If you’ve followed me for a few years, you know that the last few have been really hard on me. At the end of 2011, I made the tough decision to stop going to graduate school because I just couldn’t function well enough to go to school and work. I began to grow really bitter, sad, and angry with the world. There were multiple occasions where depression was really high just with that decision. And then in December of 2012, Laura passed away of complications relating to our disease – complications a good medical team should have seen coming and caught. Any sadness I had left turned into fear and a burning anger. That anger became directed especially at those who believe in going all natural and stopping (or not starting) treatment that is life saving. I did some really great and meaningful work as a result with different organizations, but that anger never really went away. More stressful life changes happened – some of them sucked and some of them were amazing. I’ve had a few breakthroughs in the last several months where I’ve been able to be the real me again, but they never lasted too terribly long. I always went right back to huge amounts of anger, anxiety, and overwhelming fear. There have been many nights where I’ve cried myself to sleep because I get stuck in a loop of what ifs and whens and thinking about what will happen in the future. In the last few weeks, it really hit me that I’ve become a super unhappy person.
A large part of that was explained within the last several months as I began to learn and remember more how I was raised and the things I went through or witnessed while growing up. Everything just really came to a head at once, even though it came on slowly.
On Monday of last week, I got some news that someone close to me was diagnosed with lupus. Her symptoms started about the time we connected, which made me think of Laura. I won’t go into specifics because that is something I hold sacred, but she gives me signs pretty regularly that she’s around in some way. In death, she connected me with some amazing friends who have continued to give me support in her absence. I’ve been wanting to see a medium for some time, but this experience was just too close to let pass by. Thursday afternoon, I went and saw a medium. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’m still not sure how much of what she told me I believe. She encouraged me to incorporate some more natural aspects into my care, which I’m taking steps to do. She also told me some things about my future that have really helped to put my mind at ease, some of it coming from Laura. That alone was worth the trip to see this medium. To have some of the issues I’ve faced validated by another woman who grew up in a very similar home situation was just icing on the cake.
I don’t know how much the steps the medium asked me to take will help me improve my health. Some of these are things that I’ve fought against for a long time, and others are things that I just don’t know will help at all. However, I’ve gotten back to the point I was at several years ago, where I’m willing to try, to make the effort. I’m ready to fight this with all I’ve got again, instead of being as passive and go with the flow as I’ve been lately in my care. There wasn’t a whole lot she shared with me that I hadn’t heard before in some way, but this time I was open to it and ready to hear it. This is a part of a major set of lifestyle changes for me. I’ve made some dietary changes and started making a lot of healthier changes in general. This, of course, on top of what I’ve already done this year to cut out toxic and abusive people from my life. I’m looking at changing rheumatologists as I’ve found one here in town who knows this disease and doesn’t understand why I’m on a TNF drug. She’s excited to work with me, and I’m excited to get a little more focused care. I’m eager to see what will happen as a result of all of these changes.
So, say hello to the new (old) me? I’m writing more, working on more projects, and eager to get started on making these changes. I hope you’ll join in on this new journey with me.
In 2012, during a really hard day for me, Laura said that that year was going to be my year as I was accomplishing a lot – writing here and there for a few different big name places, giving a speech for the Arthritis Foundation, getting engaged, etc. I honestly think she was a couple years too early. I couldn’t have written my life the way that it’s played out so far, and I’m ready to start the next chapter.