A Call For Positivity.

Good morning world, it’s been a little while. It’s 4 am in California and I have to say I’m OK feeling wide awake despite the indecent hour. I feel like I’ve been in a sedated state, in and out of consciousness for the last week–more out than in– and it feels good to finally feel alert enough to touch base with myself again. I have never been this sick before, at least not for this long. It’s beginning to make my other sick days feel more like mere child’s play. They’re nearly laughable when I think of them now.

I move when I can, which isn’t very often. It’s difficult to do basic things for myself these days and it sucks to have to ask, but that’s where I am, so I’m trying to make peace with it. Walking is really difficult and the weakness gets overwhelming. It sort of feels like trying to walk underwater–like someone smothered all of my joints in honey. Anyway, being stationary for such a long period of time isn’t super fun (for me or for Monty) and sometimes the mental housekeeping can be harder than the physical. It’d be nice to lose myself in the distraction of anything physical…tennis, shopping, drinking with friends, a road trip or camping! But it’s all out of the question, so I am left to my consciousness and the quiet of days as the world around me spins on without pause. I know it’s vital that I stay positive; that I don’t succumb to the fear and despair lingering between wakefulness and sleep, and that I surrender to where my life has me for now, and that I remain precisely clear about the difference between that and giving up. I am always going to pursue the healthiest routes and happiest choices, but I also need to just exist where I am- which right now, is immobilized in my sisters apartment. When I try to move around I am worse the next day, so it’s bed rest for me. Not much of a choice anymore.

The good news is, I have help. My sister has been doctor for a while now, while my brother-in-law insists on eating when I don’t want to. My mom flew in on Thursday so now the help has help and I am lucky for all of it. And Monty too of course. He’s a mental help to us all, and when things get sad or heavy somehow he finds a way to make us all laugh.  I think he’s anxious for me to be back on two feet but he’s patient as always. He’s taken to my sister and brother-in-law, like he knows they’re the ones with the energy. They’re the ones who will throw him the ball. So he plays fetch with them and my mom and when he comes back in he trots straight over to whatever piece of furniture I am using as a bed and curls up next to me; content until the next time he needs to go out. He is a constant reminder to be in the present moment. That is something that dogs just get and humans mostly miss.

I am going to be very honest and say that emotionally I’ve been kind of a wreck. I’m not a huge crier but for some reason when I fall into these weak, dizzy crashes, tears just roll down my face. I don’t even necessarily feel sad when it happens. It’s like this strange cause and effect I don’t feel I can control. So, I let the tears come. I try not to harp long on any negative thoughts or fearful worries; they are not only useless, but detrimental at this point if I give them too much pause. My mom told me “You can’t afford the privilege of a negative thought right now,” so I try to stay away from them. If they come, I let them, and then I let them leave. I am beginning to learn the art of detachment. Or I’m getting a crash course in it. I don’t know that I have another choice, and I must say I’m getting pretty good! I’m writing about this because I know that so many people have felt what I am feeling now, and many of them have not had support systems behind them. I want anyone to know who’s sick or troubled and reading this that it’s OK to want to punch the wall, scream really loud, curse the car door and earth, the universe, or God. I have done all of these things in darker moments, and sometimes a good scream or cry is necessary. It’s OK. Sometimes if I’m too tired to yell, I just flip off the sky. As if the clouds brought me to this point. It’s like the most passive aggressive protest I can demonstrate, but since my arms down to my fingers are weak, I don’t leave it up there very long, which usually leads to cursing. Haha. But what I also know is that anger and screaming and crying and cursing…it just doesn’t get me anywhere in the right direction. It doesn’t move me along. It’s really easy to be mad at a situation; to be pissed off or sad or claim unfairness. But where that gets you is stuck further in the predicament you were already in, just now you’re a miserable person in a shitty situation. It’s just plain more interesting to be a happy person in a shitty situation. Try it! When people ask how I am I say “Terrible! And it’s the best day of my life!”

My goal now is to stay as happy and positive as I can, which so far has been extremely hard. But I’m going to keep at it. I’m letting negative thoughts come and go and I follow them up with something better. Something true. I constantly remind myself of what I have; love, a family that gives a shit, good doctors, good friends, and the best dog in the world.  A few examples; my friend Kaitlin aka Matt Damon texts me our inside jokes throughout the day, often consisting of lines from Billy Madison, Orange County, or philosophical thoughts on the Golden Girls. Sometimes a one word text can make me laugh, and that feels like a step in the right direction. My brother Nick sends me interesting and positive reading material or funny pictures of the baby. My Stupid Friend Jess sends me her favorite facebook statuses of the day, which are always terrible. And hilarious. My mom and sister let me cry when I need to but are always encouraging, reminding me of the truth, and that is so necessary at times like these. And me, I’m kind of just hanging on. I don’t really feel like I’m driving the car to my life right now, but, I can at least control the music. Is this metaphor too much? Anyway, instead of playing like, Coldplay and Radiohead, I’m trying to play happier and motivating things. The Black Keys, Vampire Weekend, The Rolling Stones, and Ke$sha. Come on, that Tic Toc song can make anyone dance. We’re out of the metaphor now, I actually like listening to that song.

So, that’s where I am. It’s a really rough time, but I know it isn’t forever. And I know the answer to it all is not in anger or sadness or self pity, even though these reactions and dispositions are often the easier, default choices. It’s funny how conditioned humans are to respond this way to stress in life–and how absolutely worthless it remains. You’d think after 2000 years of civilization we’d have gotten it by now. Even the dogs get it! Anyway, as I sit immobilized, a heat pack on my muscles and the smell of BenGay circulating in the air, I’m beginning to retrain myself. My body is crazy weak, so I’m going to work on a stronger mind. I know that every situation is an opportunity to grow, and I guess it comes down to whether you want the experience to leave you larger or smaller than you were before. My hope, of course, is to walk away wiser and stronger. And while it’s the harder path to take, I know it’s not impossible, and so many others have endured far worse and done just fine. In the meantime, I gotta stay positive. So send me funny stuff! Among the 25 pills, laughter is still my best and favorite medicine.

Health, Happiness, Hanging On.

19 thoughts on “A Call For Positivity.

  1. I can so relate to the mental housework being exhausting. Yesterday I had to leave work early and just collapse on the floor of my apartment. I arrived at the floor at about 1:00, and didn’t move at all for 7 hours.

    Anyway, loved this post a lot. My most frequently quoted quote from Orange County:
    “We came together.”


  2. Are you in my brain? Seriously, every time I have some type of enlightenment about managing life or human beings in general the next day you go and translate my brain thoughts into a perfectly worded blog entry. So aside from being a little creeped out right now, I feel so affirmed and even more inspired to take on all the negative sh** around me that normally penetrates my mind and gets me nowhere. My mom would always tell me that that’s the devil speaking to me, so I call them “Devil Thoughts.” Recently I’ve been reminding myself that while I can’t necessarily control what happens around me, I can control my OWN mind, and no other person, thing, or idea can do that without my permission. So why permit it?

    Peace, Love, Control.


  3. “When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” ~Dory from Finding Nemo I love this quote. It always makes me smile. Keep climbing that mountain, you WILL make it!!!!


  4. You’re going to have a ninja master black belt in positivity. Hang in there. These aren’t anything new, but online awkward family photos and go fug yourself both always make me laugh.


  5. Your “I’m not driving the car to my life” metaphor reminded me of a favorite metaphor of mine for those times when it’s hard to not to feel pummeled by all the stuff that is out of our control:

    I can’t stop the waves, but I can learn to surf. (And if surfing feels too ambitious, you can totally just float.)


  6. You will get better Mary. This too shall pass!
    Lord knows that I’ve had many dark thoughts in the past but I have to remind myself that this is happening to me for a reason. It is not for us to know why we are burdened with this illness. I do know that God doesn’t make mistakes and that this is what His plan is for me right now.
    And I have to say that when I walk through the V.A. Hospitals I begin to feel less sorry for myself. There are so many people who are much worse off than me **everyday of their lives**, because they fought for us. The only thing is that you can actually understand and SEE how they can have these problems when ours is just INVISIBLE. It would feel better to be able to say that something horrible happened that caused me to be this way.
    Much love and hugs to you sweetie. So sorry you’re having such a tough time. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Maybe tomorrow there will be a CURE~:)


  7. Hang in there Mary- I know when I ‘ve had really tough flares It can be both body and mind challenging.. I do the same thing of hanging in to all the positive things. Even if it’s just that I have really yummy food in the fridge, even if someone else has to make me a sandwich.. Trying to train my cat to make me snacks.. nada so far.
    It will get better- *virtual hug*


  8. Don’t forget about listening to Destiny’s Child. Nothing is better than Destiny’s Child. Even the name is fantastic.


  9. Amen, girl. Your answer of “Terrible. And it’s the best day of my life!” is almost mine verbatim. :) Thanks for the great perspective, and the continuing FB hilarity!!! Hope the clouds part for you soon.


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