I haven’t been around much, and I’m sure I’ve been missing some of your posts. Unfortunately, it wasn’t because I found a new job, the man of my dreams or went on a trip. It’s because I’ve been dealing with a lot lately.
First, I caught the flu before Easter. Three days with temperature were enough to set me back completely. Although after a week on the outside I displayed no more symptoms, I suspect on the inside it took a lot longer for my immune system to deal with it because my fatigue levels skyrocketed. And that’s bad because my normal fatigue levels are usually pretty high. The last three weekends were spent just sleeping. Couldn’t read, couldn’t write, couldn’t do anything for college.
Then after Easter I had an eye infection. It resolved in three days, but still was another thing to set me back.
And then yesterday I was in a car accident. I’d never been in an accident before, so I was completely lost and in shock. I was on the freeway when three cars in front of me had an accident. I hit the brakes, thankfully had enough distance not to smash my car against them, but the guy behind me didn’t, so he hit me. Hard. I hit my head on the seat when the seat belt stopped me from hitting it on the wheel.
It could have been a lot worse. Apart from a bump on the head and a headache, I’m fine. Psychologically though I’m really shaken.
I’ve been feeling completely vulnerable lately. When I had the flu, one day I lost my balance and hurt my arm badly on the edge of a shelf. The outer layers of my skin came off and the bruise came in lots of shades of dark blue, purple and yellow. It made me uncomfortable because usually my MS symptoms are under control. Even if I have a slight loss of balance, most people won’t even notice, but this was a bit different.
And it made me so uncomfortable that I dreamed about it. In the dream, a friend of mine who is HIV positive and with whom I talk about this business of being chronically ill, needing expensive and dangerous medication and having an immune system – although for different reasons – that doesn’t work well, scolded me for losing my balance, like I was a child and did something bad on purpose. It made me feel horrible not only because I literally felt the rug swept from under my feet when I almost fell, but because I thought he of all people would understand and care, and he didn’t.
As I reflected on the dream days later, I realized I often feel like that at work. Working as a copy editor and proof reader, sometimes typos find their way into books. As you can imagine, I don’t do it on purpose. It happens, and it happens to everyone. It isn’t an easy job, reading for eight hours every day. It requires intense concentration and it makes your eyes and mind really tired. But most people can’t seem to be able to figure that, and they don’t realize we work with really tight deadlines, so they don’t give us a break. So I often feel misunderstood, and I feel no one has my back, no one stands up for me, and I’m completely defenseless.
This accident was like a confirmation of all this. When I felt the impact, it was like my body had no weight at all. It was as if my bones were as strong as a little bird’s. I managed to avoid the collision with the accident in front of me, but couldn’t do anything about the guy behind me. This is like a huge metaphor for life. You think you’re in control? Yes, you are… and no, you’re not. For the third time in the past five years I experienced how vulnerable and how frail by body – my life – is. First with the MS diagnosis, then with the endometriosis diagnosis, and now with this accident. Although none of these are life threatening (it could all have been so much worse), they reminded me that life as I know it can disappear pretty quickly.
I feel like I’m being tested. For the past three months I’ve been talking to you about how I need 2016 to be a good year and all I’ve been writing about are setbacks. I used to turn everything that happened to me against me even if it wasn’t my fault, but I’ve been learning to love myself more. Yesterday when I woke up, I felt so tired (those unusually high levels of fatigue) that I told myself, “Something’s gonna have to change. I deserve good things in my life. I deserve the best for me. I’m worthy.” It was such a powerful statement because I didn’t think it to convince myself but because I believe in it.
And then I ended up the day in an accident. If it isn’t a test, I don’t know what it is. Can 2016 still somehow make it to be a good year? A memorable year for good reasons? Because I’m starting to give in to depression. I feel really sore, body and soul. I know I’m not invincible, and I know I’m not immortal, but I wish I weren’t reminded of how fragile I am so many times.