Trying to keep my head clear

There is meme that has been floating around social media that I believe expresses the feelings of depression incredibly well through the analogy of mashed potatoes. In essence, I am paraphrasing:

Imagine all of the food you love. The flavors, the texture, the experience of it all. Slowly all of those flavors begin to fade, and the texture begins to feel like mush. Every bite you take looks, feels and tastes like mashed potatoes. That favorite meal is suddenly a tasteless white mush sitting in front of you. People ask you why you aren’t eating it anymore, but they just don’t understand that it is mashed potatoes to you. They offer up some advice and recommend some spices, but those are tasteless too. It is all just mashed potatoes. Eventually, you don’t even remember what anything tastes like except those ever disappointing potatoes. So why bother eating those other things if they are only going to be potatoes anyway?

Lately I have been dealing with my own potato filled existence for a number of reasons, that really all boil down to my health at the core. I have been losing weight rapidly (I lost 3kg in two weeks, and have steadily been losing weight without trying). My abdomen has been in significantly worse pain for months, especially after eating. My doctor poked and prodded, finding that my large intestine is inflamed. I have a colonoscopy on Friday, and as much as I am glad that I will have answers soon, I am terrified to have more issues going on in my body. In the years since I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, I have not seen much improvement in my overall GI health, which is indicative of something else going on unfortunately. This means that although it is not that I am “getting something else” per se, there is something going on that does not as of yet have a lovely label of it’s own.

This constant pain after eating, among other unpleasant effects, has left me facing the unknown. Unfortunately the unknown is scary. It is especially scary when you have a family history of colon cancer and polyps rather than IBD. Thankfully, I am one of those people who have gone and had genetic testing done, so those results do allow for other possibilities. I do have genes associated with both major types of IBD, so I can at least weigh my genetic makeup against the family tree… It is scary to not know… and it turns everything into a looming and overwhelming heap of unending mashed potatoes…

Balancing point 

It has been an age old concept to find the balancing point in life. The balance between work, school, kids, family, friends and health effects everyone on a different level. I personally am more effected by health than any of the other factors in my life. I am happy to say that with my fibro I have managed to work part time successfully… But I am no where near finding my balance point. I am currently trying to find the upper limit to what I can and cannot handle before my body gets too fatigued and no longer heals properly. It is no easy task. It would likely be a much easier task if I was not going through some pretty stressful stuff. The thing is, I am not sure I am ever NOT going through stressful external factors. Life has a way of going in strange directions, and unfortunately they are not a factor I can control. 

I can however control what I can build up to in my day. After a very bad experience with medications really interacting negatively with my system almost two years ago, I was at square -10. Not square one. I was feeling everything my nervous system was sending without being used to it anymore. I was also getting very bad migraines, luckily, now that I am in a different city with a different climate they are much less common. It took 11 months to normalize to the fibro pain enough to be able to do all of my chores at home. Unfortunately, my migraines had prevented me from working. When we moved cities, I was able to start working part time and get a chunk of my chores done. As I have been trying to work more though, I am beginning to notice that I am sacrificing chores instead of being able to build up both together. It bothers me that it is seeming that my balance point is proving to be that I either work more or get chores done. 

I will have a trial run of working full time for the first two weeks of July, and I am praying that God gives me the grace to pull through the whole time with a smile. I have been having a bad flare for the last week, and I am hoping that the biggest factor causing it is reintegrating sugars into my diet. I had been feeling much better when I cut out carbs, fruit and sugar to deal with the insulin resistance. I will be going back to a strict diet tomorrow, as the last week is proof enough that my body is not ready for sugars.

I am disappointed that I cannot do more, but it does feel good that I am getting a more realistic picture of how to live with fibro. When I was younger, before the diagnosis, I would work inspite of my pain and fatigue because everyone said I was normal and healthy. It led to me passing out at night, taking much to long to heal from wounds, and living feeling as though I was a zombie. I look back at the last ten years that I have felt these symptoms and feel that although I never found a balance point, I will. I feel a mix of sorrow and hope. On the one hand I am hopeful to find a balancing point where I can reduce my flare ups but still be productive, on the other hand I am sorrowful that in a variety of ways I will have the need to learn to depend on others in a healthy way. Learning how to accept help is an important lesson, but it is a hard one. Autonomy feels very good, and since I have to come to terms with the fact that it is unreasonable to become autonomous at this point and for the current foreseeable future, it makes me mourn the life I wanted to live. 

Somehow the life I am meant to live with triumph and I will become more realistic with myself. For right now, I will start by accepting that I need to find the balancing point and begin to accept that I am not able to be autonomous.