I wish I had a better beginning for you.

I wish there was a cohesiveness to what is to follow, but there likely won’t be.

I fear it may be a bit broken. Garbled. And, possibly incoherent.

For nearly two weeks I have attempted to compile, to create, to commit to paper/screen, a post about Slipstream ’19. And I still have yet to do so. Because I still have yet to process my weekend at Camp.

I assumed coming back from a second Slipstream would be easier than the first. I had banked on a smooth, trouble-free re-entry and then lost all the bets.

Re-entry has been anything but smooth. Lots of bumps. And a possible crash.

More like a fucking free fall that resulted in a catastrophic implosion.

I came home from Camp and immediately faced life. I had no chance to pause and take stock of my last couple of days.

The Week in Days

Monday morning hit hard and fast with a telephone interview with a reporter from a national paper. Something that had been bandied about in previous months and then suddenly thrust upon me right before I went up north.

Holy fuck, it’s Monday? That means Friday is only four fucking sleeps away…

Tuesday I woke up (phew!) and was another year older. But there were no celebrations to be had (not that I wanted any, I don’t care for them), just general life to-do things, like grocery shopping and swimming lessons.

Happy Birthday to me. Who even fucking cares? I certainly don’t, and neither does the universe that keeps shitting on me…

Wednesday found the kiddo and I road-tripping with pals to a coffee shop opening. A fellow T1D, and pal of my pal, had followed her dream and we were right there to support.

Do I even belong in the T1D community? I mean, what do I even have to offer? Fucking nothing, that’s what…why do I even bother?

Thursday I slipped out for a quick manicure before my grown-up birthday dinner date with my husband.

My nails look nice. That’s a bonus, maybe they can just focus on those. Like, instead of my big fat ass. Gah, I hate having my picture taken…

Friday, well, Friday is what was fucking my show up all week long.

I know I signed up for this, I know I wanted this, but I didn’t want THIS. Having my picture taken below the neck is positively horrifying. And not just for me, I’m pretty sure that is a general rule. Like who the fuck would want to look at this mess? Not me. Barf.

A Life in Pictures

If you’ve stopped by here for even a moment you will know that I have some mental health struggles, like several anxiety disorders, PDD and body dysmorphia. You will know that I loathe having my picture taken, that I’ve inexplicably gained a noticeable amount of weight over the last year, that I have some dark days. Dark, dark days.

I do post selfies regularly. But not for attention. For a challenge.

It pushes me to accept my own flaws. It pushes me to try and find something I like about myself. It pushes me to share that with the “world” and not be ashamed to do so.

But it is still a struggle. I still scrutinize. Criticize. Despise. Everything that I see.

And I do this every single fucking day. Not just in pictures. In mirrors. In real fucking life.

So you can imagine what a mind fuck it was getting an email that said, “we’ll send the photographer out on Friday to take some pictures.” And I got that before I went away to Camp. And it chewed and gnawed away at my mind and soul all weekend long. And then all week long. Until Friday finally happened.

I had my husband snap a picture of the photographer (and with his permission) snapping a shot of me in our dining room (the bulk of the pictures taken were outside because the weather was finally decent after a week of rain). I had asked him to do this because I thought it a valuable moment to capture. Because I wanted to remind myself that I can step outside of my comfort zone. Once in a while.

That’s me, on the right, in my living room. Having my picture taken. There is a faint smile on my face but instead I am dying, I am literally holding my breath, desperate for the whole event to be over and done with. I barely recognize the body that my head is resting upon, where did it come from and how did it become so enlarged? But my hair looks nice, so I’ll take that win. Maybe. Maybe it didn’t look that nice…

But there is also a part of me that wanted it for a different, darker purpose. And this is where mental illness is a real prick. I wanted the picture because I knew it would upset me and make me unhappy. I wanted it so that I would feel bad about myself. So that I could blanket myself in all those wonderfully comforting negative emotions that drive home my truth: I am not good enough. I wanted that. And it worked.

Not only did all of my worries occupy my brain for over a week, but there is going to be carry over. More worries. More fears. More doubts and dark moments. Until the article and the pictures are published. And then forever after that…

A World Between the Pages

Sometimes I wonder just how much time I have thrown away with all of my worries and fears. Sometimes I wonder how many experiences and opportunities I have missed out on because of my worries and fears. Sometimes I wonder where I would be and what I would be doing if I didn’t have my worries and fears.

And then sometimes, most times, I just don’t fucking care.

The last 10 days have been a real struggle for me. And not just mentally.

My blood sugars went on the fritz due to all the extra worry and stress. I was forever chasing highs with correction doses and increased temp basal rates. And an appointment with my endo looming (it passed, it was Tuesday – not birthday Tuesday, two days ago Tuesday) certainly didn’t help things. Plus I think I’m PMS-ing (be nice to know if I was or not but my body has decided it does its own thing now in that department and no longer gives me reliable signs), so hormones. And crap.

Then there’s my shoulder. I’m pretty intolerant when it comes to pain. Not a whole lot shakes me. I’ve had injuries and surgeries (and birthed a child!) that would render a person down to the ground, wailing in pain. But I can just carry on.

I cannot explain it, it freaks my husband out and has been questioned by doctors and nurses, only to have them proven wrong. Like the time I was certain I was in labour, and the nurse patronizingly said, “oh honey, if you were you would be writhing in pain.” Then she looked at the cardiotocograph print out and said, “holy shit, you really are and you are having massive contractions!” before running out of the room to grab the doctor.

Anyways, my shoulder. Several years ago I injured it at work. Nothing major, I think I just strained it. And because I assumed it was nothing major, I never did anything about it. Over the last few years it has given me a bit of grief every now and then (especially after it received heavy use). But nothing a quick rub or a half hour of heat couldn’t remedy.

Until last week, when the pain started migrating down my arm. First to my elbow and now all the way in to my hand. Extreme discomfort, and hand cramps. Beyond what I was used to (thanks carpal tunnel). Now my arm has limit movement. And it is impeding my already terrible sleep. And it hurts. So. Bad.

So I called the doctor. I go in next week.

A Way Around

I told you there was a good chance this was going to be a hodge-podge of a post. A slapped together bit of fluff, I guess.

But today is also World Mental Health Day.

And in an effort to maintain my transparency I thought I should just reach out, and share with you exactly where I am and how I feel.

Because maybe you feel a little bit like I do. Maybe you feel nothing like I do, but reading this allowed you to think about something else for a moment.

I may have imploded upon re-entry but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. There are pieces everywhere but there are pieces. And that means there is something to be made of this disaster. Something to pick up and put back together.

And it doesn’t have to be what it was. And it doesn’t have to be perfect.

And neither do you.

It just has to be.

4 thoughts on “NOT QUITE THERE

  1. I love you, Reba! Our brains function in such similar ways. All the back and forth which tends to end with self doubt and more anxiety… I’m there with you. I got my Dead Pancreas Club sweatshirt and T-shirt today. They made me proud. I love them. Thanks for all the effort you put into them for the rest of us.


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