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.
Someone I haven’t spoken to in a while over text sent me a quite innocent message yesterday, with Are you still alive? written on it. A running joke when catching up after a while. It meant nothing, had no other significant meaning. They didn’t know it was not so this time.
This time, it wasn’t so funny. This time I really meant it when I wrote back, Yeh, just about…
It was a literal answer… and one I was decidedly uncomfortable with. Especially when I didn’t tell them that, or why.
How do you answer someone else… Yourself… When the rest of the answer to that question is I could have died…?
I was desperately ill and point-blank refusing treatment and, well, in all honesty and reality, getting close to dying. Literally screaming myself hoarse in agony, until I was lost consciousness from the pain, for hours every day for a month, not realising my body was being attacked by a silent killer, tearing up my insides and leaving me barely conscious on a daily basis. But I still refused any help or medial treatment. The scars, the terror, the shame of the way I had been treated by medical “professionals” in the past meant I was too traumatised, especially in my current state, to go anywhere near them.
What an utterly terrifying thought… and nauseating right now, with 30/20 hindsight. I did it to myself. Unwittingly. But I still did it. And I quite possibly came a bit to close to maybe not making it. I became unreasonable, delirious, the agony too indescribable apart from being able to say it felt like actual torture.
Eventually, it seemed something in my brain snapped and I somehow, for some reason, decided to finally allow my parents to seek emergency treatment for me. I must have finally realised somewhere inside my subconscious my money was up and it was now or never, the last chance saloon. I don’t know because I don’t remember anything of that day except coming to around 5:30pm in a strange place, in a strange bed, somewhere that I only recognised as “a hospital”. Which or where I hadn’t a clue. My mother had to fill me in on the rest.
I was told I was dragged, barely conscious, downstairs and to the car, then taken to the out-of-hours GP service located in the main general hospital on Saturday 27th January. The time on my discharge note shows it as being logged in to see them just after 12pm. They rushed me in to the Surgical Assessment Unit and ran tests, put me in x-ray and gave me a CT scan. They pushed fluids for severe dehydration and vast amounts of strong painkillers to stop me screaming. I was apparently there for five hours before I became coherent enough to come around, the pain subsided much, but still quite agonising – although nowhere near what it had been – and I had to be told what happened to me and why there were lines in my arm and why I was in a hospital. And especially the question, Which hospital?
After negative scans and intensive blood tests, it turned out I had blood poisoning and a “horrendous” [their words] UTI (urine infection). Specifically, I had contracted Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. And I’d probably had it for weeks, if not months. The entire time I’d been feeling very ill all the way to the point where I’d spent an entire month screaming myself into unconsciousness from the mind-exploding incomprehensible agony I was enduring.
I ended up being hooked up to some kick-ass antibiotics for 3 weeks before I was getting better. But us took 6 weeks before I was given the all-clear to finally go home with clean and clear blood with zero infections left in it. Even when the ococcus infections had been dimming down, I still got 2 other infections on top of it, and one of them remains an actual mystery to this day, but it was so bad I got a temperature higher than I’d even had with the blood infection – hitting 40.7˚C at its worst. They couldn’t find the actual cause (and they looked a lot) so they dumped me right back on the antibiotics (I’d just got rid of that damn cannula the day before, too!) for another week and a half or so.
So, I spent 6 weeks in hospital trying to recover from my stupidity. For the first couple of weeks I felt it acutely that it was a fight, a real battle, to get on top of this thing (or things) and get rid of it. Once I started to get the upper hand, it was a slow but assured ascent to the top of the mountain of recovery. A couple of minor setbacks is expected, and otherwise it was a fairly smooth ride, if not long. Very, very long…!
I was very lucky the people there were really good and helped me with my little Aspie quirks, and were quite happy to help and make it as easy as possible for me. I also got a lot out of it that wasn’t just my life, or recovery too. I got actually got my life back in a different sense. Whilst I was there, I got more than I ever expected, and although the way I got there was, frankly, terrifying, I clearly needed to go there to get everything I got from it.
Institutionalisation, at certain points of extreme chaos, apparently suits me. It allows me to reset, obtain new and better habits, in a safe environment of regiment and set patterns. Whilst at hospital, their set mealtimes reset my non-functional non-eating habits that for a long time had kept blowing between starvation and binge-eating. Even stopped me being completely terrified of food after realising there were bland and basic things that could be eaten without feeling overwhelmed and shaking. I learned that some medication didn’t outrightly hate me and worked well – and for the first time in 4 years I had adequate pain control that did not require a distillery. It was such a relief. Even anti-nausea medication given alleviated the horrible nausea from the pain and allowed me to eat easier. Even Oramorph for when the pain momentarily got out of control again. Not one single side effect – just what it was made for, for a change.
I actually got people to arrange referrals for me to help with the fibromyalgia, as well as a few followups regarding what I had been through. This was the first time I’d ever received adequate assistance, support and referrals for my condition… and that was probably because this was the first time that medical professionals had spent 24/7 over 6 weeks to see what I was going through. I even had a wonderful OT (Occupational Therapist) organise my being able to see my dog downstairs whilst I was stuck there, and I ended up managing it twice, which was wonderful.
By the time I left, I really was ready to go home. As in I was clear of any and all infections, everything had been put into place, and I was going home with support and medication that was going to make my life easier to live with. It may not have been the best way to end up getting help, but somehow having a serious illness had managed to bring the never-ending freefall of Hell I had been spinning in, and send me in a completely new direction.
Yes.. Life Is Strange…
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.
It’s New Year’s Eve. The end of 2017… And I’m definitely glad to see it go. This last year has been the year from Hell itself.
It started with agony that could not be compared. With my starting to lose the ability to walk at all. With my losing the ability to crawl up the stairs. With my losing the last few threads of what was left of me.
2017 was the year I stopped being able to walk. To use my legs. It was the year I had to get a stair lift. The year I had to get a “real” and “proper” active wheelchair – something that caused a lot of pain, difficulty, complications, and tears. The year I found out I had been suffering an elusive condition for the last 19 years and it had impacted greatly upon my Fibromyalgia – something no one had ever heard of, called Hemiplegic Migraine… and I found that out on what should have been my late grandfather’s birthday.
This was the year my best friend left for South America, and was no longer here. This was the year I went completely numb and unable to feel anything touching my skin or pain from the outside. This was the year I could no longer stand for a shower or get into the bath. The year where gaming became more and more elusive because my hands and focus no longer worked properly. The year Fatigue came to over-run and ruin my life. The year PIP decided to decieve and scheme and refuse to even acknowledge the difficulties I have by outrightly lying about me in their reports. The year I was betrayed by my own therapist, just the third time we had met, and after waiting over a year on the waiting list to see her in the first place.
This was the year I learned you can lose your life without ever having to actually die.
I started 2017 with the ability to shuffle with walking aids and go for a shower… And I am ending it without the ability to walk or properly move my legs, wearing a catheter, permenently in a wheelchair, unable to go to the shower or get into the bath, barely able to leave my room, struggling to move and sometimes even breathe.
2017 was the year I think I truly died inside.
It started with hardship and loss. Went on to destroy what was left of me and my body. Ended with trauma and being near-bedridden.
On the bright side, I also ended up getting 2 graphic card upgrades and end the year with the GTX 1070 8GB OC. I was also introduced to several amazing games – in 4K High/Ultra, too – and got a Lenovo YogaBook – which is terribly fun to have.
And I got to see The Last Jedi… So at last one good thing happened.
It never ends…
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.
I’ve already worked out that being an Aspie is weird, in the sense that you don’t do things like other people, and psychologists are happy to say what you do and how you think is basically “non- compliment” to “social norms”.
However, I find I sometimes really do fall down the rabbit-hole and find my brain might have extra-weird things. Now, not liking change is one thing… I think that’s quite normal, for quite a lot of people, not just for ASD. But right now I’m in yet another distressing emotional dilemma because I have to change something that [to me] is a friend that has been with me for three years and now I have to say goodbye and move on to something else.
I’m talking about my debit card. [Yes, don’t smirk…!]. I have to, this month, move away, and kill, my debit card of three years and start using a new one. With different numbers – on the front, on the expiry, on the back… And this causes me actual distress – and a lot of concern about the change itself. Adapting to anything takes such a long time, and I’ve already had quite enough of that with everything else in my life…
It always has – whether a new card after expiry, or having lost a card (or had it stolen, which happened twice), saying goodbye and using a new one is a difficult thing to overcome. There is real loss there, disappointment, and the change is contentious and disturbing to me. Yes, I’m probably on this little island all by myself, but it’s affecting me, and I’m having great difficulty making the transition. So I’m “talking about it” to try and help myself come to terms with this… As hard as it is, it obviously needs to be done, and there’s a clock on it – so I have only a certain amount of time to actually try and acclimatise to it.
It doesn’t help that this is coming during what is already a time of turbulence and upheaval – and this one extra [small but significant] change is a final straw on the metaphorical camel’s back.
During this time, my condition is getting worse, my best friend and soul-sister has left for a backpacking pilgrimage to South America for god-knows how long (and it was a sudden, impetuous decision, so I had little time to acclimatise and process that, and I needed to help her, too, because she couldn’t organise her way out of a paper bag and is already regretting not taking my advice about her phone because “she knew better”. She didn’t…), and my little sister [OK, she’s 31…] is about to have her first child (due next week, mid-October). Things are already super scary, and I didn’t need anything else on top of that.
Now I have to give up my card and change that, too? I still have cards from cancelled credit card accounts (they’re pretty and I can’t accept they’re gone – yes, I’m weird…) – I don’t know how I’m supposed accept I have to say goodbye after so long.
It doesn’t help I’m being rushed to move on. GiffGaff [network] systems won’t accept that the card expires at the end of October, not on the first day. So it won’t let me use it for my next payment. Thus, I feel pressured to start using the other card already… which seems highly unfair.
I understand no one else usually feels like this, that it’s just a card. But I don’t like change, and there’s already too much going on as it is that is changing everything. I don’t see why I have to do one more very difficult change on top of all the others. I am aware it comes across as ridiculous… but it’s not like I have a choice in the matter – these confusing things just turn up in my head and distress me greatly. And I have no one to help and understand. Hence, the blog. This blog. This entry… amongst others.
This is a strange thing to admit to, and I’ve spent my entire life hiding things like this. Presenting my distress as something else, or generating it subconsciously into other things, always engaging with depression, fear, heated arguments or meltdowns… all because something small like this was distressing the hell out of me. That is why I have been trying to break that barrier down, and discuss or write a blog about things that distress me, no matter how strange or small, because in this case, the truth really does set me free… All it does otherwise is cause horrible or traumatic chaos.
It’s better just to admit to the weird truth and be done with it – even having people ridicule you, or be very confused, is better than the alternative. Either way, the truth is the truth, and you should always accept and own it. Everything else is a fantasy that will just blow up in your face at some point. So now, I’m admitting it: Having to change to a new debit card is distressing and horrible. So there.
… Now, all I have to do is spend a really long time trying to get used to it.