I wake up in the morning and do not feel like myself.
My body aches in unfamiliar ways.
The joints in my hands crack,
my right thumb somehow feels unnerved.
The muscles in my back and neck haven’t
been the same since experiencing multiple panic attacks.
I look in the mirror and do not recognize myself.
My cheeks are puffy, resembling a chipmunk,
reminding me of when I had my jaw surgery.
My eyes are strange, for my top lids are pulled back,
giving me an unwanted stare I don’t realize I have.
The puffy pockets underneath my eyes indicate
swelling that somewhat subsides by the time I say goodnight.
I look out onto the day and everything has changed.
My vision has been on the decline
for the last two months and has suddenly
taken a nose dive into the great unknown.
I can’t see much beyond twelve feet,
it’s like looking into a fish bowl,
everything is fuzzy or blurry or double.
I see double if I look up and tilt my chin down.
My reality shifts into two, pulling apart from one
another like something is breaking from being
overstretched, people often look like their souls
are leaping out of their bodies like fading ghosts.
This has been occurring since October, it seems like
a lifetime ago and yet it’s still jarring every time
I watch something transform into perspectives
no one else can see. People often have four
eyes, which is always the most alarming.
I haven’t felt like myself in a long while.
This temporary normal that’s constantly shifting
will never feel normal. I woke one morning
and everything had changed without a warning.
I’m still process everything that has happened,
it’s overwhelming and terrifying to have no
control over what is going on with your own body.
I just want to see again. More than anything,
I want to have my vision back.
I want to be able to see things far away
without fuzziness or double preventing me
from appreciating the beauty around me.
I want to walk around without feeling
my depth perception being off.
I want to be less sensitive to bright lights.
I want to look up with my eyes
instead of craning my poor neck.
I want to not feel my eyes focusing.
I want to no longer feel eye strain.
I want to no longer feel like my eyes are buzzing.
I didn’t realize how much I took my eyes
for granted until things unexpectedly shifted.
Though my viewpoint tends to focus on
the negative since they’re more overwhelming,
there are a few shining spots in all this chaos.
My eyes are not budging out of their sockets.
Though my eyes are sitting in different places,
it can go unnoticed if you don’t know it.
They may look a little different and certainly I can tell,
it’s not my biggest problem by any means.
I have a prism on one of my lens that corrects
the double vision when I look forward.
I don’t know what I would do without it.
The support I have from my family is unconditional,
they continue to help me through this process
as we figure out the best avenue to take
to relieve the discomfort so I can move forward.
The mind is at war with itself.
Tugging back and forth
between what is rational
and what is emotional.
Foreign emotions ride the wave
of overwhelming intensity,
crashing into reasoning
before the mind can
comprehend what is happening.
Thoughts are left swirling
in madness as the heart shutters
like it’s surrounded by blowing snow
in the middle of a blackout blizzard.
The rational part tries to gain control,
but is met with the feeling
of not breathing while swimming.
Eventually, rationality takes the reigns,
stopping the pain.
Unexpected events can often spark
the flight or fight response.
Overwhelming thoughts that present
the worst to the extreme
come barging into your head when the universe
takes you down a road without
giving you a heads up before the decision is made.
In those moments, the only thing
you can control is how you react to those shifts.
I've always been someone who either
ignores the shift to process it later or panic
with uncontrollable emotions.
I'm trying to change this by beginning
to embrace meditation,
taking time to settle my thoughts
and focus on the now
instead of taking a negative thought
and running with it into the fire.
The ways in which you conduct yourself
when unplanned things occur
says a lot about how you control nerves.
Finding ways to calm
your emotions before they become heightened
is important for your mental health.
I’ve been sick six times this year. For me, that’s a lot. Normally, I get sick once a year. Sneezing for a week or two, maybe lose my voice, and feel crappy. But it doesn’t last. I get my annual cold out of the way with and carry on with my life.
This year, I’ve continued to get sick. Maybe it’s because I was diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid disease at the beginning of the year. Maybe it’s because I was diagnosed with a second autoimmune thyroid disease in the fall. Maybe it’s because my immune system has taken a hit with all of the health stuff I’ve dealt with this year. Or maybe I just have terrible luck.
I get congested. I sneeze. I cough. I get too hot, then too cold, then too hot again. I feel like I have a fever when I don’t. I have a sore throat. I lose my voice. I can’t hear anything clearly. I eat cough drops like their candy.
Each day, the cold morphs into something new, impacting a different part of my body. Though I’m very thankful to have just had a common cold (six times), it takes a toll on me. I’m paranoid to be around other people, not wanting to spread my germs to innocent people standing near me. I complain too much about feeling terrible that I feel like people will think I’m either lying or exaggerating.
Last week, I graduated from college. All I could think about was how miserable I was feeling. We had to stand for an hour and a half before the ceremony and all the noise around me created a buzzing sound in my clogged ears. Halfway through the ceremony, I discovered water under my seat which helped me deal with my very dry mouth. It was hot and the sweater I was wearing wasn’t helping. When someone asked me how I was feeling the morning before the ceremony, all I could say was, “I have a cold.”
It’s not fun being sick, especially for very important moments in your life. Being sick once or twice is not uncommon. Getting the common cold six times in a single calendar year isn’t a walk in the park. It’s important to take care of yourself and that’s what I’m doing now. Wash your hands, drink water, and warn people how you’re feeling before you hug them. It’s the polite thing to do.
Yesterday, it was reported Demi Lovato was rushed to the hospital because of an overdose. Some were reporting it was a heroin overdose. No matter what it was, hearing this news broke my heart. I’ve been a fan of Demi’s for over a decade and her music has really helped in times where I didn’t have strength. Through her songs, I found a place where I could be vulnerable and acknowledge some of my problems I was facing at the time. She gave strength when I needed it. She was a friend when it felt like I didn’t have anyone else. Demi really helped me through some difficult times.
Last month, Demi released a song called Sober. The chorus and the last few lines left me in tears.
Momma, I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore
And daddy, please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor
To the ones who never left me
We’ve been down this road before
I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore
I’m sorry that I’m here again
I promise I’ll get help
It wasn’t my intention
I’m sorry to myself
I remember where I was when I first heard this song. I was driving south, the Rocky Mountains to my right. It was a hot summer day in June and the blue sky was almost a teal color with tiny clouds scattered above me. It was a moment where I didn’t feel as though I was focused on what was ahead. I was too busy playing the song on repeat, trying to remember the moment, thinking I would one day write about it. I don’t know why I thought this. And I never thought I’d be sharing this story now.
No one knows what someone else is going through. No one knows just how deep people’s demons can drag them. No one knows what’s going on internally. It’s scary to work through your problems. It’s difficult to ask for help. Sometimes it takes going to the bottom, where you think no one can see you in order to want to begin working your way back to the light. Inner demons can do a lot of harm. Reach out to the people you love and make sure they’re okay. If you see someone struggling, ask if they’re okay or go and find someone that can help. Look out for one another.
Demi’s family released a statement saying how thankful they are for all the love and support Demi has been getting. Life is a long road that can end sooner than you think. Fortunately, Demi is still alive. My heart goes out to her and anyone who is struggling with addiction.
You’re not alone.
Self Harm: 1-800-366-8288
Eating Disorders: 1-800-931-2237
Domestic Violence: 1-800-799-SAFE