It would take a novel to tell you where I’ve been since I posted last.
The short answer is Hell.
However, thinking of Hell reminds me of a refrain from a country song by Rodney Atkins:
If you’re going through Hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared, don’t show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there
That sums up most of 2016 for me. The good news is, I do seem to have gotten out before the devil noticed me. And that’s why I’m writing again.
As you’ll recall, I’ve been sick for a long time, and from very early on I was determined to use my experience to help others. I believed blogging would be a good forum for that. However, I’ve never been able to sustain my blogging activities because I never felt well enough on a continued basis.
I gave up the blog ghost all together this February because dispatching from Hell was impossible for me. Living it was so devastatingly painful that I simply could not bring myself to re-live it by writing about it.
But Hell is now in my rear view mirror. Mind you, it is not miles behind me. More like inches. I can still feel the faint whisper of its fire on my back. Life is still difficult every day, but difficult in a manageable way, which is very different than difficult in an unmanageable way. And for me, that represents tremendous progress.
This blog post would be painfully long if I attempted to tell you the story of February 2016 to now all at once, so I will tell you a little at a time. I will start with the 30,000 foot view, which goes like this:
- I’ve been battling chronic lyme disease since 2009.
- Lyme broke my body first.
- Then it broke my brain. In spectacularly painful fashion.
- And that’s when all Hell broke loose.
Before I got sick I was a vibrant, healthy, happy, fit, balanced person. Since August 2009 every one of those traits has been slowly fading to black until I hit rock bottom in February 2016.
Yes, I had periods of progress and reprieve over the years, but the trend line mostly pointed down. One step up, two back. I fought so very hard for so very long, but I just could not stop the steady erosion of the vital person I used to be.
By February, my weight, spirits and will were at an all time low. I woke up each day to a body and brain I could scarcely recognize as my own.
And at the moment I was on my knees, at my most vulnerable, in roared the greatest torment I have known: debilitating, intractable anxiety.
Severe anxiety is a thief, a robber in the night, hijacking the part of your brain where reason resides, leaving you with the constant, unrelenting, indescribable fear of… nothing. This fear is impervious to logic. This fear can be set off by the smallest offhand comment or stray thought. This fear starts as a speck of dust and explodes into a tornado in your brain.
In my case, the tornado was a force that could not be stopped by any amount of common sense, meditation, mindfulness, exercise or talk therapy.
It debilitated me. Humbled me. Haunted me and trapped me – inside my brain and inside my home.
This level of anxiety is not normal for me. I have been a worrier my whole life, and I’ve had my share of anxious moments, but this bring-you-to-your-knees-make-you-want-to-put-a-steak-knife-in-your-eye kind of anxiety was new to me.
The anxiety combined with my long term physical issues was almost too much to bear. But note I said almost. I took it. I fought it. I got knocked to my knees over and over and over again. But the reason I’m here and writing, is I always got back up. Always.
I am not cured of any of my physical or mental ailments, but I am on the path. Ever so slowly I am bringing my anxiety to heel. I am gaining weight, working out and putting on muscle for the first time in seven years. I do not have stomach discomfort every day of my life, as I did for so, so long.
So yeah. Things are looking up.
You may read about the long journey that has brought me to this place, by clicking here.