When Miriam was a child, she used to communicate that she was not feeling well by claiming she had “bad puckles.” This has become a shorthand for us when one or the other is ill; overwhelmingly, that person is me.
I got bad puckles, mama.
Here we are again. My life has come to a screeching halt. All the usual suspects are present: Dizziness, difficulty speaking, lost time, nausea, exhaustion. Tinnitus is a one-man-band that could fill Radio City Music Hall with whooshing, chirping, and feedback. Relative newcomers palsy and muscle spasms love their new playmates. Of course, insomnia is always the ring-leader. Y’all gonna make me lose my mind, up in here, up in here.
This morning we can add stress and anxiety, those old standbys that make a bad situation that much worse. Feelings of incompetence, weakness, confusion, panic, and desperation don’t do much but push me back every step or two. This is happening more often, Aaron. You know that right? Symptoms are becoming more pronounced and appear with frequency. You are realizing that, right? Right?
Today I am supposed to go to a bi-monthly meeting. I missed the last one because of my health. There is no way that I can drive an hour to go be around a few dozen people in a sanctuary when I am in this condition. I would have a complete breakdown. But I am so tired of sending emails, apologizing for my illness, assuring people that I will be at the next event. I recognize that some of that neurosis comes from me, but not all. It’s hard to have an invisible illness because there is always that sense from others that I might just be making this up. Or exaggerating. Or using it as an excuse to get out of things.
You forgot to mention that you can’t handle being touched, that your skin is on fire, and that your muscles are so fatigued from spasms and clenching that you feel like you’re back in your powerlifting days.
I tell you, I would attend big, loud meetings every Friday for 8 hours until I die if it meant that I could be loosed of these conditions. I feel so helpless when that which opposes me comes from inside my very cells; there is not an opponent I can see, can identify and deconstruct. There are no rational arguments that can be issued that will break down bipolar disorder and my other conditions. They rest right under the skin, they pollute my blood, they distort my sense experiences.
I write because that is what I’ve been told to do. I am now exhausted. Sweat is running down my face but I am cold. It has taken me 10 minutes to write this sentence, which is a sentence about writing a sentence that I cannot write, yet I write to prove that I can write so, therefore, I guess I’m still a writer. Got that?
I have therapy tomorrow. A message is in with GP, although there is not much that can be done. Maybe a med tweak or something to help me sleep, as very little does.
I think I have met all the major deadlines, so today I will be relatively off-grid and be trying to sleep and recover. I’ll check in within 24-hours. If I’m forgetting something, let me know and I’ll address it as quickly as I can.
Be well, do good works, and love one another. I’ll try to do the same.