Sunday Morning Thoughts

So. Tuesday August 11th is a big “milestone” for me. I air-quote “milestone” for several reasons. The first, it sounds like an achievement. The second, I really have nothing to do with it. I’ll explain. 50! I can’t type that number without an exclamation point anymore than a can type “milestone” without air-quotes. 50! Half a century! A lifetime for many. Never enough time for most. My life, up until this point, has gone by both in the blink of an eye and a slow motion series of days, weeks, months, etc. My childhood is remembered as birthday parties, pony rides, friends, and fun. I’ve had time to block the bad times. The chemical imbalance that often left me unable to go to school, keep friends, and participate in my own life being the issue. Psychiatric hospitals to find a treatment. Fear, confusion, loneliness, doctors, other patients like me. Mom and Dad crying. At their wit’s end to get me the help I so needed. Medications. So many pills. Side effects. Visits home for a few hours and feelings of desperation to go back because the hospital felt “normal and safe.” A handful of these episodes throughout my teens. Finally, in 1984, two miracles. An incredible doctor and Prozac. One little pill changing my entire life. An answer. Dr. P. explained that my depression, panic attacks, and OCD episodes were all from a lack of seratonin in my brain. The Prozac supplied what was missing. I was a new person. At age 19, I could finally start to live my life. I continued visits with Dr. P. outside of the hospital for quite a few years. He helped me put things into perspective. He helped me when I backslid, and celebrated my victories with me. He explained so much. Made things make sense. He saved my life and I’ll never forget him. I’ve allowed myself to remember those times as they were a part of who I am today. The good and the bad. My parents were beyond patient. They had no idea what was wrong with me, but never gave up fighting for me. I am horrified now by how I treated them back then. I was out of control and angry. Not knowing why. I’ll never be able to express to them how grateful I am for their love and support and perseverance. They never gave up on me and are forever heroes in my heart. 50! Still in shock. I worked many jobs. Never sure what I wanted for myself. I wound up, purely by chance, in the dental field and never looked back. My last job was as the Practice Manager of 2 large, prestigious dental offices. I loved my job! It was fun, infuriating, challenging, and I fully expected to retire from there when the time came. What do they say? We plan while God laughs?! I got sick. In 2008 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and migraines. I continued to work until 2011, when the migraines became chronic. Daily migraines. More doctors, hospitals, treatments, pills, shots, etc. The depression and anxiety came back full force as I fought through these illnesses. Flashback to my childhood. I was determined not to let these feelings take control as they had when I was so young. I knew the medical illnesses were causing the psychiatric issues. Chronic pain and depression go hand in hand. I know that now. It makes sense. Excruciating pain every day is going to effect your brain, your emotions. Just knowing that makes it a little easier to keep fighting. I’m now unable to work, basically homebound. I manage to get to my doctor appointments and some errands, but don’t go out much for fun. I’ve lost “friends.” I’ve lost the ability to travel, which I loved. (Thankfully, thanks to my parents, I got to experience Europe and other incredible trips in my 30’s!) I’ve been fighting for disability benefits since 2012. I was denied twice. Still waiting for an appeal hearing date from my lawyer. Things are bad right now. They’ve been bad and gotten worse for the past few years. I’m still actively seeking proper treatment for my illnesses. I’ve depleted any savings that I had, and am currently living with my mother. We’re leaning on each other. She is paying my bills. I am again reminded of my childhood, and, once again, one of my heroes has jumped in to save me! I am trying to remain positive. It’s hard. In some ways I feel like a teenager again. Living with and dependent on a parent. But it’s different this time. I’m not the same person I was. Pain changes you. This is why I don’t feel 50. I missed a lot. I was stuck, but time kept passing. So I may argue, deny, and hate turning 50, but it certainly beats the alternative. Better days ahead. #AlwaysKeepFighting

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