We all sing with the same voice, and we live in harmony

This is what sick looks lik. This is what sick IS. I don’t look it? You don’t realize that my body is fighting itself. You don’t realize that I’m allergic to four antibiotics,  an asthma medication that would make my life a lot easier, and a food allergy. You don’t realize that I have an autoimmune disorder, a neurological disorder, rods in my back, an eating disorder, PTSD, anxiety, and a non verbal learning disorder. You don’t realize that I have a balance disorder, that I have a crapload of medications surging though my body. I don’t look it, but you know what? This is what disabled is. 
 You see people like me every day, everywhere. You see people with disabilities everywhere you turn. We are people, just like you, and we have feelings, too. I understand it can be awkward at times when you come across someone with disabilities, but never fear! I’m hear to help you out and avoid awkwardness. NOTE: These are tips from MY personal experience. Other people with disabilities may have different feelings and a different take on life.

1. Never, ever ask me “What happened?” or any variant there of. If you want to know more about my disabilities, there are better ways to phrase it. It’s awkward for both of us when I explain it’s lifelong, and it’s chronic. Trust me, you’re not going to get an epic skiing accident story.

Nothing like that, I promise. You may think it’s making friendly conversation, but you’re really not and just making everyone uncomfortable. Also, don’t ask it while I’m clearly struggling to walk or with a door. I’m really not in any shape to answer you then, and you’re more likely to get a slightly rude come back. It’s rude to ask a stranger these type of question. Get to know me for me. And then ask your questions. I’m more than happy to talk about my disorders with you, as long as you are respectful.
2. For the love of peaches, NEVER ask me “can I ask you a personal question?” This is a good analogy:
It’s never okay to ask a random woman if she’s pregnant. Same way, it’s never okay to ask me if I’m able to have sex, if people want to date ‘someone like me’, if my husband/spouse/siblings are also disabled. YOU DON’T KNOW ME. YOU JUST MET ME ON THE BUS. It is NOT the time or place to ask me a “personal question” because generally? They are rude and disrespectful, and I am a human being, just like you. You wouldn’t ask someone without a obvious physical impairment these questions, so why the hell is it okay to ask me?
3. Don’t give me your home remedies. Don’t tell me such and such person.  Don’t tell me how if I do x, y, z I’ll do better.
Don’t tell me if I do crossfit, if I go paleo, my health will get better. I’ve already given up gluten for health reasons. I don’t need your ‘quick fixes’. My doctors and I have gone through many of these things. It isn’t helpful for you to throw this at me, despite your good intentions.
4. Oh my god, don’t play the Jesus card. You will seriously incur my wrath if you do.
If you say or act like that, I will get angry and upset. I have prayed so many times. I’ve wept to God to heal me, and he hasn’t, for whatever reason. God has a reason for leaving me disabled, and I’ve come to terms with it. Please don’t tell me to just pray. Please don’t tell me if I just trust God, he will heal me. He hasn’t chosen to heal me, for whatever reason. I don’t know what that reason is. I don’t know why I was chosen for this path, and why I’m destined to live a life of physical pain. But you know what? It’s just the way things are.

Now, I do sometimes want to have this reaction to people who are stupid about disabilities:

Really, I just wanted an excuse to use this picture

But you know what? We are people too. We are just like you. We laugh, we play, we cry, we sing. We weep, we rejoice, we bleed, we heal. We do things differently. But we all sing with the same voice, and we live in harmony.

And she fools all of her friends into thinking she’s so strong but she still sleeps with the light on

My bed is soaked with sadness
My sadness has no end has no end
A downward of  spiral of dispair
That I keep falling in 
I need you how, how I need you 
(…)
Your silence is like death to me,
so won’t you hear my desperate plea?
-I Need You, The Swift

It’s hard some days to get myself out of bed. My alarm goes off, a few swear words slip past my lips, a stuffed animal may fly across the room. I’m not a morning person by nature, never have been. But when you’re trapped in depression, when your greatest enemy is that reflection in the mirror, sometimes hauling yourself out of bed is one of the most difficult things of the day.

I suppose I make it sound like I’m drowning in depression. Some days I am. Some days I wonder why I get out of bed when I’ve barely slept the night before and daytime is the only time I’m able to actually sleep. When I’m running on two to three hours a sleep a night, and a couple hour nap during the day. Why I bother even trying to hope, trying to dream, when it seems like my hopes and dreams and wishes will just be crushed. It’s hard.

Living with depression is like fighting a monster every morning. My days and nights are reversed. I just want solace – just some relief from all the pain I’m trapped in. It feels like just doing simple things – hanging out with friends, eating, hauling my butt out of bed, doing the laundry, drain all the effort and energy out of me and I’m left alone with my thoughts.

All I want to do is be free from this demon I battle. I want to be truly happy again, and not a person that I want to hide from. But I don’t know how. I don’t know how to open up about the past and allow people – friends, therapists, pastors, et al, help me. I don’t know how to let people understand and even begin to give me a chance to have hope again.

For as much as I want to hope, dream, laugh, love, and carry on with my life, it scares the everliving shit out of me. All I’ve known for over a decade is depression. All I’ve known is bleakness. All I’ve known is living in fear and terror. And as exhilarating and thrilling the other side might be – it’s completely unknown. It’s something I’ve never felt before. What if it’s too much? What if I don’t like it? What if I taste the other side, and I don’t like it at all? What if it hurts? What if I get a sampling of it, and I wind up falling back into depression? Would the relapse be that much worse because I’ve tasted the other side? Or would it be better once I pull out of the funk again, because I know what the other side is like? 

I get sick of trying various antidepressants. I get sick of feeling like this – I don’t WANT to be like this! But how do I attempt something I’ve never tried, how do I try something I just don’t know? How do I even attempt to spread my wings and fly, when every time I’ve tried to fly I’ve fallen?

Depression sucks. I’ll leave you with Adventures in Depression because that sums it up better than I ever could.

I don’t know how you do it

“I don’t know how you do it.”

I’ve been told it for years, really. “I don’t know how you do it.” The truth of the matter is? I don’t know how I do it, either.

I wish I did. Thing is, when you have to do it, you do it. There’s nothing impressive about what I’ve done. I’ve been paying my own bill since I was 21, managing my old medical stuff, all that stuff. It’s what I have to do.

People tell me they couldn’t do what I do. Truth is? I can’t do what I do. You just have to throw yourself in and DO it.

Me? Stubborn? Naw, ‘ya don’t say.

Whoever coined the phrase “Stubborn as a mule” clearly had me in mind.

I remember in 2007 being asked what my best trait is.

“I’m STUBBORN.”
“You mean assertive, right? Stubborn is a bad thing.”
*pause*
“Nope, I’m stubborn.”

It’s true – I’m fiercely stubborn. I don’t like change, I don’t like things being different in any way, shape, or form. I like things just the way they are.

And so I cling onto – be it bad or be it good. And in a very sad way, my stubbornness hinders my recovery of depression, ptsd, and ED-NOS. How does it hinder it? Because in many ways, I’m just too stubborn to change. Things the way they are aren’t great, but it’s all I know. And I like what I know, even if it’s not ideal. I like the predictability of the way I sometimes run things, and I feel that if I keep things that way, it’s for the best.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be stubborn. There are times when it’s a really good skill, such as when people are being a pain in the butt and you just need to get something done. It channels into determination sometimes. Thing is – I’m stubborn about things that I shouldn’t be stubborn about.

I think my stubbornness helped me survive my childhood, but now I need to find a different coping skill and a different way to control things. I’m a control freak, I’ll fully admit it, and it goes along with being stubborn. I’m well known for pushing myself way too far, because I want to prove I CAN do it, even when I’m sick as a dog or crawling in pain and really should be curled up in bed with a piping hot cup of tea and reruns of Fraiser. But yet – I want to prove to people that I’m capable and that I WILL do things my way, dammit!

It’s not a healthy mindset. I need to learn that it’s OK to listen to other people’s advice and sometimes being stubborn is a bad thing. Sometimes I do have to let someone else take the reins, and trust that things will turn out okay if I don’t do things exactly how I plan.

You’re beautiful, like a rainbow

One of my favourite commercials (more like a PSA)  has been the Dove – True Colors ad. I don’t think it’s been on television for a few years now. I remember it coming out my senior year of high school. That year sucked beyond measure, but that’s a moot point.

Thing is? We all have things we don’t like about ourselves. I struggle with my body image on a daily basis. It’s a battle I constantly fight against myself.

The thing is? It doesn’t matter that I walk with a limp or my knee snaps out of joint. It doesn’t matter that my posture is awkward or I’m not a perfect weight. It doesn’t matter because really, it’s not much in the grand scheme of things. I doubt when my friends think of me they are thinking the same things I think when I look in the mirror (Gah, another blemish. Shit, my hair is a mess. Dammit, I look fat today. God, why don’t my shoulders lie straight!). Instead, they think about the good things (and okay, maybe some of the annoying things like the fact they have to debate with me to get me to do things like, oh, eat) about my character.

It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that while I belittle myself over my appearance, it’s not what others do. And really, the things I hate so much are likely what others like. And I need to learn that it’s not a big deal what’s on the outside – that it’s what’s inside that really matters. And not fully inside, like my heart and my lungs (although I reckon those things are good as well) but the person I am deep within.

But I see your true colours shining through,
I see your true colours, and that’s why I love you

(Wow, my nearly 3 am postings when I should be asleep are interesting. Curse you, insomnia!)