So I’ve been thinking about how to write this blog post for about a week, since this whole saga began. It’s tough to know where to start and it’s something that a lot of people don’t talk about, but here we are and here I am deciding once again that, well, life lived as an open book can be a good thing.
Last Wednesday (March 8) on International Women’s Day, I decided to go for a well women visit at Planned Parenthood. I felt good about it. It felt like fighting by doing something I needed to do anyway, which made me even happier. Adulting and resisting at the same time? GO ME! Started off as one would expect, people with nothing better to do than to shame women (and men, incidentally) coming in to use accessible, affordable healthcare. That was kind of annoying, but I just rolled my eyes and moved on. I was met with very kind, able staff who listened and a doctor who listened to me for the first time and said she wanted to do both a test for a thyroid disorder and PCOS. Which would require blood work. No big deal, and I was actually excited because for once someone wasn’t just saying “well just try harder and we’re sure you could lose weight quickly and easily and all of these other things that are totally symptomatic of these disorders will disappear!” She listened. And then the nurse managed to get my vein without bruising, without hurting, without sticking and re-sticking like so many others or rolling veins, it was magical. And then it all went wrong. In the space of less than a minute, I went from perfectly fine to passing out and seizing. When I came to I had no idea where I was. It took a while to reorient, but I felt okay and went home.
So that brings us to now. I’m not allowed to bike by myself. I can’t drive. The latter is less concerning, but the former absolutely feels soul-crushing almost. I just got to the point where being on my bike feels like freedom and joy. Wind in my helmet and sun on my face like where I want to be. And I can only do that with other people. So for the past week I’ve had to ride the bus everywhere. I’ve been feeling fairly up, but this has brought me to a place where I’m fighting feeling low to an extent that I recognize is dangerous as someone with depression. And seeing that happening means I’m also holding the anxiety at bay. And not having an outlet for energy as I have been means my ADHD has been absolutely intolerable in a way I have never experienced. Living in my own mind and body for this last week has been an absolute trial of epic proportions. But I’ve reached the light at the end of the first tunnel, because today I got in to see a doctor. And she also listened. Not about the same things as the other doc (unfortunate, but we’ll take what we can get, and hopefully the blood work from before will provide justification for other things).
So as of today, I’m starting back on a course of meds for different things. That’s why I say the first tunnel, because if you’ve ever been on any kind of meds for any kind of mental illness, you know it can be messy. And seizure meds are messy, and I’m back on anti-migraine and ADHD meds now, too. So it’s a lot. I’m worried, but also relieved. We have somewhere to start. And at the same time, going in, finding out how much these meds were going to cost after insurance, and realizing how much it would be without insurance made me realize how vastly privileged I am. That right there is going to be a whole other blog post (one I almost started here, until I realized how very long this was going to get).
But here’s what I want you to take away, dear reader person. Health is messy. Mental health is messy. It’s okay to feel down about the answers you’re given and to be worried. And there is no reason not to be open. Screw the stigma. I’m saying screw the stigma because there are millions and billions of people suffering in silence and dying because we don’t talk about it. I am Mentally Ill. Shout it from the damn hilltops. God made me this way. I said it. It’s a fucking struggle and some days I wonder if it’s worth it. And other days I feel like a super hero. Today I feel like I’m starting a long slog towards something and I’m pissed off that I came somewhere because I wanted to push myself to ride a fucking bike to commute and I can’t ride my bike alone. I realize that I have craved that time on my bike. Not wanted or needed. Craved. I’m angry because I don’t know why this thing happened or what God wants me to learn from this, or if he does want me to learn from this. And that’s okay. And I’m struggling with sitting in that okay-ness. So here we sit.
I also hope you know that God created you in all your grandness and flaws and that you should shout those flaws from the hilltops because it might save someone. Some days, I honestly think the reason I am candid about mental illness is because shouting my flaws saves me from myself and that is pretty cool too. I’m not sure though.
P.S. This is the last blog post you will get from me before going on the meds for my ADHD, I have intentionally left it as stream of consciousness as I can. Most of my blogs have been. I’m curious to see the difference. Maybe there won’t be a difference. We’ll find out I guess.