Checking-in While Checked Out

It could go without saying but I will say it anyways – I have been absent.

Normally this would be where I would insert an apology. I am not going to do that. Because I am not sorry, and I have nothing to apologize for…

And you know what? I am super-duper proud of myself.

I took a step back, I checked out, I needed and deserved to do.

At the beginning of November, I said a gentle goodbye to one of my biggest supporters. I lost my best fur fella, my constant catpanion, my kitty toe touches. It was an anticipated loss but that did not make his passing any easier.

And, given that grief is anything but linear, there have been good days and bad days. And a lot of sad days. Especially recently. This is the first Christmas in seventeen years that he is not asleep under the Christmas tree.

And my heart is fucking broken.

The hole in my heart is massive. And it feels as though it is just getting bigger.

This whole COVID thing is wearing on me, and I do not think I realized it until recently.

For the last 10 months our lives did not change a lot, but then also changed a lot.

My husband continued working, as did I, and we were already homeschooling. My anxieties keep me semi-isolated, so social distanced grocery shopping was like a dream come true. Unable to visit our usual haunts (the movie theatre mid-day – perk of homeschool – and the library) we found new ways to pass the time with car ride scavenger hunts and hiking in provincial parks.

It was not until my family had to cancel our annual Christmas get together that it hit. HARD.

I really miss my parents. We have not had as many visits as we all thought we would this year. Many of them took place outdoors with 2-meters between us. I miss their hugs. I miss sitting with my mom on the couch at the end of the day and her running her fingers through my hair.

And when I lost my kitty, it was especially hard not to drive the two hours for a mom hug…

And I miss my brother Ben, and his family. While we were fortunate enough for a week-long visit from my nieces during a COVID lull, it was not enough.

I miss my nana, who will turn 90 in January.

And I miss all the other family folx (siblings, cousins) we see sometimes only once a year. At our family Christmas.

Before things changed again, we did squeeze in a safely distanced gift drop off to my parents. There were no hugs and a lot of space between us. But I saw them, in person, and that helped a lot.

But the uncertainty of when that will happen again is proving hard to accept.

Then there is the recent backlash I have received (and continue to receive) regarding the name of my blog and the space I created.

I received (and continue to receive) several angry messages that left me deflated. And demotivated.

Never ever was the term “dead pancreas” meant to offend anyone. I completely understand where those folx are coming from, I appreciate how they feel.

Insert my husband rolling his eyes. Not at them, but at me. He feels I should let it roll off and not address it. But I cannot let it go without explaining that I never meant any harm. It truly bothers me that people take issue with something that was intended to be cheeky…

The name was selected because it means something to me (beyond the movie reference) – while I live with Type 1 Diabetes and mental illness, they are not my only chronic conditions.

I will save you the trouble and not list all of them here, just know there’s more than a fucking few.

I have spent several years combating mysterious gut issues. Finding nothing but dead ends through numerous exploratory surgeries, procedures, and tests.

After one round, I learned I was allergic to my birth control pill. Something that was meant to regulate my period and aid with my PCOS. Another round revealed deficiencies in digestive enzymes.

We discovered my pancreas was not helping my stomach the way it should be. In addition to tapping out on its endocrine functions (ahem, hello type 1 diabetes), it appeared it had tapped out on its exocrine functions too.

It was the gastroenterologist who performed my last round of surgeries and tests who dubbed MY pancreas dead…or as good as. And it stuck with me.

In addition to ALL of THAT, there has been a few life things that required more of my attention. And, of course, through it all I have been struggling with my PDD.

That struggle has been more challenging than I have really acknowledged until right now. I keep waiting for a real whop-dinger of a depression episode to land and it has not. Instead, it feels like I am living in a darker grey zone. One that just lingers like a bad smell.

Like the time a head of garlic rolled out of a bag and under a seat in our car a few years ago. We have no idea how long it was there, but it was so expertly hidden that we suspect it was weeks… And we tore the car apart looking for the culprit behind that mysterious stink!

In some ways, I would welcome an episode. The kind where I neglect any and sometimes all self-care, not showering for days and mildly ignoring hygiene. The kind where I fabricate to excuse myself from responsibilities. The kind that is so dark and cathartic. The kind that is so bad it feels good…

I have a tough time this time of year. And THIS year feels like a sparring match. One that I am losing. Everything is compounding and I am hiding it as best as I can.

My sweet little fella, my Bean, is jacked for Christmas. His heart is enamoured with the magic of the season, he is merry, and he is bright. And I will be damned if I dim that in any way for him.

And so, here I am. Managing as well as I can. I have blog posts in the wings, but my creativity has been stifled – both my writing and my art have suffered.

Some days are good. Some days are not so good. And some days are a complete write-off.

Just know that you are not alone if you feel that way too.

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