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  • Writer's picturecocodensmore

I decided I'm going to treat it like a bad cold.

July 15, 2023

It comes over me so fast. Always unexpected, no warning. I go from not sick to sick. In just a moment, sometimes perhaps an hour. Nonetheless, very quickly. A darkness fills my head. It makes my body hurt; my chest is tight. And tears, so many tears.

I decided I’m going to try something new. I decided I’m going to treat it like a bad cold. Stay home, stay in bed, do exactly what I want to do. Try this thing or that thing that might alleviate the pain. Eat what I want, watch what I want, read what I want, write what I want. Be alone, or at least in a different part of the house from mom. I try not to isolate but when it’s really bad, I just do. I can’t not. I can trick myself. I can distract myself for short periods, find something on Netflix. But every few minutes, I remember it’s just a movie and it all comes crushing back.

Last time it lasted for four days. Then I had five days of reprieve. Tonight, it is back. I am anxious, worried it won’t go away. It’s excruciating thinking it might even last until morning. It’s when I wake that I know if it’s gone or not, if it’s subsided a bit, so I can breathe. I can tell right away, as soon as I open my eyes.

Last week, I couldn’t get up on Sunday. I wanted to go to church. I want to start going to church. Tomorrow is another Sunday. Right now, I feel like I could force myself to get up and go, because anticipating the benefit slightly outweighs the temptation of succumbing to the pain. But I’ll have to see tomorrow when the alarm goes off at 7:00. I’ll have to wait and see.

I would say, “Pray for me”, but I don’t believe in that anymore. Well, I kind of do, but my relationship with prayer is evolving. Right now, I’m a bit too skeptical to ask God for anything. I do chat with Her, though. And that’s helpful. Just talking to Her as my friend. She’s been a very loyal and loving friend. Sometimes, I beg Her to give me some peace. And then sometimes I have a bit of peace. I don’t know if it’s from Her. It might all be me imagining it. I don’t know. I really don’t.

Tonight, it all seems a bit hopeless and futile. When I’m sick like this, I can’t imagine feeling well. And when I’m well, I can’t imagine feeling this sick.

And now, in keeping with my hopeful spirit, I’ll say what I always say; claim what I always claim. This darkness won’t last, I’ll come out of it. I’ll get my mind back, control of my thoughts. My body won’t hurt for no reason other than because my mind is black and thick. I’ll be back to “even”.

Happiness is never the goal. Being “even” and attaining some level of peace is always the goal. And sometimes I have some control in achieving that goal. I’ve been in therapy since my 20s. I have a whole toolkit of techniques to process through, and sometimes something will work. But not often. Most of the time, it’s just waiting for the black thick to lift.

That’s why I decided I’m not going to wish and hope and pray it away; not anymore. I’m going to practice feeling it, leaning into it. I’m not going to shoo it away like it was some sort of temporary passing annoyance. Because it’s nothing like that. And I’m not going to try to talk myself out of it, which ends up in a lot of self-shaming. My head voice yells, “You don’t have any reason to feel this way! Stop it!” But this sickness is not usually triggered by some external event. Sometimes, but not usually. There hasn’t been anything in the last few days other than the usual day-to-day stressors. But perhaps my level of resilience is like my level of immunity. Sometimes it’s weak, and then the black sick settles in. It’s cyclical, but there’s not a predictable length of time between episodes. That’s why from now on, I decided I’m going to treat it like a bad cold.

I Persevere. And life goes on.

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” -Julian of Norwich


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