Cats just get it.
There is a little less than a month before my surgery. How I feel about it changes minute to minute.
I find my mind racing, thinking of all of the things I need to get done in the next month. At times it seems as if I am climbing a hill made of sand.
Matt and I were talking a few nights ago and was listing the things I needed to get done. He asked me what he could do to help. He wanted to take something off my plate. My flags went up. Did he actually expect me to relinquish some control over this process? I laughed at first and quickly realized he was serious. He wanted to make this next month just a little easier for me.
My stomach turned and he asked if he could take over the scheduling of who will be where, and when. I tried to laugh it off again, but he stayed serious. He asked if I trusted him enough to take this over. He asked if I could let go of this one thing and let him help me. I wanted to ask him questions about how he was going to go about handling this task. I wanted to ask him if he knew what I wanted to happen. I kept awkwardly giggling, feeling my face going flush, wishing upon all wishes this conversation would just be over.
You must understand how much I love and trust him. I truly, truly do. In fact, I trust him more than anyone else in my life. When I am dizzy there is no one else in the world I want around me but him. But what you also must understand that my MD has stripped away the control I have over my own body. The only things I can control are what exists outside of my body. So giving up this one little thing made me feel as if my world was going to tip off it’s axis.
I agreed to relinquish control over the scheduling. We shook hands and I promised to trust him fully. I know he is capable of doing this. I know he will do it exactly (if not better) than how I would have.
I am pretty fricken lucky to have someone in my life who is willing to put up with me and be that willing to take something off of my plate when he has a plateful of his own crap.
I’m not sure if I have always been an angry person or not. I am not sure if I have always been so cynical. I know that my disease has skewed the way I look at the world. As a child I wasn’t shielded from the real world. I remember watching the Columbine tragedy unfold on my television set, I remember watching the aftermath of 9/11 unfold before my eyes both in school and at home, and I experienced several deaths in my family as a kid. I saw my friends struggle with poverty and parents who were alcoholics. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blessed childhood. My parents were attentive, loving, caring, nurturing, and being the only child I got all the attention a kid could ask for.
I certainly am old and mature enough to not blame my anger on my childhood, my parents, my friends, or anyone else. I know that I make the choice to be angry and cynical. I could make different choices. There are days I do make these choices. I tell myself ‘I will be happy today’ and some days it works and others it doesn’t.
Matt and I were talking recently about my anger. He gets it. More than others do because he lives with it. He acknowledged that it is how I cope. I admitted for the first time to anyone other than my old therapist that anger is what keeps me getting up in the morning. I run on it. I have to preface this by saying I thoroughly understand that this is not the best way to cope with stress! Or live! I also acknowledge (and have here before) that by not fighting against my Meniere’s Disease is NOT giving up. However…
I run on anger. When I am not angry, I am not on guard. I am vulnerable. Someone in a chronic position can not be vulnerable. I am always ready. I am always taunting my monster. “Come and get me – cause I am ready.” I am always ready to stomp my feet and raise my sword. I am conditioned to do this. I have chosen to take this approach. My rationale mind knows this is not the appropriate way to deal with stress. Some days I consciously accept this, others I deny it away.
When I am most fragile, when I fall, I still ask for death. I can’t stop it. Because that is the key here folks. Anger is just fear. That is why I love Matt so damn much. Because he gets that. He doesn’t look at me and think, “she is such an angry person”. He looks at me and can see straight through the anger and see the fear. I don’t know what kind of feeling that evokes in him. On most days it’s probably pity. When I am particularly bitchy, short-tempered, and snappy.
Some of the people in my life don’t like to read my blog because they think it is negative or dark. On the surface I get that. But I think if they took time to really read my words, they would see that this blog is not about negativity, it is a little girl who scared shitless of what each and every day may bring….
Having a chronic illness inevitably changes a person. You can’t run or hide from it. It will change you. It will change how you do things, how to plan, how you play, how to look at the rest of the world. Maybe this isn’t the most difficult part.
The most difficult part may be that while you are changing, morphing into a ‘chronic’ – those around you are not changing. I mean, they may try to change, or make small concessions because they feel obliged. They both love and fear you. They struggle to readjust their expectations of who they believe you should be. Immediate family often struggles with this the hardest. They are befuddled. Suddenly you stop being the person you were and who they thought you should be, into someone who lives like a chronic. My disease does me the favor of removing control over my own body. So I can’t jump out of bed in the morning, most days I can’t jump. I have to be conscious. I dream of being spontaneous. Spontaneity and my Meniere’s Disease does not mix.
I can longer be independent. Growing up, I had a lot of strong-willed, independent women to look up to. I wanted to have the muscles and strong-will like my grandmother, I wanted to have the backbone of my mother. I hoped to not need a man or woman to support me. I wanted to be able to lean on only myself.
So it’s time I face the inevitable myself. It’s time I adjust my own expectations of myself. Being selfish is a negative attribute, but when you are a chronic you have to be selfish. You have to learn to say no without explaining yourself. It’s so much easier to say than to practice.