Over the years, I have surprised myself by being able to continue on past what I thought was my limit. It really is amazing. I don’t really know what the alternative is… I guess crawling into bed and never coming out again? Trust me, there are definitely days where that is all I want to do, but I have two lovely little kitties that require feeding and loving.
This neck/shoulder/back stuff, however, seems to be pushing it. I think I finally found a limit. A hard and fast limit.
I’ve been debating posting this because… well, because. This is going to be a very frank discussion on hitting limits and depression. I don’t like to discuss my depression, at least not the part of it that’s active. Depression tends to gain a lot of pity, and I hate pity. Depression is a part of who I am, it’s something I live with daily, it’s something that is always going to be a part of me. However, depression does not define me, and usually I have a pretty good grip on it. Usually.
Thursday night, I asked Dan to read the flyer I finally made up for reading tutoring (I have a lot of fear behind it – I don’t want to fail and I’m afraid my health will force me to). He was tired and in “go to bed” mode, and because of that he misread a part of it. Because he misread some of it, he asked me about it and I suddenly got overwhelmingly angry and freaked out. Seriously bizarre. It was kind of like a cornered animal type of reaction.
Ultimately, I ended up collapsing on the floor crying and screaming about how I didn’t want to be like this anymore. That I’m rather seriously freaked out about the fact that my brain is so foggy all the time I can’t tell if I’m making mistakes and that is why I get angry when he doesn’t comprehend something that makes sense to me and then doesn’t explain why he didn’t comprehend it. That this new pain is so intense I can’t even breathe properly half the time due to it and so I’ve been feeling rather exhausted and dizzy. I’m no longer the fun and spontaneous Lizz that he started dating December 2008. I can’t do the things that I love doing and desperately want to do: hiking, backpacking, camping, bike riding, going for long walks around the neighborhood (hell, going for short walks would be nice), rock climbing, etc. We have had to change a lot of who we both are to cope with my illnesses and I hate it. My fibro was fine, simple, annoying but okay. With just the fibro (and all the previous stuff I’d learned to live with just fine by that point), I just had a little less energy and a few bad days… but most of the time I could do what I wanted to do. POTS hit and suddenly I couldn’t walk across the house. I was finally getting all my stuff under control and *BAM* !!!! Suddenly, I can’t even flinch without excruciating pain. There is no way I could do anything I want to. The pain has started messing with my heart rate – when the pain intensifies my heart rate goes up. This pain is so intense, even just going through the motions is difficult. I had to have Dan help me get dressed this morning and brush my hair. I’m so exhausted by the end of the day I can barely even focus on the fact Dan is home, let alone anything he is saying. Dan asks me questions and I can’t process them properly half the time. This pain is so intense that I have become mean, snappy, aggressive, angry, and upset all the time. I have always had a rather volatile temper (aka short fuse), but now it takes a benign comment to set me off. I can’t think. I’m struggling with school only because the pain is so intense I can’t sit for very long. It’s impossible to do my math homework lying down (it’s on the computer, but even with my laptop I can’t do my scratch work lying down), and my psych textbook is so large it’s very difficult to read lying down.
I’m starting to develop rather intense fears of everyday activities. I’m afraid to eat because it can randomly cause rather severe cramping or nausea. I’m afraid to use the restroom because what I think might be a quick urination break can sporadically turn into an hour long intestinal spasm battle (and my feet and legs go numb and end up in severe pain). I’m afraid to lift my arms so that my hands will be above my shoulders because it can cause intense pain anywhere from the base of my skull to the bottom of my rib cage and anywhere along my arm. I’m afraid to stay seated or standing because after just a few hours I’ll have a debilitating headache. I’m afraid to move because sometimes my joints randomly pop in extremely painful ways. I’m afraid to lift anything heavier than a single piece of paper because it can cause shooting nerve pain through my arm. I’m afraid to walk around because I randomly lose my balance and hitting any body part on anything causes extreme pain for way longer than it should. I’m afraid to meet new people because I can’t even focus on the friends that I do have and love, and I can’t remember things about them – how am I suppose to carry a conversation without an attention span? I’m afraid to leave the house because I’m worried something will act up and I’ll be stuck somewhere that isn’t home scared and alone and in intense pain and that no one can come get me.
I’m turning into a shell of myself, an empty, terrified shell, and it’s horrible. I hate this person. This current Lizz is not who I am. I’ve never wanted to be like this, and it’s awful.
Dan has never seen me hit a limit this hard. At least not that I can remember. I literally was crying so hard I couldn’t breathe. I kept choking on phlegm and air. All I could say was “I don’t want to be like this anymore” over and over as I cried and rocked back and forth… for probably over 30 minutes. He sat there and rubbed my knee (the only place that is “safe” to touch right now) and handed me Kleenexes. I kept apologizing and he wouldn’t let me. I’m so lucky he understands. I think we’re both freaking out and worried about what the doc is going to say. I’m scared to death about why my spine would have all of these problems. I’ve never had any sort of traumatic injury to my spine or neck. I’ve never been in even a fender bender. The speed at which the pain is increasing now is exponential, and terrifying. What is wrong with me? When will I get the old Lizz back? Does the old Lizz even exist anymore? I know parts of her do, she sneaks out occasionally. I want to be able to do all the fun things. I don’t want to yell at Dan over stupid stuff. I just can’t handle this pain.
Dear Universe: I really can’t handle any more crap. Please, for once, can you have a little sympathy and stop adding things? I’d really love a break and I’d love to get back to who I am as a person. Thanks, Stranger Lizz
I just can’t handle this pain.