It is Well with my Soul BYU Vocal Point

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Long Night Half Over

It's 2:45...I cough and struggle to breathe.  My head hurts from the coughing..My chest wall is sore and my throat raw.  Today I went to my friend's house for Bible Study --and before it started was beset by such breathlessness and coughing that I had to ask to be brought home...to stick my head  in the nebulizer mask to suck in some albuterolic relief.  My husband was angry with me....or maybe, more accurately, with the situation.  Why can I never just get sick for a day or even a week and then get better and go on with my life?  Why is it that "cures" don't cure me?  He is certain that I will end up in the hospital...and who knows, maybe I will....But I know, viscerally, that this must be fought with all of my strength.  Why?  Because the "cure" is to pump me full of IV steroids...which always make me depressed and angry and psychotic....And right now, I'm way too precariously perched on my inner sanity tightrope to have to deal with the steroids - crazies.

"Hope Escaping" by Cynthia Lott Vogel
Tonight, earlier, I lie in my bed thinking of the dreaded "what if's."  But these were not some outlandish things I was imagining.  I was thinking of the time when we'll have to move and I will be forced to deal with the masses and messes of paperwork and do-dads that fill this house.  I thought of when I ultimately have to go into a nursing home.   I thought of my rapidly approaching shoulder surgeries.  I thought of trying to meet next month's budget.  Thoughts like this filled me with dread, terror and ultimately: despair.  I feel incapable of dealing with any of them..  I don't want  to deal with them.  I don't want to deal with even the struggles that tomorrow will bring, let alone things like these.  I felt the Swamp sucking me down and under.  It was a familiar but not recent feeling for me.

I suddenly realized that this heavy sense of dread was one that I lived with and walked with and wore like a thousand pound noose about my neck for a good (or I should say "a horrific") fifteen years, from approximately age 15 to 30...I was burdened and choked by this familiar phantom of cloying despair.

And it has been gone --only appearing in random instances of depression or psychosis--since then.  So WHY am I dealing with this now??  I realize suddenly: it's because I'm undergoing a medication adjustment.  And it was this realization that made me stop and think: This sense of hopelessness I'm feeling is not the reality of how things stand.  It is a symptom of my illness.  It can be vanquished chemically; therefore it is not the tangible opponent that it seems to be at this moment.  Yet, still I know that this "symptom" must be dealt with  quickly, because the profundity of the despair that I felt tonight is not one that can be carried or survived for very long.

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