"Where there is creativity, there is hope." ~ Donna Karan




Friday, March 16, 2018

Picking up My Pen Again

I wouldn't blame you for thinking I dropped off the face of the earth. I didn't expect to need over a two-year hiatus from writing and blogging. On my social media accounts I haven't been as active as I try to be either, but I am still here, and I am not giving up on this blog and social mediaing. Boy, have I felt like it though.
 
Life has been incredibly difficult lately. I've been busy... well, being sick. With every passing year, despite my best efforts, I've been getting sicker and sicker. With declining health, just surviving daily life and getting menial chores done feels like I'm trying to climb bloody Mount Everest with bricks tied to my ankles. As a result, I've had to put the many things I love doing on the back burner, and unfortunately blogging had to be one of them.
 
While taking a (forced) break from blogging I've been occupied with trying to get my health back on track. I've been seeking help from an integrative practitioner and trying alternative treatments which I haven't had access to in mainstream medicine. (I posted briefly about it on Instagram if you're interested.)
 
Searching for answers and a reason for my worsening pain and fatigue has been far more gruelling, both physically and emotionally, than I expected. Though I'm happy to report that my efforts have not been futile, and I have made progress. Itsy-bitsy progress, but progress nonetheless. I have a lot to write about my experience with alternative treatments which I'm looking forward to sharing another time.

Along with focussing on my health I've also been hardcore adulting. In mid 2016 I decided it was time for me to achieve a life goal and become a more functional adult. So I moved out of my parents' house and started renting a nice place with my sister. Things were going well until just three months into our twelve month lease the real estate asked us to consider moving out due to our landlord facing hardship. I say "asked" but we were bullied into deciding to move again.

We didn't really want to leave as we were just getting settled. But we were thrown into an uncomfortable and difficult situation where we felt threatened, so we thought it best to move the heck on out. We made the most of a crappy situation and moved to a better, albeit smaller place, with cheaper rent and everything we need within walking distance.

But on the downside, my health took a hard hit. Moving house twice in three months is challenging at the best of times, but when you're trying to manage a chronic illness (in my case several), it's an absolute nightmare. Every area of my life suffered for it. For the following two months after the move I lived off store bought frozen meals as I was too unwell to cook. I couldn't manage to stay present on social media. I couldn't do much writing or much of anything really. For six months I rarely left our apartment or saw friends.

While I don't regret moving twice in such a short space of time, the spike in symptoms and lengthy recovery process has been extremely difficult. It has sucked, big time. It has taken the better part of a year for me to partially recover, and even now I'm still struggling to get my home life together and organise things the way I'd like.

On the upside, I absolutely love where I am living now. And the independence, freedom and personal growth that moving out of home has yielded me has been worth the suffering. I think. Although some days I really do question that!

In addition to being physically unwell I've also been struggling with depression and a serious lack of motivation. This monster has been my constant unwanted companion for a few years now. It's a big contributing factor to why blogging has been so difficult.

When you're constantly fatigued and in pain, depression just comes with the territory. While I'm definitely used to experiencing bouts of depression from time to time, this is the longest period of time that I've been plagued by despair, sadness, anxiety, panic, lostness, and uneasiness. I've pretty much lost interest in everything and I haven't felt like myself for a very long time. Some days are just okay, other days are pretty uncool.

A positive though, I guess, is that I know exactly what triggered it. A few years ago I was put on a medication for nerve pain. After about six months of taking it I started to suspect that it wasn't entirely agreeing with me. After researching and conversing with my doctors I concluded that it was the cause of my misery. I attempted to get off it several times but it was the only pain relief option that managed my pain well enough. So I had to decide whether I'd rather live with excruciating facial pain, a constant headache and frequent migraines, or to continue living with depression and everything that entailed.

I chose to put up with depression, inevitably succumbing to a downward spiral into the abyss. At the end of 2016 I reached breaking point. (I'm surprised I didn't reach it sooner.) The depression got too much and I just couldn't do it anymore. Spending three years feeling as flat as a tack finally did a number on me. I was a mess. An absolute mess. I could no longer continue risking my mental health for the sake of pain relief. My neurologist agreed. Thankfully this time I was able to successfully switch over to a new drug, and while the depression improved, unfortunately I haven't yet recovered like I expected to.

Depression has definitely extinguished a lot of my desire to write and blog. It has also made me afraid to blog as I don't want to be viewed differently; I don't want to be seen as a Debbie Downer when that's far from who I truly am. I don't want to drag everyone else down into the deepest darkness with me. But by the same token the whole reason I started blogging was to share both the dark and bright days. To be real, authentic and honest. To remind others that they aren't alone when they can't look on the bright side.

Truth is chronic illness is a treacherous, turbulent, cumbersome and painful journey. Often the days are dark. Dreary. Ugly. Wearisome. Hard. I need to be honest about that. I'm not where I want to be right now, and that's okay. Life is not sprawling blue skies at the moment and it's perfectly fine to write about it.

I desperately want to overcome this darkness, lack of motivation and loss of interest. I want to get my zest for life back. I want to get my wild determination back.

So it's time.

It's time to pick up my pen and write again. It's time to grab those small pockets of time when I do feel like putting pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and write like the wind.

It's time.

It's time to keep writing anyway, no matter how dark it gets. It's time to be open again. It's time to be brave again. It's time to rediscover my passion and pursue it, fiercely. It's time to get my inner fire back. It's time to rise to my feet, pick up my sword and shout to the darkness "You will not defeat me".

It's time.



Quote via BuzzFeed 


 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to see you here again.
I know how difficult it can be to blog and keep up with things when sick and depressed. I hope you find writing to be therapeutic and will find comfort in knowing you are not alone.
I look forward to reading more.
welcome back

Tamara Epps said...

It's wonderful to hear from you again. I wish things weren't so difficult for you, but unfortunately I understand and seem to have a very similar experience with you (having to move multiple times in a year and struggling with the physical and mental effects this has had on me). I too want to start blogging again, but I haven't summoned up the courage to do so yet, mainly because I just don't know what I would write about (life is very mundane when the majority of it is lived from a sofa) and don't want to start just to stop again. I hope you find ways to improve your mental health at the very least (not because I want you to be in physical pain, but because I know so little is known about our illnesses that there is a higher chance someone can at least help with the depression), and will be here when you post again (albeit a few weeks/months behind).

 

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