Stranger to Myself

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“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it up to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.” ~ Hunter S. Thompson

HST said it best… and so I bought my ticket last December, jumped on the ride, and what a ride it’s been. I have no regrets, but it’s been weird, heavy, and I’ve come out the other side somewhat a stranger to myself. Not in a bad way, but it does feel weird.

So I’m going with it, meeting myself over and over again, each time something comes up that hasn’t since before I had surgery. It’s good, mostly, and I’m constantly surprising and delighting myself.

Once school ended for the Summer, I shaved off my hair and got my nails done. I feel more like myself than I have for a long time, possibly ever, even though I’m still re-discovering myself. I love the nails, but they do make typing somewhat awkward… lolz.

It is, however, somewhat unsettling to not immediately recognize my face or body when I glimpse myself in the mirror. I have collar bones and facial definition I’ve never had before, and my brain still hasn’t caught up to the physical changes of my body. Again, not bad, just odd.

The best changes, however, aren’t visible ones. The best changes are that I no longer feel constantly sick, my blood pressure is no longer so high as to make my PCP nervous. My A1C is in a gleefully normal range and my risk for diabetes is way the fuck down. My brain feels more clear, and my joints don’t perpetually ache anymore. I can do the things I love without hurting for days afterward, without fearing I might run too fast or too far and literally have a heart attack. My sleep apnea is GONE… I no longer stop breathing while I sleep and I no longer have to wear that damned CPAP (although I’m grateful I was able to have access to one when I so desperately needed it). I no longer feel like I need or want to spend 12-18 hours a day in bed. I have been given a second chance at life and I am determined not to waste it.

Due to my rapid weight loss, however, my hormones have been kind of whacky. It’s made my periods an even more taxing few days than usual, but nothing unbearable. My depression and anxiety have overall been stable, although I’ve noticed that when I do spiral down into my abyss, it’s deeper and sharper and more difficult to travel through than it used to be. But I’m not afraid of my darkness or of my abyss (they’re separate… and my darkness is a safe place for me), and so I am patient and travel on, knowing I will eventually be through once more.

I have been reading a rather large stack of books that have (mostly) nothing to do with nursing, and I’ve been doing some painting, drawing, and writing here and there as well. I feel like I’m finally able to breathe again, literally and figuratively. And it’s beautiful and magical.

I’ve been working on my food addiction issues, as I have no desire to end up where I started back in December. It’s a terrible struggle some days and smooth sailing on others, but I know that if I keep working toward my goals, I will get there and I will be able to redirect those neuropathways to coping mechanisms that are actually helpful both in the short- and longterm, and not harmful.

Overall, I am delighted and still somewhat disbelieving of the changes I’ve experienced in the past 6 months. But I am happy and grateful, and I have zero regrets.

XOXO

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