Today, I found an old (former?) friend on Facebook (…where else?!). I haven’t seen her since she left for Australia with her family when we were 12 years old. I happened to be looking through old photos and wondered if she was on there. And she was. And I saw her as she was now… 25 years later.
Married. Three boys. High School Graduate. Still close to her family. Her sister shared the same (birth) name as I did, and she was also mentioned on there – married also. Looking almost exactly the same as she had done, just older. I recognised her picture… That smile was always so bright and infectious, it was instantly recognisable, if nothing else.
My instinct was to say Hi. Naturally. Since she would never be able to find me on Facebook (I deliberately ensured that no one from my previous life could find me first), I thought it would be nice to get in contact, because before she left we were the best of friends and fellow Beatlemaniacs. In the pictures we looked like we were having a great time. But after that initial thought… another feeling came over me.
My reaction to finding her wasn’t quite what I was expecting at all. I ended up with that now-familiar shockwave I get when I realise that what “normal” people with their average lives take for granted, I never can. When I see what other people my own age are doing… in glaring comparison to mine. And I was left feeling… Sad. Inadequate. Pathetic. Lost. Forsaken. Broken. Pointless. A Nothing; A No-One.
She had a husband… I had Fibromyalgia. She had three boys… I had what felt like a hundred pills a day to take. She looked like she was doing well… I had a wheelchair and a catheter that refused to stay put. She was living a good life… I was barely alive and broken into too many pieces to even count. She lived in Australia… I lived with my elderly(ish) parents (and don’t tell them I said that!) who have to care for every damned need I have, despite my being the very wrong side of 30 (and I used to think saying “the wrong side of 20” was a tragedy…).
What on earth was I ever supposed to say to her?
All I could ever offer was the possible bad news (or unfortunate news, at least) that her former [best] friend was a wheelchair-reliant, mobility-impaired Fibromyalgia sufferer, who could no longer do anything, nor remember much of anything, and lived in constant and consistent agony. Was I only to simply talk about what I used to do – what I once was? I had no conversation, nothing to offer, and what use could there possibly be from bothering her with a G’d Day from me?
And no, it’s not about falling for some “perfection” boloney that most people put on there (there is surprisingly little about her life on here, except some recent pictures of her boys, who look adorable anyhow), and then putting my life up against them. I don’t do that anyway. It’s about the fact that what other people have, and take for granted, was never mine to enjoy, or have. There is almost no one I know, if anyone, that is in the same situation as me. Immobile, in agony, with a life lost at age 32, now living with and being taken care of by my parents for almost everything, as if I’m some kind of overgrown toddler (sort of, I’m not exactly that much taller than a child!).
Every small thing brings home what I’m not. How broken I am. What has been lost. What nothing has been left behind. I hate the self-pity… But after nearly five damned years of this, I still yet have no idea how to process all of this. Because there is no How or answer to Why… It’s something that exploded from nowhere and no one can ever explain it. Leaving me struggling to do the most basic of things, and dignity be damned! I haven’t had any of that for a while now…
This woman is a memory of what could have been, what may have been. When I knew her I was a young child with endless possibilities. Before the serious bullying (it turned out that it was she who was inadvertently keeping me safe from this, as it started up almost the moment she was gone…) that destroyed my childhood and teenage years, as well as the first half of my 20s. Before umpteen illnesses and allergies – not to mention the Fibro. Before I was killed inside and a zombified vampire of a soul returned to attempt to survive and cope with whatever little that was left of me.
She left just before the shit hit the fan… so the (rather spotty and sporadic) memories, the seemingly unending amount pictures of her or the two of us, the girl that I had been and that I was back then, all are shadows long lost to the older, destroyed woman I am now. Seeing me then, with her, innocent and ignorant of the hell that was to come for the next Quarter-Decade of life, was a shock. I don’t remember those times – I don’t remember most of my entire life – so I have no recollection of who I was before. But in those pictures I was introduced to her. This person I was. Alongside my friend. I was smiling. Having fun. Clearly being silly and enjoying it. Being Beatlemaniacs together. Being in the first year of high school together (before that school played its part in pulling me apart). It was a relationship full of fun, hope, and playfulness. Without a single clue as to what was going to come next…
And thusly, contacting her would achieve nothing but encouraging the Ghost of Life-Once-Was to haunt me again. They’re haunting me enough as it is. This woman isn’t really the same person who was my friend. She’s no longer CE but Mrs. H, a mother, whatever else she has become. The only thing that is still the same is that infectious smile, and her kind and sparkling eyes.
I do not remember the past, so it must be best to let sleeping dogs lie. I was long traumatised by everything that happened to me, and probably the best thing is that I have forgotten. Retrograde Amnesia happens in PTSD for a reason, after all – and I’ll kind-of thank Pregablin for deleting the rest. I may not have much Short or Long Term Memory, but although that is annoying and unfortunate at times, it’s a good thing most of the time, and it’s best not to go rooting around what’s there in my mind.
Therefore, Mrs. H, née CE, I think it still best you still don’t know where I am or how to contact me. I ensured my old name is not linked to my online footprint or profiles for good reason. My past should stay where it is. In the pictures. In memories. In the past.
This may sound too personal, but I don’t really have “normal people/NT tact”… Skip if find “inappropriate” or whatever… But lets face it, we’re all built with the same things at the end of the day (generally).
I don’t know why I hope it’s not going to get any worse. It’s as if as soon as I do, it does just that.
There’s no sleep. There’s virtually no rest. I’m so exhausted, yet doing nothing – just breathing is enough to make me feel as if I’ve just run up an entire mountain.
First I lost control of my legs. Then I needed a catheter. Now… it’s peristalsis. Yes, that’s… gross. But it’s scary – I mean, who wants to find out that now those muscles are starting to fail too? I’m struggling – spent the last few days… a week?… I don’t know… in hell where it wouldn’t work and I was in agony. Even the smallest attempt at my body to even try either causes my bladder to contract instead (who the hell knows how that happens – and it’s beyond excrutiating)… and if the mixed signals end up in the right place, even that hurts because any muscle contractions below my sternum is agony in paraesthesia, because of how my Fibro has decided to confuse itself and make me semi-numb from the sternum down.
The exhaustion I already had was killing me. This now… This has really pushed me beyond my limits. I always have to push them, find new ones. Raise (or lower, depending on your perspective) the bar of what my limits are. It seems that wherever I turn, I get punched in the gut, disappointed, not helped, fed to the wolves.
Apparently the CFS clinic the GP put me through to won’t see me because they don’t deal with you if you have a pre-existing condition causing it… despite CFS and Fibro being well-referred to as “Sister-Conditions”, and there is no “Fibromyalgia Clinic” – otherwise I’d bloody well already be there, wouldn’t I? And the most infuriating part? They didn’t eve bother to contact me – they just told the GP instead. Cowards.
I even contacted a neurological physiotherapy company (private) to see if they would at least try to help me, and they just basically said they were unable to help me – despite my basically having the same symptomology as other conditions they willingly treat. I wrote them back and put a flea in their ear, to which they replied they would be willing to put me on their waiting list… Wow, lucky me.
It really does feel that wherever I turn, I’m getting shoved back, ignored, refused. No matter what I do or where I turn… just nothing.
The GP came to see me the other day at home. Out of the blue, without the warning promised. I didn’t fare well… and I’m not sure how well it went. It’s still hard to portray how hard it is to exist in this… situation. I barely made it to her downstairs, and I paid dearly for it after in pain. She claimed she wanted to help. Well, at least someone has said it. Meant or not, who knows. Or meant, but unable to be acted upon. Nothing matters except the results, at the end of the day.
I’m existing in Survival Mode. It’s somewhere I haven’t been since I was a child, and I don’t very much like it. But it is familiar… and there is something comforting about that. It doesn’t does me much good, but it does help me get through this God-Forsaken Hell I am currently living in. It stops me going stir-crazy with distress, wondering how I fell so far so fast. How I’m so far away from everyone and everything I love(d). How lost and bleak I am, that my existence is. How I no longer live or have a life. How I’m nothing more than a
walking wheeling/crawling nothing. Nope… I’m not thinking about that. I can’t – or I won’t survive. Who would? I did this when I was a child because that was also a Hell, a crucible I was forced to run for nearly two decades.
Now… Now I just have to do it again. If a child can do it, so can I now.
I really hate these flare-ups… Is it just Fibro, or is it more? I’m just so exhausted I can’t think straight, or even at all, anymore. It makes me so ridiculously ill, so tired and drained, so unable to do anything, not function at all.
I am lost inside it. Numb and dead inside with nothing more to give.
Drained Fatigue. Exhaustion beyond all comprehension. Exacerbated paraesthesia or neuropathy. “Buzzing”. “Paraesthesia pain”. Severe internal temperature fluctuations, like when one has severe fever or flu. Bad Palpitations. Severe Nausea. Blackouts. Inability to wake up.
Emotional fear. Scattered mind and thoughts. Inability to comprehend even basic things. Even less capability to remember things. No focus at all. Unable to do just about anything. Left with vacantly watching rubbish on TV because can’t focus. High Distress. Depression. Severe Hyper-Anxiety. Terrified – of everything. Overwhelmed. Barely able to move. Unable to function.
All I do are the basics. Less than the basics. And yet this is still what I have to live with – that and so much more. It doesn’t seem to matter that I try and do as little as possible… I still end up feeling so awful, so drained, in pain. If I try and do more than nothing, then this… thing… punishes me relentlessly, by making everything so much worse.
This makes it so completely horrible, unmanageable, un-livable. I am unable to do anything I want to, and that’s not because I’m in so much pain or can’t walk. It’s because I am so very too exhausted to do anything. There are things that can be done to control pain, Fibro… well, to a certain extent, anyway… but there seems to be nothing to combat inexplicable and extreme exhaustion that’s so bad it makes you pass out. Might not be too surprising that coffee is barely of any use whatsoever, either. So there’s nothing at all to combat it. You really do just “have to take it”. Without a single antidote to be had to help at all.
Sleep does nothing. “Rest” does nothing. How can you even “rest” when everything all around you confuses and terrifies you? When you’re so anxious, so distorted, so “zoned out”, so unable to function whatsoever… how can you really “rest”? It’s like I’ve got a broken health bar… or one from Dragon Age: Inquisition… It just doesn’t regenerate at all. And I’ve got no potions to bring it back either.
Taking me out of the game, for as long as its there. Or maybe, quite possibly, for good.
Sometimes I just don’t have any words… We go to people, to professionals, trust these people… and then just how do they end up doing not only absolutely nothing to help you, they actually victimise you instead?
So, you – the person who is ill, disabled, in pain, vulnerable – need all these professionals to help you: Doctors, nurses, specialists, clinicians, physiotherapists, Ocupational Therapists, private healthcare providers, welfare department… And then so many of them just do nothing but let you down over and over again.
There’s DWP. PIP. NHS. Social Care. Specialists. Ableworld.
They’re all terrible.
And who would have thought that the people you paid for assiststance is the one that is victimisiting you the most?
First, the Ableworld Specialist Rep came out and did a rubbish job, only found out when they sent me the bill, with only a small amount of details. The details were incorrect and I was billed for things I didn’t want or need – she had made the decision of what I wanted for a lot of things for me without even asking. If she did ask, it was only for basic aesthetic things, and I still can’t get over the fact she billed me for £450 carbon wheels by only asking if I liked black wheels. No mention of the price.
I had to drag her back a second time to fix things. She still got things wrong. I told her several times the measurements for the seats were wrong and she bullied me into accepting it. The wheels were too far back, legs too far forward. I didn’t even get to see what the measuments she was writing down were. I never saw the prescription, only received an email stating the basic things that were paid for. Nothing more.
It wasn’t suitable and it’s given me serious ongoing, possibly permenant pain. Funnily enough, the sales-centric Rep cared not for my pain and basically ignored me.
I tried calling. I tried everything sensible to get something done about it to change it. It was hurting me, making my conditions worse. It was creating extensive paraesthesia and numbness in both hands, and causing problems with my knees, where the seat was pressing right into the backs of my knees and calves because it was too long. My back wasn’t properly supported, my feet were not under my knees and forward, and the wheels were too far back to be of any use, especially with backwheeling and getting myself up curb-sides. I needed it fixed before the problems were permenant. For some reason, they really weren’t interested in helping fix the problem they had created.
So… I lodged a complaint to get something done. Instead, though, I ended up with a really stroppy email from the Managing Director refusing all further assistance, insisting instead on forcing a refund on me, and then charging me to rent back the chair for £50 per week until I could get a replacement. This was given to me on Thursday afternoon, and expected this to go ahead on Monday.
Of all the goddamn gall!! 😲😳😤
So now I’m looking at what I can do. But what can I do…?
They’re trying to tie my hands and seem to want to cause as much pain and torment as possible. I’ve become more ill from all this – and I thought dealing with PIP was bad enough… except I paid these people a heck of a lot of money to help me and they screwed me six ways from Sunday. I’m distraught. Disgusted. Horrified. Stunned. Quite frankly, I feel sickened and ill from it. And the stress levels is really making things worse, too.
I’ve been trying all evening and night to devise a plan of action. What to do about things, about the best way to handle this. I have ideas… but whether they’ll pan out is a whole different thing. I’m trying to work out what to do about all of this… and no option so far is looking too great. It’s more of a make the best of it situation (I believe that means to take what is available and see what positives may come… I think).
Tomorrow, I have to get the rest of the data I need to do what I need to do about this, and then get back to the numpty who’s done this to me with whatever I have to say to him.
We are the vulnerable. The ill. The Disabled. They’re supposed to be there to look after us. To guide us. To help us. Not screw us over and abandon us.
But that’s what they do. Because they’re all people who don’t know what it’s like.
So now I’m off to see people who actually do.