All right. I am... mostly alive again. I had to clean for a Realtor who didn't show up on Monday, went back to bed at about six in the evening, and spent most of the subsequent 36 hours asleep.

It kicked off with oblivious injustice at a volunteer position, over which I was furious. That was a bit of a surprise. Being that angry requires a lot of energy, and even being in a state where I can look at things reasonably objectively and realize I'm goddamn right requires a lot of background resources. It's been a long time since I've been capable of doing that. I credit the L-DOPA supplements, which seem to be fixing a lot of stuff in general.

By the time I was halfway through the sequence, though, a random comment from an internet stranger immediately knocked me into a terrible shame spiral, where I was ready to believe that everything I thought about how other people probably saw me was wrong. It's one thing if people think I'm weird. I really don't care anymore. Being told that my weirdness bothers people is another matter. Sometimes I still feel like my life is an endless series of desperate attempts to not piss other people off. It brought on that horrible moment where the awfulness smacked me on the scruff of the neck and trickled into every limb: Shame for having forgotten that I'm always wrong, fear of the punishment that was about to ensue, and resignation to the idea that I deserved every minute of it all, because I was fundamentally incorrect. Not about any one thing, just as a being.

There was a time in my life where every day was just one long rolling cycle of those horrible moments, one right after another. I still remember it vividly. Perhaps now you all see why I have such sympathy for queer/genderqueer/trans kids: I am intimately familiar with the feeling that some inherent aspect of my psyche is unacceptable and inappropriate. If I ever want anyone to even pretend to be my social support, I can never let anyone find out. But it's so basic to my operation that it's impossible to conceal forever. The fact that it's my curiosity about other people and my generally caterwampus thought patterns instead of my sexuality or gender makes surprisingly little difference.

It's probably also relevant that that's about the point in the sequence where I started noticing that all the little things the L-DOPA supplements had been fixing were becoming un-fixed. My feet were back to being frigging freezing all the time, even though it's not actually been all that cold out. It took forever to get to sleep, because icy feet and because I kept twitching myself awake, and forever to drag myself out of bed again, caffeine be damned. So I think there is some actual physiological thing that gets depleted or otherwise goes wrong that causes this kind of breakdown, and if I haven't found a way to fix it by now, I'm not going to.

(It's also got something to do with me not eating properly. My appetite goes down to zero, and for the last few days I've either been balled up in bed with a migraine or at a conference that is so socially-conscious that the only practical way to accommodate all the people who have physical or ideological dietary requirements was to make all the catering vegan. I don't mind vegan food -- if you want to eat vegan and happen to be in Cambridge, Clover is excellent -- but I'm omnivorous for a reason. I put cheese and butter in everything because when you don't eat much, you need things to be calorie-dense and full of protein. Normally, I'd have fixed this by just cramming a cheeseburger into my face on the way home, but by that point I was so exhausted and people-averse all I could do was go back to my apartment and go the fuck to bed.)

It also makes me hurt. Basically everywhere. I don't know if this is a direct result of whatever goes awry or just because I'm stressed out and crunch myself up in a protective ball all the time. I wake up aching and it's impossible to stretch out. Exercise might help, except I'm already dragging myself through molasses, so that's not going to happen. The best compromise I've found is foam rolling, except foam rollers and tennis balls are too squishy to do any good, so I use lacrosse balls. The basic idea is to position the knot right over the widget, and then let your body weight do the work for you. You just lie there while the knot squalls, until it finally realizes that pain is not making you comply with its demands, and just sort of sullenly gives up and untwists.

I swear. A priest would swear. It hurts. The kind of hurt that hollows out your insides and leave your diaphragm plastered, quivering, against the underside of your esophagus. The kind that results from your having, personally and individually, pissed off a nerve. Sort of like what happens when you bang your funny bone, only without the second part where the numb-tinglies take over.

There's not much I can do about it. Theoretically, if opioids worked on me, I could take some before I tried it; they don't, so I take naproxen, but it doesn't really do much about that kind of pain in the same way it doesn't really do much about migraine or dental pain. It's more so I feel efficacious than anything else. I mainly just breathe and listen to podcasts or music and do my best to ignore it, or none of the muscle knots ever get un-knotted. The fix is temporary, and if I don't get out of whatever's making me stop working right, they just recur over and over again, and hurt exactly as much every time I attack them.

This has been an excellent illustration of why I cannot handle 9-5 jobs, or any position that consists of wall-to-wall contact with people. I have just now regained enough range of movement to crack my back, and enough functionality to do things like basic exercise. That's pretty much what's always happened to me in the past when I've tried to take an early class, only since skipping classes only screwed me over, I could justify sleeping through them on the grounds that I wasn't hurting anyone else. I can't necessarily do that with a job. This is why I end up in the ER.

(I am aware that there is probably a diagnosis that covers why stress equals pain, but given all the symptoms I don't have, it's not going to be a lab-testable one like lupus or multiple sclerosis. I don't want any of the others on my paperwork. They'd all be diagnoses of exclusion, and the more of those you have in your file, the more doctors treat you like a whiny pain in the ass, and the more their hackles go up when you tell them what medications actually work. rather than let them run through the gamut of standard treatments. Since many of the standard treatments make my life much worse, I would rather just list them as "allergies" or "contraindicated" medications, and skip straight to the part where they either do what I tell them or drop me as a patient. Saves all of us time.)


  1. Hugs. Sounds terrible. I hope you feel more like yourself soon.


Post a Comment