Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Troubled Sleep

I'm having trouble sleeping tonight. There is a sharp pain in my right knee that's radiating up my leg into my thigh. I wore some new shoes today, those minimal sneakers. (Not the toe shoes! I'll try not to judge you if you wear them.) I walked a lot and carried some heavy things up and down many stairs. I also have pain in my shoulders, though it's the kind that only hurts if I'm using those muscles. This leg pain is there no matter which position I choose.  I just took two Tylenol. We'll see what happens.

This pain is familiar. It's been with me intermittently for most of my life. I remember lying in bed and trying to sleep as a small child, but the pain radiating up my leg wouldn't let me. The doctor said it was growing pains. I stopped growing almost 20 years ago.

For breakfast this morning, I had a boiled egg and tortilla with coffee. It wasn't too bad. I only had to go twice before I left. I want to give up the coffee but it's really all I have left. Is it so bad that I have one cup of coffee every morning? I skipped lunch because I didn't want to push my luck. For dinner, I finally cooked the dried black beans I've had in the cupboard for over a year. I think I was testing the waters. I had a small bowl and two ribs that I cooked in with the beans along with some homemade, baked corn tortilla chips. Aside from my normal post-meal bloat, it went pretty well! I guess the Humira is working. 

I handed in my final requirements today and received my diploma in return. I officially have a master's degree. I'm a photographer. Officially. 

Last night I had crazy, unsettling dreams. Nothing terrifying, just filled with stress and anxiety. I might be trying to avoid a repeat.

The family that lives above us is running their air conditioner even though there is a nice, cool breeze blowing in over the water. The condensation is steadily dripping onto our air conditioner below with a loud thwack, thwack, thwack. I'm never going to sleep.

Monday, July 22, 2013


It's late. I'm tired but still awake.

When I'm here, I can fill my day with everyone else's problems. They seem more real anyway. From here my problems seem self-imposed and frivolous.

I spent my day doing things for other people. I'm physically exhausted but my mind is full of thoughts. It feels like I'm out of time, like I have to grow up now. Time to move forward and start taking action. No more excuses. I've made it to 32 but have nothing to show for it.

I haven't done any work in a week. My glasses were smashed tonight and this allergy medicine keeps wearing off every four hours. Wednesday marks one month until my health insurance runs out. I have so many people to thank and so much work to do. I have to get up in four hours and take care of a child and my parents.

One day soon, I'm going to wake up to find that I am 80 years old.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stream of Consciousness

I spend every day obsessing over what I'm eating or drinking and when.  I have to find a balance between a headache and a stomachache.  Eat something in the morning, but not enough that I get sick at school or on the way there.  Then eat a little between classes and drink some water, but not enough to upset my stomach.  I'm dehydrated.  My head hurts.  I'm whining again.  Too much.

When I come home late at night, I binge.  I'm so hungry.  I know I will be in the bathroom several times, as long as I'm awake.  I can't eat vegetables or the pain will be horrible, so I eat starchy, salty things.  Crap void of nutrition which will only make me feel worse in the long run.  But at least the hunger is gone now.

A handful of vitamins and a bunch of water, which I choke down because I know there is nausea to follow.  I work late into the night because I know I will have to pay in the morning.

I sleep.  I wake up.  I go to the bathroom.  I go again.  Time to start obsessing.  I have to if I want to keep this up.  I think I'm doing a good job hiding it.  I'm always either hungry or in pain or tired because constantly fighting hunger or pain is just so damn exhausting.  It takes me longer to learn things because  my focus on my work is always secondary to what my body won't let me ignore.  I can't stop obsessing because, if I do, I will likely shit myself in public, which would be the worst outcome.  I've worked so hard to avoid it.  So far, my only victory.  Well, that and I haven't missed a single class or extra activity the school has scheduled for us.  That's something, right?  

I don't talk about it much, at least I don't think I do.  The person who matters most to me thinks I'm whiny and dramatic, possibly a hypochondriac.  I don't want anyone at school to know, I need to work in a couple of months and I don't want to be the sick person no one wants to hire.  I was quiet for a while, then I decided to feed off my illness because it feels like all I have right now, make it part of my work.  I immediately regretted making it a part of the conversation.

My mind is weak with anxiety.  I'm constantly anxious, cripplingly anxious.  I second guess every decision I make.  I'm not the same person at all as my well self.  I'm a total mess.  I have no confidence, I hate the way I look.  I scrutinize everything I say and do.  I'm so nervous about leaving the apartment that I do crazy, crazy things before I leave.  I make sure I've turned off the stove, even if I haven't used it since the night before.  Is the fridge closed?  The window locked?

I try so hard not to talk about it to my husband because I know it's boring and it gets old.  When I have to explain that I don't want a salad for dinner because it will make me too sick, I scream it at him.  Angry because he made me whine about it, prove I am a whiny person.  Then I hate myself for being weak, sick, angry, for taking it out on him.  I want to have a salad for dinner because my body craves the raw vegetables.  That's all I eat when I'm healthy.  That's all I want right now.  But, in the end, it would be a bad decision.

When I do speak about my illness, there is no shortage of advice.  "Eat rice, it will bind you up.  Take Vitamin D.  Get some rest.  You just need some exercise."  I can't explain to someone that my immune system is tearing up my digestive system.  That I don't have a bout of diarrhea, I have inflammation and ulcers in my intestines that will not allow my body to properly digest food.  Toast and bananas are not going to be easier on my stomach.  If I take a day off, I will not be able to catch up on my school work.  You can't believe I have that much school work?  Well I don't know what to tell you.  There's no way food can enter and exit my body in less than two hours?  If you say so.  They can't understand.  I wouldn't either if I didn't live this every day.    

I'm angry with myself because I haven't done enough work, my apartment is filthy, I fell because I haven't replaced the boots that have no tread left, I'm taking the wrong supplements because I haven't shopped for the right ones yet, I'm out of shape, I'm not making any money, I haven't spoken to my family enough this week, there is no food in the fridge, I'm not drinking enough water or eating the right things.  I don't even know where to start this to-do list with another, overwhelming to-do list of assignments/preparing to start a business is already on the page.  A few hours of shopping could wipe me out for the day and I won't have the energy left to finish what I need to do.  I don't look sick, I can't possibly be that weak... 

I've kept all of this up, every day, for months.   

I could just get back on Humira, but I'm getting older.  My window for having children is closing and I would rather not risk the medication.  In a few more months, I will be finished with school and, that's it, I will have no more excuses.  But how can I do this AND raise children?  I'm afraid that I can't.  I'm afraid that I will let myself, my husband and, worst of all, my children down.   

I'm so afraid of everything right now.