It’s taken me months to gather the energy to sit up, pull out my laptop, and type. I have been going through mental gymnastics with my creativity. I have so many ideas but no energy to write. It’s not because I don’t feel inspired or motivated, it’s because some days I physically cannot sit up, or walk, or dress myself, or drive, the list goes on. Hi, my name is Ka’Lyn and I have a chronic illness that has turned my world on its ass. I wrote my friend in Spain today these words and as soon as I wrote it I said, TODAY YOU WRITE, “It’s a battle that I’m fighting but I’m aware that recovery is not all rainbows & butterflies like social media wants it to be. It’s gritting and bearing through painful moments and scary thoughts while attempting to hold on to those small moments of relief and happiness.”
2018 has had its share of unfortunate events. It was almost as if I was the butt of an ugly joke that wouldn’t end. Loss of jobs, friends and family passing from Cancer, and on top of it all my chronic illness takes a turn. I have been suffering from this disease for almost 9 years now and I have never experienced anything like this. The undoing of my own strength, the horror of looking at myself naked, the burning of my very being from the inside out. I have unraveled. Going from being able-bodied to disabled in a matter of months is terrifying. Not being sure what the next treatment is or if it will work. Having to rearrange your entire life, your plans, and your relationships to make room for your new normal. Wondering if anyone has realized that recovery isn’t gumdrops and cotton candy. It’s not Instagram posts and the rallying of troops. It’s the undoing of who you were and the fight to become who you are supposed to be, a survivor.
I have survived many things during my trips around the sun. I am aware of trauma and have danced with it unwillingly for most of my life but this is different. I am watching myself come apart at the seams unable to control my own health, unable to fix myself like I fix everything else in my life. I have no control, I have no cure, I only have wavering patience, faith that comes and goes like a cool breeze, and hope attached to a piece of floss that I hold on to daily with a smile because I know what falling feels like.
Recovery according to the dictionary is gaining back something you lost but I don’t agree with that definition. This process hasn’t taught me to enjoy the little moments of joy in life, I already did that. It hasn’t taught me to keep my friends and family close, that’s been my mantra since conception. Recovery, to me, is the undoing. It is the grit, the pain, the hard days, the sleepless nights, the struggle for proper care in a world where your pain isn’t recognized as pain but complaints. It is fighting a fight with an invisible demon and even when you get knocked the fuck out you come to, dust yourself off, and fight again because you know what death tastes like and you know suicide is no longer an option. You have shit to do, you have to continue to get free, you have people to love on and people who love you. Recovery is being okay with not being okay and being okay with needing help emotionally, physically, financially. Recovery is having to ask for someone to clean your body, cook your food, pray for you, bring you snacks, call you sometimes, plan a visit, make space for you.
I have been undoing for months. Struggling alongside my husband some days afraid that one wrong move, medication, infection, depressive episode could be it. But luckily for me, I have tasted death before, it was bitter, it didn’t bring me the relief I thought it would. I still felt like shit after. Recovery has taught me the flexibility in discipline. Sometimes you just don’t have the gusto to be visibly strong and the “how are you” texts become suffocating, the doctor appointments turn into disappointments, and all you want to do is make it to bedtime. Then there are days, like today, where you say something to someone after crying as soon as your eyes open that gives you enough energy to type. Gives you that gusto to put down what you haven’t been able to express properly. Gives you that break.
This is my undoing. Am I okay? Hell no. I am in pain more so than not. Am I living? Yes! I use EVERYDAY to start over. If one day is bad, I deal with that and then the next day I wake up and try again because recovery for me isn’t a choice, it’s just something that is going to happen and I have to deal with it.
When it rains it pours but luckily for me I live in a brick house, with bulletproof windows, and the heart that understands that there is nothing that it cannot beat.