On Healing

It has been almost a year since I’ve written here. For almost half of that year I have found reading or writing anything at all difficult. I’ll sit down to do it and find that the words escape me or jumble around the page. Where have I been? I’m not quite sure.

In October I tested positive for autoimmune disease and it took several months to determine that it was Rheumatoid Arthritis. I’m often in quite a bit of pain, but the pain is much more tolerable than the bouts of debilitating fatigue. It sometimes feels like I am walking through life in a sort of prickly mist. Watching the world continue around me can be overwhelming.

Time has taken on a whole new meaning. It was once something I could take for granted but now it is everything. In a flare-up it moves so unbelievably slow. I am stuck and can’t move. I prop myself up in bed or on the couch and turn on something mind numbing. I’m not a productive invalid — words don’t come. I listen to the noises around me; the television, the humming of air conditioning, my intestines churning, the sound of my own beating heart. I want to turn towards something, but it seems impossible. In an attempt to find flow I often choose numbness and I must admit it is a poor substitute.  Time speeds up when I’m not in an active flare. I try to cram everything in hoping that hyper productivity will make up for periods of complete inactivity, but that has also proven to be a largely ineffective strategy. So, here I am trying to figure out a new pace.

I spent a few months in a pretty deep depression, perhaps one of the worst in my life. I’ve always been prone to melancholy, but this was different. I’m starting to come out of it, but it has certainly left its mark on my body. It is sort of like being hit in the head. The initial blow isn’t painful, but the stinging and buzzing last for quite awhile and it is extremely disorienting. I think it is still too soon to go into detail about that experience. I do hope to share it one day, it seems important. At least I’ve come to a point in my life where frankness no longer scares me.

I’m more hopeful now though that I can come to a place of healing even if my RA never goes into remission. Some of that healing work has been dropping a lot of baggage and disappointing people I care about. It means being honest, vulnerable and self-serving at times. It means seeking pleasure over duty sometimes. It also means I have to accept a body that often feels broken and uncooperative. That part is really hard.  I think I’m ready to start talking about it more. Stay tuned (if you wish).

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