(I am writing this on my husbands computer because mine is temporarily out of commission. His plural/quotation key does not work, I do not have that bad of a grammar problem. Okay, on with the show!)
I have to say that I am pleased and proud of myself for making it thus far and thank God that He has allowed me the health to continue to do so.
Here is my First Blogiversary post if you are so curious.
Like many chronically ill people, I wondered why it was ME who had to be so sick, why I had to hurt every day. I have been chronically ill since 2003. Also, like many, I wondered what I had done to deserve this life of pain and fatigue, when there were so many evil and nasty people who walked around on top of the world? Was God punishing me?
The 5 Stages of Coping With a Chronic Illness was originally used by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her book, On Death and Dying, but it works for the perpetually feeling like you are always dying very well. For so many years I was caught up in a Denial-Anger-Bargaining-Depression cycle. Acceptance my ass! Acceptance to me meant giving up and I was never going to do that, I was never going to stop fighting, looking for answers, looking for the cures. How could so many just lay down and Accept?
Yet, in a way, I was jealous of these people too, those who were so wise and so at peace with themselves.
Why, why, why?? What was the purpose of this pain and suffering?? Why me??
But little by little, I realized that my illnesses did have a purpose and there was a reason this was happening to me. Through my blogging, my writing, and using my actual voice in casual conversations with strangers, I slowly began to realize that I was making a difference. That I was comforting those like me and that I was educating those who were not, and sometimes it was even both at the same time. The comments, the emails, the vision of the lightbulb clicking on in someones head. Thank you, Emily, thank you for helping me, for showing me that I am not alone, thank you for telling me about Lupus, I feel wiser for having met you. Almost every day, the evidence was mounting.
And so I have come to believe that if someone was to have a chronic illness it should be…ME.
On Tuesday my computer crashed, it would turn on but show nothing but a blue screen. I was crying as my husband sat on the phone with tech support. My laptop is my life, as it is for so many chronically ill or disabled people. The techie couldnt get my computer started so he suggested I make an appointment to take it in, which I did yesterday.
When the young man who came over to help me said hello, I jumped. I told him that if my computer was dead and my data could not be recovered then I would probably start crying.
Dont worry, he said. A lot of people cry.
I explained that my laptop was extremely important to me as I was disabled. My laptop was my life, I was a blogger, a writer. I told him that I had many physical illnesses such as Lupus and Chronic Fatigue, and Mental illnesses such as Anxiety, Depression and Mania. That my physically tired and achy body was constantly at war with my go-go-go brain and that the only time I felt brain and body coming together was when I wrote.
I chatted and chatted, as my mania makes me do, all the while thinking This guy is probably thinking I am a freak. I felt like he was humoring me.
The only time I got something back from him was something like, I think many of us all suffer from sort of depression at one time or another.
Oh, yes definitely, I said, as I was thinking This guy probably cant wait to get me out of here. Whoa, slow down lady!
When I left the man said to me, What is your blog? Ill take a look at it.
Yeah, right. Youre just trying to be a good customer service rep.
What happened with my computer is not important to the story but here is what is. Last night I got this from the CONTACT ME section of my blog:
Met you earlier this afternoon in the mall. Just wanted to say thank you. It’s always nice to meet somebody else who also suffers from severe depression. Although I can’t relate to your situation with your family, I can relate to struggling with bipolar disorder. It’s hard to admit to another human being the severity or even the existence of your disease. I wish you the best of luck with everything. You’ve got a friend…(ending left out for privacy sake)
I frantically thought and thought. Who the Hell was this? Is my brain turning to so much mush that I dont remember meeting someone at the mall??? Who? Who?
And then, I got the clever way he ended his message to me (which I cannot print to protect his identity) and I knew. It was the computer guy! The young man who just nodded and smiled and whom I thought was thinking that I was a freak…was a freak himself, just a quiet one! And when I say freak, I mean that in the nicest way.
I asked him if I could include his message to me in my Blogiversary post:
Absolutely! I’d be honored and look forward to reading it.
It helps to know you’re not the only “crazy” one 🙂
Why yes, yes it does help to know that you are not the only crazy one, doesnt it? Would it also help to know that one out of four American families has a relative who has a mental illness?
Why didnt you tell me, computer guy, that you too have mental illness? Did you know that every time I tell someone I have a mental illness almost everyone tells me ME TOO! or I TAKE XANAX FOR… or MY HUSBAND… or MY MOTHER…?
Im not yelling at you, computer guy, it is perfectly alright that you did not offer this private information up about yourself.
I will do it for you. I will speak about mental illness and I will speak about chronic illness and I will speak about people who dont look sick but are, and I will blog about it. I will try to touch thousands with my writing, and just one person with my voice, and I will do it every day I am able.
And I will join others. Others like Christine Miserandino and Jenni Prokopy and those on the National Association of Mental Illness Blog.
Because this is my PURPOSE…and I ACCEPT it.
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