Totally smiling through the pain, although I have a lot to be smiling about right now. Just had my hair cut so my chest is killing me from sitting unsupported and chatting for a long time. It was nice to see my hairdresser Carly though as she’s so sweet and I really needed my hair thinned out a bit at the bottom because it was a frizz bomb in this heat.
Joshua Graham (via lyrexz)
Surround yourself with people who know your worth. You do not need too many people to make you happy, just a few real ones who appreciate you for exactly who you are.
Unknown (via onlinecounsellingcollege)
Almost every successful person begins with two beliefs: the future can be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so.
David Brooks (via onlinecounsellingcollege)
i’ve been battling with celiac/IBS, my weight, insomnia, exhaustion, constant indigestion, 3 jobs, and trying to find time and energy for my own personal work, my fiance, and my friends.
it’s hard to feel beautiful when your stomach is so bloated you can’t even touch it. it’s hard to feel strong when your joints are inflamed, and your muscles are sore, and you’re anemic from lack of vitamin absorption. it’s hardest when you look totally fine. no one notices your slow switch from muscle mass to body fat, they see your weight loss as a positive, and so your slow slide into depression goes unnoticed, even by you. i’ve been too tired for sex. i always promised myself that wouldn’t happen, but it has.
i know i’ll get better. i know this will pass. it always does. and it always comes back, so i need to be ready.
i’m trying so hard not to be hard on myself.
someone does not have to look sick, to be the sickest they’ve ever been.
someone does not have to look sick, to be the sickest they’ve ever been.
I have been thinking a lot lately, which is not exactly unusual for me. I was reflecting on the past few weeks and what I have been through and I kept thinking about Mad Men and this scene in particular. Some of you might find this kind of reflection navel gazing or odd, but its part of my therapeutic process and I feel like I want to share it on my blog because I am too quick to hide my weakness and project my strength. This is an honest diary of my life as a chronic illness warrior and I want others to feel encouraged that we all have our rock bottoms, but we can rise out of them and that it’s an ongoing process.
Anyway! Don Draper is not really a character I identify with in many ways. He’s a powerful man, a functioning (sort of) alcoholic, a womanizer, and wealthy. He is a person on the surface with very little I understand. However his real self, Dick Whitman, is someone I do feel a connection with. He is vulnerable, afraid of being hurt, afraid of himself, hiding from his demons. He looks in the mirror and see’s something unlovable staring back.
I think as a Spoonie I have felt unlovable. Maybe others have felt the same? We can’t do the things others can and to be rejected for it feels too painful to think about. I think we fear being hurt, we feel alone and vulnerable, maybe more so than others as we can be taken advantage of quite easily if we aren’t careful.
Anyway, I love Mad Men for its subtle and not so subtle symbolisms and music choices. In this episode Don is beginning to realise his marriage is no longer working, and his alcoholism has cost him everything, his relationship with his kids, his job, his entire world. This scene particularly captures it.
He looks at the bottle of booze and sets it down.He doesn’t really want to keep doing this but what else can he do? He gets up and see’s the balcony door is open. He tries to close it but he can’t. It’s open and there is nothing he can do to shut it. Instead of walking away from the door he steps through it and sits in the cold night air and we get the sense he is at rock bottom. Where does he go from here?
In the last series of Mad Men he hit self destruct in the Hershey’s pitch and said some things about his past that he couldn’t take back. He got suspended and at the beginning of season seven we see he can no longer run from it. People got a glimpse of Dick Whitman. The door representsthis. Don wants to close it, he wants to ignore it, but he can’t anymore. So instead of running from his demons he steps through the door and acknowledges them, but he seems to have no idea where to go from there.
The song choice is a Vanilla Fudge cover of The Supremes “You keep me hanging on.” They lyrics feel particularly significant to my situation too.
In Don’s case he wants to be set free from his demons and this double life. Maybe he really wishes Dick was gone and he could just be Don. Maybe he wishes he had never taken up the Draper mantle. Maybe he just wants his entire past erased and a new slate.
I identify with this scene because I opened the door to the break up. I was the one who pulled the pin out of note my ex partner was keeping to one side. That was my Hersheys pitch. Then I wanted to close the door, but it wouldn’t shut. I had started something I didn’t particularly want to finish, but I had no choice. So now I am through the door and I had my balcony moment during my health scare.
I thought I had whizzed through the 5 stages of grief. I thought I had miraculously skipped ahead in my recovery. Of course this was denial. I was in shock and I ignored the pain very well. Being a spoonie had me well prepared in that department!
I did anger. I was so angry at my ex during the first week. I don’t think I have ever cussed out someone so harshly in the privacy of my room. I said awful things I didn’t mean aloud just because I needed to get the anger out.
Bargaining was the step I thought I skipped. I thought I had too much pride for that. I always have in the past. I am a very dignified, flinty ex girlfriend in most cases. One who would never beg for scraps. Except that I would in this case stoop to that level. My balcony moment involved calling my ex when I was scared for my health and my mum was travelling, and then as I calmed down from the pain and fear I found myself trying to bargain my way back into his life.
It was an out of body experience for me. I said stupid things that I didn’t even mean or want in reality. I said I would consider IVF. I have no idea why I said that because the truth is I don’t want to be pregnant. I don’t want to risk my physical and mental health or my safety, especially not for my ex. Babies are just off the table for me.
Anyway, after saying I would have a healthy baby anyway just to prove I could and some other fucking crazy shit we ended the call and that was the balcony moment. I was dumbstruck and saw the last remnants of the life I knew and envisioned crumble to dust yet again at my feet, only this time it was permanent. Where could I go from here? I cried and I told my mum and best friend what I did and they were like “You are going through something super tough right now, it’s a blip and it will be okay.”
And you know they were right. I got through my doctors stuff without him. I got over that night pretty quickly too. One minute at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time I get by and gain perspective and strength. Ultimately my loss of grace was cathartic and I think I needed to break, Since then I have been sad but also more genuinely peaceful. I’m not hiding from the pain anymore I’m accepting it and moving forward with it. I havent been able to do that in years. Things feel better (even with the sadness) and I am certain now more than ever that I will be okay and in time this won’t really be something I remember. To quote Don himself "It will shock you how much it never happened."