The Truth Is I Hurt

The truth is that lately I keep trashing drafts of sad blog posts in lieu of more hopeful ones. The truth is this is more of a fake-it-till-you-make-it scheme and a way for this website to be a place of light and not darkness. But the truth also is that vulnerability is always what has made space for healing in my life, so this post is going to be the truth. 

I’m taking a new medication, one where I take a week’s worth of the medication on one day. I’ve chosen Saturdays because the next 36 hours are full of fatigue and, for me, irritability, moodiness, low self-esteem, feelings of failure, and so. much. crying.

Today I went to Target. It was raining and I had to find a semi-dry cart. The lady in electronics wasted my time, which annoyed me, then in the 30 seconds it took to print a gift registry, someone took my cart.

On a normal day, this would have been annoying– maybe even funny!– but today, in the hours following my medication, it triggered a near-meltdown. I abandoned three of my four tasks, then started sobbing in my car. I was angry and sad and warm and I felt ugly and unlovable and like a failure.

This happens basically every weekend now. I basically sleep for a day and a half, and in the times I am awake, I cry.

I know, I know. I’m working with all my doctors on it. It’s honestly been hard to nail down exactly what the issue is, especially when I have so many new meds. Getting three major diagnoses in the course of several months has been SO GOOD, but also, well, overwhelming.

I have to remind myself constantly that I am a work in progress, and the fact that I never give up is the best way for me to judge success right now. If I were judging by pain-free days, anxiety-free days, great self esteem, weight loss, how much time I dedicate to writing, etc., I would feel miserable. So I am clinging to the fact that I persevere.

OCD has flared up.
Fibro has flared up.
Arthritis has flared up.
Depression has flared up.

It feels like an onslaught.

But I persevere. I plan, process, do my best to encourage friends. I try to be honest with myself, I rest when I need to, and I research solutions. I ask for help.

That one’s huge. Asking for help.

So there you have it. That’s the truth about how I’ve really been lately. Those other posts aren’t lies. I have had many happy days, I’m getting great sleep, my friends are the most incredible people.

And sometimes it helps to write about tulips instead of tears.

But I’m in the business of sharing first. I want to give others the gift of saying, “Me too.” So: I have been having awful weekends, a lot of physical pain, and pangs of OCD and depression. That’s where I’m at. How about you?

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Insta

Processing hope that does not put us to shame or, in other translations, that does not disappoint. Because there is obviously a type of hope that lets us down, maybe even makes us feel like fools that we could have had such expectations. This is a different kind and even has a guarantee … Spirit as collateral, if you will. .
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It’s interesting for me to ponder since my WIP has a lot to do with hope and expectation, whether fulfilled or fruitless. And the past 18 months have been filled with a lot of hopes that disappointed, some that put me to shame. Sometimes I feel silly that I continue to hope for certain things.
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But this. This is different. And I can trust that even those fruitless hopes were producing character in me. I don’t want heartache to be wasted.
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If God is the vine and I am a branch, maybe my heartaches and trials can be the rich compost that also helps me grow? Just a thought.

#HappyMemorialDay #hope #godlyhope #failure #suffering #heartache #character #trust #faith #perseverence #endurance #ABIDE #blog via Instagram https://ift.tt/2L0xB90

First Sight

I read online about a man born blind who underwent an experimental procedure at the age of four. When it was time to take the bandages off, the doctor took him to the greenhouse in the mental health ward of the hospital. The first thing he ever saw was thousands of blooming tulips.

That’s how I want to be overwhelmed.

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Ocean in a Bottle

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
Psalm 56:8

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I’ve cried so much in the last year. It’s almost unbelievable.

There was a time in my life I naively thought that if I could only get my OCD under control, I would never be sad another day in my life.

Alas, I’ve been in OCD remission for nearly a decade, and I’ve been drowning in tears for the last year and a half. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they are the same months I have attempted online dating.

(Sidenote: I’m in Duluth this week, on a writing-reading-resting retreat, and everywhere I look I am reminded that I was here around this time last year, still unaware that I was about to undergo the first round of that strange, ugly, ambiguous grief called ghosting, which would occur the Saturday before Memorial Day but which I wouldn’t realize until the Tuesday after it.)

I can’t seem to quit crying, certainly not since 45 was elected, not since I started online dating, for the entirety of 2018 thus far, and especially since I started new pain meds. You know how construction sites have those signs that brag, “We’ve gone 87 days without a lost time accident”? Well, my sign would read, “I’ve gone ZERO days without crying.” And it would stay that way.

Tonight I read about tears online. There are three kinds, did you know? Basal tears are the ever-present moisture in our eyes. Reflex tears are the kind that clear out threats: smoke, onions, dust. It’s the emotional tears (or psychic tears) that are the ones that come after overwhelming emotions.

It starts in the brain; then the endocrine system triggers hormones in the ocular area. Studies have shown that the make-up of emotional tears is different than reflex tears, which are 98% water. Emotional tears have hormones that indicate high stress levels, along with endorphins, a natural painkiller called leucine enkephalin.

Does any of this matter?

I hope all of it does.

All of it.

 

Eighteen & Again

Someone posted something on Instagram recently (and now I can’t find it) about life at 18 vs. life now. It occurred to me that it’s been 18 years since I was 18, and of course that intrigued the writer in me. So I thought I’d explore the comparison of those two milestones in my life.

At 18 …
I wanted to be a published author, along with all the glamour that came with it
At 36 …
I am a published author, along with all the stress and anxiety that came with it

At 18 …
I had undiagnosed OCD
At 36 …
I’ve been in remission for a decade

At 18 …
I thought true love was just around the corner and I’d likely be married by 22
At 36 …
I still hope true love and marriage are just around the corner

At 18 …
I was so extroverted I had to force myself into 10 minutes of being alone each day, at the urging of my favorite professor
At 36 …
I am so introverted I have to force myself to make plans with people

At 18 …
I could eat breakfast food for every meal
At 36 …
I can eat breakfast food for every meal

At 18 …
I had always been ultra-thin, but felt like a kid
At 36 …
I’ve battled with weight issues for over a decade, but (usually) love my curves

At 18 …
I had almost no health issues (outside of OCD)
At 36 …
I’m a web of interrelated diagnoses

At 18 …
I wanted to know that God found me acceptable
At 36 …
I know he does

At 18 …
I had spent one semester at Northwestern
At 36 …
I have spent 18 years at Northwestern

At 18 …
I didn’t even know yet that I enjoyed the company of children or teens
At 36 …
Kids are my purest joy, and I write novels for teenagers because I love that stage of life

At 18 …
I hadn’t even met most of the people who would be my friends as an adult
At 36 …
I continue to amass the most incredible friends this earth has to offer

At 18 …
I had not yet read any of the books I would later say had changed my life (outside of the Bible)
At 36 …
I’m excited about what life-changing stories are still ahead

I love today.

What a great day.

No skin cancer! (I haven’t mentioned my biopsy here on the blog, but if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen my #BandAidFace photos.)

Therapy was healing.

Work was fun.

There was a goodbye party for a beloved English professor at my university, and it was so good to see so many lovely writing alums. Being in the company of writers is so life-giving.

These kittens are making me so happy.

The pain in my hands/wrists/arms is nearly gone.

I had a banana-Nutella smoothie.

I am going to Duluth next week to write.

The handsome man is delightful.

As I said: great day. 🙂