Down with the Sickness

I am officially a space cadet what with the Sudafed, guaifenesin, and dextromethorphan on board. Luckily, I’m not bad off enough to need codeine or antibiotics. I seem to get this every Easter and have since I was a kid. Most of the time, I spent hours practicing with the choir for an Easter anthem I’d never sing, because when Easter rolled around, I’d have full on laryngitis. Tonight is the youth group lock-in at the church, and it remains to be seen how long I will last. I just don’t want to leave Susannah in the lurch in terms of not having enough leaders to break out into small groups. This bad cold couldn’t have come at a worse time, but at least I have caffeine pills and all the meds I need to treat symptoms.

Tomorrow I am supposed to go and volunteer at A Wider Circle, but I may beg off on that, but not because I don’t want to. I just don’t know if I physically can. Especially after staying up all night, I’m not sure I’ll still have enough adrenaline to keep me going. When I take cold medication, generally my “get up and go” just goes.

Everyone has had to work/volunteer when they’ve been sick. I am not alone in this problem. I will go until I can’t anymore. The lock-in would have been so much easier for me when I was working nights at Alert Logic. Finally, some people to do things with that are actually on my schedule. God, that was one of the most isolating things I have ever done. My depression has never gotten so bad, so quick. I was just running on caffeine and adrenaline all the time, because the sleep I got during the day was not deep enough.

So I can stay up all night once, but completely flipping my schedule is not a feasible option anymore. I’m not 20.

It’s hard to believe I’ll be 39 on my next birthday. I haven’t been on the same track as most people, but I hope that it’s been good for me in terms of creativity. I have to look at it that way, because if I don’t, I feel deep, deep shame. I felt like I had the whole “adulting” thing down at Alert Logic, but the reality is that the enormity of my abuse hit me all at once and I finally broke. I have hope that this break was to make a beautiful omelet out of low-grade eggs. The best chefs are not the ones who cook with the best ingredients. They’re the ones that raise peasant food to perfection…. taking the parts that no one else wants and creating something great with them.

I got a note today that a sermon I wrote when I was in the middle of the mess was fantastic, and it made my day. It was in response to someone calling me crazy, a “killing ’em with kindness” project, not to take “crazy” personally but to put positive energy toward it instead of negative. I had to own “my crazy,” but it was essential to my sanity to say that crazy wasn’t bad. Just different. People with mental health issues see the world differently, and ask for attention in the most inappropriate of ways…. but when we make the effort to get healthy and it works, our visions change.

Or at least, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. Seeing the world differently is a challenge and not a flaw. I thought it was for a long time, because there are plenty of people who say to me, “you just don’t get it.” No, I don’t, because I often don’t see what you do. That’s why I value input. I would rather people discuss their differences with me than ghost, but I can’t stop them, and I won’t try.

Chasing after people makes me feel as if I am hard to love, and in a lot of ways, I am. Most of the time, I need to take a chill pill. My favorite activity in large groups is escaping to the bathroom for a few minutes of quiet.

I also realize how strong I am now, because I can read old entries with the eyes of another person, as if my writing came from someone else’s hand. I’ve read things that I’ve written that have moved me, and I don’t get that feeling on the first pass. It is only with a long passage of time that I can see this person emerging, this person that I am proud to get to know, because she is amazing and I can see it in black and white. Reminiscence comes in waves, like movies that play in my head… words into 3D modeling at its best. Trying to find the smallest part of myself, the thing that directs me, is the whole point of being single. Learning who I am without anyone else is a gargantuan task, but I’m up to it as long as I can reflect on the world, capturing the moment with a butterfly net.

Being able to look at myself, really look at both the good and the bad, is a propeller of enormous proportions. I realize that even when other people can’t love me, I can.

And for now, that is enough.


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