On a tangent, (but applicable, just wait) did you know that I have RA?

Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Yeah, I’ve mentioned it, once or twice, because it mostly affects my hands, both wrists & knuckles. It makes it difficult to work on crafts I love, but, it’s not usually severe, unless I push it too hard, like with serious yardwork over and extended period.

It is starting to affect one of my ankles, which I broke a few years back, so… that’s nice.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

It was actually a TikTok (don’t ask which one, I can’t remember their name, & was in epiphany shock when I saw it) that clued me in.

The creator was talking about something she’d been trying to do, but her RA fatigue wouldn’t give her enough spoons to accomplish the job. (I’ll write about the “Spoon Theory” another time, or you can Google it)

So, I went back into research mode.

I have at least 5 of these symptoms. ✅ Lucky, Lucky me.

And no, RA is not the only cause for my fatigue. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Chronic Depression, & PTSD working on me too, all of which cause cortisol levels (the stress hormone) to regularly flood my system, causing adrenaline to kick in with the “fight, flight, or fawn” impulse. And once the adrenaline bottoms out, exhaustion sets in.

And…AND… if that’s not enough fun for you, I developed vertigo this year.

My body is literally on a self-made chemical rollercoaster.

I hate rollercoasters.

Is it any wonder I stopped drinking?

Fuck, I feel drunk half the time as it is, anyway, who needs inebriation?

I’m still in research mode, trying to find what legit information I can, trying to plot my own course for treatment, since the doctors I currently have, don’t seem to want to discuss the notion that I might be right.

And no, I can’t go get 2nd opinions, or 3rd, or 4th, whatever I’m on right now, because they all work for the same medical hospital/clinic, & I can’t afford to travel & pay new medical bills somewhere else.

This shit’s expensive, y’all.

So, I’m looking towards more holistic, homeopathic, & self-generated help. As long as I can back the decisions with my own solid research, I might give it a try.

But, until I can start seeing some positive results…

I’m wiped.

AU

I imagine there’s an alternate universe where I became a horse trainer, & lived alone on a farm with all my animals.

I imagine there’s an alternate universe where I died from suicide at the ripe young age of 16, because – emotional trauma.

I imagine there’s one where I became a published author, famous or not, I finally finished writing a damn book & sent it toddling out into the world, instead of having children.

I imagine there’s one in which I actually finished college, and became a psychologist, only to realize I got too depressed over my own problems to help anyone else effectively.

I imagine there’s one where I stayed with my love of acting, even with crippling stage fright, & became a bit actress, only to become a diet-pill junkie, who died from complications due to extreme yoyo diets & depression.

I imagine there’s one where I became a famous horror writer.

I imagine there’s an alternate universe in which I have more friends than I know what to do with, because I can be so extroverted with the emotion switch “on”, and a complete recluse, with the switch “off.

I imagine there’s one, where I retreated into the woods to become the swamp witch of my dreams, leaving everything behind to live off-grid, because I had no one left, after pushing everyone I knew away due to emotional issues telling me I’m not worth loving, which is why everyone leaves, refuses to commit, or plays on my heart strings until I collapse & lose my shit, running screaming into the void.

I imagine that there’s an alternate universe in which I am living a happy life, with someone I love, who loves me back.

Wild imagination.

Hives, but no Bees

Ok, I’m ready to talk about the health crap I’ve been going through for the last few months. It’s not pretty, but also not lethal. Except to my mental health.

It really started at the end of March, when I came down with bronchitis. I thought it might be covid, because many of the symptoms match, so I got tested. Obviously, it came back negative, so I got on antibiotics & recovered from that.

At this point, I started working from home, since we were planning that anyway at my office, & I wasn’t the only one from my department that was going to be doing work from home. We hadn’t planned on me starting so soon, but it worked out.

Then, I got the flu about a week later. Good thing I was working from home, as I was able to log in & work when I could, without having to travel to the office, feeling like crap, & possibly infecting coworkers.

Then, a couple of days later… I started to notice hives.

Just a few spots to start, they quickly seemed to spread, until they covered most of my body in extremely itchy, raised red welts.

And I do mean covered.

As in, at least 85℅ of my body was itching, welted, or felt like it was extremely sunburned.

These are pictures I took to show my doctor. They are just of my arms, and aren’t of the worst days.

I went through 2&1/2 bottles of calamine, and was double dosing myself with antihistamines. (I can’t take anything with diphenhydramine in it, like benadryl, as it makes my heart race, so I had to take what I can)

I also ended up with chemical burns from all the calamine. It dries your skin extremely well, so well, in fact, that if you use it for 2 months, you get dry-skin burns. And believe me, they hurt. It took copious amounts of lotion to relieve and reverse this. Don’t overdo calamine, folks. Trust me.

Think of it like pouring hydrogen peroxide into an open wound. After the bubbling stops, it turns white, right? Because it’s dessicated the tissue. Dried it to oblivion.

I also found a lotion that has menthol & camphor in it, which helps to kill the itch, & makes your skin feel extremely cold in the process, which helps with the burning feeling the inflammation causes. (It’s called Sarna)

My doc put me on prednisone, to help with that, as well as another issue, & it seemed to help.

During all of this, I tried to figure out if the hives were a reaction to a medication I’d started taking for my depression, or if it was a new allergy. Joy.

I stopped taking the antidepressant, on recommendation of my doc, and my emotions went haywire again.

I stopped eating the one food I thought might have caused the allergy. (I’m extremely picky in my eating, there aren’t a lot of things it could be, anymore)

And… The hives started to go away. It took a while, but it seemed to be working.

Then, last weekend, when I had my Schnicklefritz for the weekend, I ate something I hadn’t had for a while, & the hives flared again that night.

I thought this was my answer!

I’d found the culprit, and eliminating this would stop the hives, right?

I made an appointment with an allergist, anyway, just to make sure, but I was fairly positive I had my answer.

After seeing my doc this last week, I told her my theory, & she agreed with me, that it was probably a food allergy, had nothing to do with my med, & I could start taking it again, so I did.

That was 2 days ago.

Yesterday night, I noticed a couple of hives – on my face – and some itchy, raised patches on my thighs. I treated my legs with calamine, & my face with hydrocortisone cream.

This morning…

My legs.

I can’t show you pictures of the other places I found hives, because it was the back of my scalp, & along the back of my neck. Kind of difficult to get pictures of that, but believe me, I felt every welt.

And I’m not allowed to take any antihistamines. None.

Not until after my allergist appointment – next Wednesday.

So, I have literally zero idea what’s causing the hives.

No product changes, everything I use from soap to shampoo to laundry detergent, is stuff I’ve been using for years.

There are about 4 or 5 foods that I eat right now, and none of them have caused this since I cut the last one out. (It was barbeque, both chips & sauce, which is probably going to make me very sad, because I love barbeque. It’s one of my favorite condiments)

Most of the hives have settled down again tonight. Probably from the facts that, A) I applied calamine to every affected patch of skin I could reach, except my scalp; B) I used lidocaine spray on ALL of the welts. If it’s numb, I can’t feel the itch, so I won’t scratch, which just makes spread; & C) I haven’t eaten anything all day, but one of the few meals I know for a fact has nothing in it that will affect me.

But…

I’m frustrated.

And tired.

And depressed.

I’ve had so many problems with allergies over the years.

And now, to add hives into this?

What if the allergist can’t figure out what’s causing them?

I have enough trouble with getting people to believe me about my allergies.

I need a large change in my life.

I want to move.

And I want to get a job where I can work from my home.

I’m tired of other people pissing on my feelings, & endangering my life, because they want to eat something I’m sensitive to, something that could possibly kill me.

I’m tired of having to excuse their lapses in memory.

I’m tired of turning the other cheek when their actions impact my health.

I have an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, which impacts so much more than just stiffness & pain in my joints. And I’m tired of people not believing me when I tell them that, too.

I need an out.

And I need it soon.

Or my mental health is going to continue to nosedive, antidepressants or not.

– _ –

In 20 years, I’ve never said these words out loud about *this* subject.

I don’t care anymore.

I’ve been struggling for over a year, now. I fell into the deepest depression of my life for over 12 months, and no one noticed.

No one cared that I pulled away, that I chose isolation over socialization. That I chose silence instead of community. No one cared to try to talk to me about it, or to help at all.

(None of this refers to my Nephew, or my children).

I’ve been having a really difficult time since I had to stop taking the antidepressant. My moods are all over the map, no matter what I try to balance. I swing wildly between crushing grief & borderline rage, all the while, flailing chaotically with a happy-faced smiling mask, trying to distract the masses.

Trying desperately to NOT break down into tears at my desk.

I’ve been patronized & ridiculed for my mental illness, told “You should do –*this thing* — and you’ll be Totally healed. If you don’t do this, you obviously don’t want to cure your anxiety, depression, migraines, etc.” #theyknowallthesecrets #becausetheysayso

As though I’ve never done any research into the medical issues I have. Who, ME? No, I don’t do research….. *oozing sarcasm*

As though mental illnesses that are exacerbated by a chemical imbalance can EVER BE CURED COMPLETELY.

I’m so fucking done. I feel like tossing all of my social media platforms (barring WordPress and tiktok) onto the ground before me, dousing it in mental gasoline, & burning those fucking bridges to ash.

I am quickly reaching endgame.

That point where, when you have nothing left to lose, you throw every-fucking-thing to the wind in a last second Hail Mary pass.

When the unknown is preferable to what you can see in front of you, it’s time to light that match, cross that bridge, & toss the flame behind you.

I’m done sitting down for others to try to walk over me.

I’m making plans, & cleaning house.

The silence only gets deeper from here.