I have been ill for one year. It is a mystery illness that results in itchy welts called hives (chronic idiopathic urticaria), all over my body most of the time. There is no cure. My life is lopsided and hard. Food, once a great pleasure, is now a nuisance. All of my favorites are triggers. Wine and chocolate, the tasty, heartwarming habits that I consider a significant perk of adulthood, are no longer consumable. Sleep is not guaranteed. Scratching is unavoidable. Clothing choices are now all about covering up. Leg shaving is an exercise in medieval torture. Outings are easily canceled when lips or eyes swell to boxer-like proportions.
I am scarred, scared and often uncharacteristically depressed. I don’t do depressed well, but I am learning. Earlier this month, I had a particularly bad two weeks, with hundreds of hives covering my legs, a fever, and overall exhaustion. I wept at the doctor’s office. I wept watching people eat and drink normally. I cried with my husband who has been a rock and asks God on a regular basis to give my illness to him. I would never want him to have this. I would not wish this on even the most hateful person. It is too much, all the time.
In the midst of the storm, while surrounded by a loving family, I often feel alone. This illness will not kill me, but I often wonder if the length of life matters when the quality is severed to an exposed nerve. I have been thinking about this a lot of late. With the suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, I find myself thinking about the emotions, emptiness, and desperation that bring a human to end their life. I don’t plan on doing so. In fact, I love life. I want more of it. I want all of it. But, I want it with bubble baths, a nice merlot and perhaps an occasional shrimp cocktail. I want to stop itching. I want my body back. I want to make plans, and follow through with them. I want who I was before, but with the insight that illness can rob you of all your favorite things in a heartbeat.
Anthony and Kate could no longer face their storms, and I get it. I hate it. I despise the psychological trials and suffering that humans must endure. But, I get it. Trying to continually find the sun, when illness (mental or physical) casts you in darkness is not just hard. It is like repeatedly climbing to the top of a jagged, razor-sharp mountain and sliding to base camp on your naked, swollen belly. It is an oozy, puss-filled wound that scars over, only to be yanked open again and again.
When I first learned of these celebrity suicides, I asked the same question as most, “Why?” Then, as I settled into another day of bruised skin, blistering pain and endless scratching, I realized that sometimes, dragging yourself up when your bones are made of glass and your brain swims with what you’re missing, does not seem doable. If you feel like this today, I get it, I feel it. I know you. Let’s help each other. Let’s keep our candles burning and help each other see at least a glimmer of light.
If you need me, I am here. (912) 695-5552. Call me. Leave a message if I do not answer. I will call you back. If you want to text, I’m up for that too. Humans suffer, but we do not need to do it alone.
If you feel like you can’t take a minute more. Dial this number. Do it. You can. You should. You need to make it one more day, one more hour, one more precious moment.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Blessings that if you are suffering, you know you are not alone.