I’m 36, bitches!
I’m going to try to keep this clear and concise, but we’ll see how the brain lets me go today. It’s been a terrible week… two? Three? It is amazing the cushioning effect on time when it comes to pain. I feel like I’ve lost months, but I’m sure it’s only days. Key points; it’s an allergy response. To what, I’m not 100%, but when I leave my house—and I do mean enough distance—the pain stops. The allergen was in my room. It was either the bed or the mattress, or something that got caught under the bed—or more than one allergen in the bedroom and house. @[email protected] When I got the bed moved out, I evidently moved the allergen throughout the house so the last week has been particularly excruciating with no safe space to escape the pain.
But before I get into all that shit, Jackie North has a new book out!
Soulmates across time. A sacrifice that could keep them apart forever.
A male/male time travel romance, complete with hurt/comfort, French coffee, warm blankets, fireplace kisses, the angst of separation, and true love across time.
For a limited time (until June 24th) you can get it for just 99 cents, so be sure to grab your copy.
Pain: the greatest motivator ever invented
I would like to give a shout out to pain. It has been the motivating factor that has gained me so freaking much these last months. I am apparently a slow learner, but pain is ready to change that. What doesn’t kill you can either inspire you or eventually destroy you; I’ll take the inspiration.
It’s easy to slip in life. To adapt down to shit. This isn’t just health, but abuse, oppressive work environments, bad relationships, etc. People survive, and they do that by forgetting—or for some, never knowing—that life can be lived differently. Pain is one of those things that we learn to ignore. I know because I have been living a half life for years and each step out of it felt like the biggest one. It’s only when I looked back I realized how little I had actually gotten free. I got used to the pain; I adapted to being sick and thought it was normal.
Pain has come in to remind me, no, this is not fucking normal. Thank you, pain.
I have learned more about what I’m suffering from these last weeks than I have the entire time of my illness, and I owe it all to pain. I don’t look for answers to problems that don’t exist. I don’t waste time trying to understand something that ultimately won’t change anything in my life. Pain is amazing in how it flips that perspective every time it rears its bitching head.
If you need motivation, create some damn pain in your life. Not the type I have—you don’t want to feel like you have an infected tooth, or ear, or that your immune system is going to kill you, but only after driving you batshit crazy. But yeah, make it so if you fail at something it’s going to hurt—poverty is a great motivator—and you will find you’re far more interested in reaching a goal than before.
If life becomes more than uncomfortable, you might actually ask for help, or go outside your comfort zone (because where the hell is that when it all hurts?) or try something you’ve been putting off for years. This is the bucket list but instead of dying at the end, you just keep living because it’s only pain. Pain is fleeting (ideally @[email protected]) but it can be a great motivational tool to change your life.
What pain has taught me lately
So, here’s a quick list of the shit I’ve been learning this week (month?) instead of writing.
- I can be a living dowsing rod. I walked around my current apartment and used the throbbing in my face to let me know what the triggers were. Once the teeth started itching in pain, I had a suspect. That’s how I discovered the culprit was in my room. When I moved the bed out, I could literally feel a hot spot in the air where it used to be from whatever the hell has been triggering me. I don’t know what the hell it is, but it is oppressive and pain inducing, and really, that’s all I need to know to get it the fuck out. No more bed until I can afford one of those overpriced eco mattresses.
- I’m getting better. Instead of ending up freaking comatose 24-7 and unable to lift my limbs or think straight, I had a pain response. It’s different—shitty—but I’m calling it a win. I actually got less work done on the writing front—pain is extremely distracting—but I stayed on my feet. No sleeping my life away, but instead pacing it.
- The dopamine precursors are working and my skin isn’t flaking anymore, my tongue has healed, I’m not in constant muscle pain or slow down, and apparently I was missing the fact that I had distinct tremors connected to Parkinson’s for years now. I didn’t know it was the weird twitching that happened when my body was at rest; I always thought it was supposed to be when you were moving or something. So yeah, supplementation has taken care of that, which I didn’t realize until I was hit with enough pain to stop supplementation to ensure it wasn’t the dopamine precursors at the root of all this. In two days of stopping, a deep crack appeared in my tongue, the twitching came back, and I began to slow down physically and mentally. So, yeah, I quickly chose the pain over that slow, living death and started looking for more useful answers.
- Allergy shots work. I have been terrified to be outside the house. We can call it a remnant of the PTSD where I was just used to spending every day hiding away, or what have you, but once I found out I was allergic to, well, life, nature was definitely on the ‘do not visit’ list. Except I just had a lovely nap on the lawn where I didn’t have any pain, no allergies, and yeah, whatever I’m allergic to, it’s not this beautiful fresh air. My cats were crawling all over me—they apparently thought I was one of them… or dead =_= —and my allergies weren’t triggered at all. So maybe this will be the motivator I need to go outside into fresh air every day. Maybe being inside every day has been the key as to why I’ve been so sick so long.
- Indoor chemical exposure can hurt you. So the previous apartment I was living in (the one where I was bed bound for 4 years and decided to be an author—how’s that for pain motivation!) that apartment was covered wall to wall with new carpet. I got a new memory foam mattress during that time; both these products gas out formaldehyde for months to years. They had construction in the other apartment on the same floor, and the apartment below us, and new construction material has this same problem of gasing out chemicals. We also had the cat litter boxes (ammonia and formaldehyde) in the house with us in this small, poorly ventilated space. We kept the windows closed because the air dynamic was so strange that the street exhaust would blow in and flood the place every time a car went past. When the downstairs neighbors smoked pot, that would flood out apartment (windows open or not.) The place was a fucking chemical trap. I’ve always had an intense sense of smell compared to other people, and now I’m wondering if this is why; my body has been over-actively telling me about the things things that triggers my immune system but I wasn’t listening. Given since this burning mouth pain started and I can’t taste and smell things like I used to, it seems even more obvious now.
- Dopamine receptors are key in chronic pain. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is linked to dopamine downregulation. Being exposed to one chemical in a low dose constantly can have the same shitty impact as one big dose, and results in the body overreacting to any contact at all later. It can turn your immune system into an overactive minefield where everything sets it off, and is very likely why I’m allergic to everything instead of just a few things. The targeting system was triggered, and although you can take an allergy shot for pollens and molds, there doesn’t seem to be one out there for formaldehyde or ammonia or the scent of those damn rubber car mats. >_<
- It hasn’t killed me. The supplements I take to support my body are keeping me going. I focused on a few things; repairing the dopamine system, supporting the cellular and specifically brain detoxification systems, and supporting the liver and adrenals. It doesn’t stop the pain by any means, but it does keep this body moving instead of being so overwhelmed with cleaning its filters, so to speak, that it ends up sleeping life away. I am improving. I would like to find a way to stop my immune response, but for now, I’m supporting what I can and cleaning what’s around me.
- You can rent an industrial strength air scrubber from Home Depot for $300 a week. Once I realized I was still dealing with an allergen—potentially a chemical based one—I needed a solution. We only just got the filter today, and I’m not in the house, but I have hope that it will be able to handle this job. If it does, I’ll probably be buying one in the future and just hitting the house with it once a week. If it doesn’t, well, I guess I’ll be camping out in the backyard until we can get enough money to move. I refuse to live like this. (I just found out the backyard was safe to breathe—I’m so excited! Cuz I can live out here for the summer at least and get some fucking writing done already.)
- I can still art. I was avoiding making real art because of these insecurities of having lost my ability after being sick so long. Pain to the rescue. XD I couldn’t focus on something as complex as language while like this, but I could fuck around with little colorful marks on a screen. I’m remembering as I go along. I even tracked down the old brushes I used to use and had moments of playing, and not just seeking escape from misery. But that was what art always was for me; an escape from the insanity of the world around me (or the insanity of my brain in reaction to the world around me.) It is a lifeline, and even if the results are fleeting, the process of creation can give you so much.
- Listen to the body. If you don’t listen when it’s quiet, it will get really fucking loud until you do. Better listen early on.
- Letting go. I’m getting better at accepting that sometimes I really can’t control what I want no matter how much I want to. I feel far less guilt for not updating my writing than I would have half a year ago. I’m not happy about not getting things done, but I have no interest in ruining my writing or killing myself over things out of my control. I still have my goals for what comes next, I still know how I’m going to reach them, but they are pushed back until I solve this problem. Because pain is forcing me to get better than I was before this bizarre misery hit me like a repeated punch to the face so many years ago, and I will take that win of improved health and understanding of my illness and use it every day moving forward to live a full, complete life.
- You don’t always get to choose what happens in life, like, ever, but you can choose how you want to deal with it. Everything can be a win, a lesson learned with new tools to help you kick ass later.
- If I knew then what I know now, I would be twice my age. 😀
I’m not giving up, babes. On the contrary, I’m adapting and seeking every answer I can find. I’m sorry it has resulted in no writing, but limitations are what they are at the moment. I hope you all are having a far happier, enjoyable summer not needing to learn a damn thing. But if you’re not, and you find pain haunting you, I hope you listen to your body and seek the answers you need. Being alive is more than pain (no matter how it feels to be the contrary some days.)
Peace, luvs. <3