[Journal] Tonight is a bad night

There’s simply nothing to make one feel more alone in the world than knowing that if you publicly ask for help, all the wrong people are going to answer.

Tonight isn’t a good night for me. It’s now almost 3am and that means I’ve been sitting on the very cusp of a full-blown anxiety attack for almost 9 hours. Despite taking all my medication and two beta-blockers (which are supposed to help with the fight/flight response), I’ve not been able to calm down. I’m on the edge of tears over nothing at all. I literally cried because I watched an episode of My Little Pony. I don’t know, really.

I’m in both physical and emotional pain, the latter being the worse of the two tonight. I’ve tried everything that normally helps. Everything. Hell, I’ve tried to go out and do a thing, have a social life and expand my brain a bit. Just shrug off the fear that some kind of horrible doom is impending or that life as I know it will crumble before me. I had a thumping heart and adrenaline rush the whole way there, the whole time I was there and the whole way home. I’m somewhere between proud of myself for achieving what I have so far, and filled with crippling doubt and emotional exhaustion.

Tonight is one of those nights where I wanted desperately to reach out to a friend, but because of the time and the day, nobody I want to talk to about something like this was around. I don’t hold it against any of them. I spoke to manthing, but sometimes you just want to talk to someone who hasn’t heard it all before, and I feel like the ones that were available would hear me, but wouldn’t actually listen.

I’m hesitant to write about personal issues and things involving friends on my blog these days, namely because I know that a few follow it through one way or another. A major fear of mine is that, in revealing how I really feel about things, I’ll face repercussions for it in person. It’s one of the reasons that I’ve deliberately kept this blog entirely anonymous. On that note, I will expect any individual that knows me in person to show me the respect I deserve here and not confront me over my views and feelings. If you respect me as a person and, indeed, as a friend, you will understand that sometimes one simply can’t be upfront and honest in the way we intent. We don’t want to hurt feelings or upset people, but to deny our own reactions and emotions is exactly what put me in this shitty place tonight to begin with.

I have some bad people in my life right now, and it really comes to the fore on a night like tonight when there’s a stark realisation that all my mental health support network no longer exists. Once upon a time, I had a ‘family’, I had close friends, I had people I called brother and sister and I felt safe. I felt like, even though I might come across monsters in the dark, I would always have those people behind me. In the last year, everything changed. People I trusted abused my emotions in the worst possible ways. In unforgivable, selfish, twisted ways when I begged for help and respite. My needs were shunted aside when I needed people most, while they marched up and dumped their life on my doorstep and looked at me expectantly. People I trusted beyond what I probably should have. People that I respected and gave a little bit of myself to. “Keep it safe, please”. Instead, they used it as a front door to my emotions and time. They played on my emotions and my intrinsic need to have people in my life when it was obvious to everyone but me that this was doing more harm than good.

So tonight, when I need someone to turn to, someone to tell me that “you know what, it’s going to be okay. I know you’re afraid now, you’re allowed to be afraid, but it’ll get better and you won’t need the fear tomorrow, so leave it here”, I have a crushing sense of loneliness. Even when manthing is one room over. I need these people in my life again. The friends, the lovers, the family, and I have only empty spaces where my impression of people once stood; their figures having wandered somewhere far from here, leaving only disappointment and child-like pain in their shadows. I find myself on a night like tonight struggling with demons that often feel lager than myself, and instead of people that listen, I have people who hear what they want and talk about themselves. I have people that tell me they understand and, on nights like tonight, I find that more of an insult than a comfort, because they don’t. They can’t feel my heart beating into a cavity the child in me has carved out with scratching nails and wild eyes. They can’t see the way it’s filled with terror from everything – named and nameless – and they don’t understand that the one thing I need tonight is someone who will truly listen and simply say “I am here for you. Please talk to me. Let me listen”.

Instead, I have people that ignore my outright plea for help to substitute it for something else that they find more fitting. Instead of understanding that, ultimately, I need to walk through this on my own, but want someone to wait for me at the other side, they walk next to me and tell me about all the woes and troubles they’re facing and do nothing but load the wagon I’m dragging down an already rocky road. I know if the wheels fall off, they won’t stop to help. They will take my stopping as a queue to simply heap more baggage on. I say this with experience.
Any other night I take that on willingly. Any other night, I grit my teeth as a simple greeting becomes a segue for them spewing their grief on me and expecting me to be a therapist. I’m not, and I likely never will be, by choice. I find my friendships abused time and time again by people mistaking my concern for their welfare for an open invitation to dump their life story on me and then demand I fix it for them. But not tonight.

Tonight I have been afraid of making it known that I need help, because the people that will answer are the ones with an agenda – they’re the ones time and time again that will see my unhappiness and take that as an excuse to ride the misery wagon in what they seem to think is tandem. The problem is that they don’t help me pull, they sit and expect me to do the work, and I’m finding that time and time again, that hurts more than all the fear and heartache in the world – knowing that this person holds their own issues in higher regard than yours but wraps them up in paper and presents them to you as a gift, and expects you to say thank you.

I have some beautiful, wonderful people in my life. I have the people that tell me that I’ve always got someone on my side, I have the ones that DO understand because I know they’ve walked that road before. I have people that respect my boundaries and, while we can commiserate together, they know that everyone has limits, including themselves. Right now, however, is one of those rare times when I feel that none of these people are around. They very well might be, but in one of those silly moments where I want to show them the same consideration they’ve shown me as a friend, I find myself very hesitant to message someone at 3am just to talk. I suppose this is somewhat of a self-dug hole where I find myself placing the needs of others before my own, but friendships are about give and take, not clinging to a drowning man and expecting him to take you back to shore.

Tonight, I am unwell. I have a sickness, a malaise of the mind and heart that is just as real as any other kind of injury or disease. Tonight I am going to crawl into bed, curl up close to manthing and do the same thing I would do for any cold or flu – sleep it off and hope I feel a little better tomorrow.

Happyy Blogaversary to me!

Firstly, I’d like to announce that According to Abigail has been active for two years as of yesterday 🙂 It’s a pretty spectacular landmark for me, especially considering some mornings I can’t even put my pants on the right way. Thank you to each and every one of you for following or getting involved with my blog over the last 24 months. It means a hell of a lot to me. You guys have been my strength and support on my shitty days and the reason I laugh on my good ones.

I hope that the next 12 months will allow me to bring you more comics, more interesting insults and a lot more Abi.

Speaking of, some of you may be wondering why I’ve been quiet lately. Truth is, I haven’t been well. Today I had to put out an announcement to friends of mine after the issues came to a head.

Consider this a PSA. The reason I ask people to be so god damn careful about sickness around me is this:

At [my last big event], I was given a case of tonsillitis from someone I knew. I was exceedingly unimpressed. It sucked, but wasn’t overly nasty. I considered myself fairly lucky. After a week of shit, I thought I had mostly recovered, but my sinuses played up again. And again. And again. Now a month on, after fighting off the same sinus infection, it’s gotten to the point where I can’t breathe and wake up gasping at night. My sinuses are nothing but blood and mucus. It’s now considered ‘chronic’ by my GP with the rest of my health issues and I’m on some seriously hardcore antibiotics to try and kick it. Continuous round one and two over the next 10 days. If nothing has been resolved by next Thursday, we go in for round three.

This is not fun. This is not a game. My physical health depends on the vigilance of those around me. I go to GREAT pains to avoid bugs, including sacrificing my in-person social life when I’m in a high-risk period. There’s a reason I ask my friends to get the flu shot. There is a reason I ask you to stay the hell away from me when you’re sick and infectious. There is a very good reason I rarely share food or drink with anyone aside from Kieran. It’s not just because I’m a rampant bitch, or at least that’s not the only reason. My immune system sucks. I’m vulnerable to shit that a healthy body would laugh at. If I end up getting the common cold, I’m in bed for a week in complete agony. Getting sick for me involves so much more than just having a cough or a sore throat. It physically pushes my body and immune system to it’s limits. It’s negligence of the most basic rules of being sick that can land me in hospital.

Don’t be that guy/girl, or I WILL slap the everloving shit out of you when I recover.

I still have a hard time wrapping my head around how someone can be aware of the fact that I am a chronic illness kitty, but still so completely mind-numbingly dense to the necessary precautions to take. Hell, not just around me, but when you’re sick with something as virulent as tonsillitis.

So, long story short, I’m not sleeping well, I feel like shit and I’m constantly run down due to the fact that my already stressed body is having to fight this shit off all over again. Because of the physical stress, I’m likewise in a pain flare and having all sorts of fun. Until I start feeling a bit better, I might just lie low a little while longer and love on you all extra hard when I get back ❤

Keep being awesome!

[Journal] God damn it

You may have noticed that I have been absent for the last little while. Things are tough on this end.

I had the procedure to repair the damage done to my toe by that arse hat of a doctor. Been keeping off my feet the last few days and in considerable pain. It’s been pouring rain here the last half a week. I’ve had a major pain flare, and then the weather-associated-fuckery to boot, and then the angry toe on top of all of that. I’m a misery burrito right now. Three layers of clothing and then a fluffy bath robe over the top of all of that. I am an angry pinata full of swear words and hatred for everyone and everything. Like assholes who manage to take up two parking spots in something the size of a Prius. When one of those parking spots is a disabled one. The spot I need to use on days like today. If people insist on parking like abortions, I may just have to start keeping a chalk marker in my bag and covering their windows in veiny phallus drawings.

Anyway, I’ve had ideas for comics but just no ability to really hold a pen steady. I’ve also got work for a client that needs to be done, but the same issue. Can’t hold an engraving tool when your hands are wonky as fuck. It would appear that the horribly drowsy side effects of the… Lyrica. That one. I knew it had something to do with music. The Lyrica is evening out. But now I’m also being weaned off the Cymbalta and today is my first day without so I’m wonky in the brain department, having shooting nerve pain, random dizzy spells and want to throw up on people purely out of spite.

if I can get my body to sort it’s shit out, I’ll be back in the swing of things soon. I need to make a few posts, catch up on my reading and nominate some awesome people for an award I was given (which I haven’t forgotten about!).

Anyway, this is as much as I can brain right now.

– Abi

I hate birthdays

Sketch430369Night before our house inspection, my body is in the process of going full retard. The household has collectively spent the last week cleaning like Dobby on a bender of red bull and cocaine.

I don’t relish the idea of strangers walking through our house to inspect the place now that it’s for sale, but that’s one of the perils of renting, I suppose.

IInterestingly enough, it’s now four days until my birthday – that fateful day I was stolen from a place of carefree floating, bladder kicking and the god forsaken jam, ice cream and gherkins my host would eat. I like to think I made a good parasite for what it’s worth. I can’t say I’m terribly looking forward to my birthday this year.

As usual, events like thing bring with it a lot of terrible memories from my old life. Massive domestics between mum and dad, being put into utter tears on what’s supposed to be a special day, being told you’re the reason the house isn’t eating tonight because you wanted a little backyard party with your friends. Shit that just doesn’t go away easy. Every year, my birthday was the day I got blackmailed by my mother about finances, hated by my father because he wasn’t getting the attention, molested by my grandparents because mum made me go see them and then got laughed ant and teased by my peers because I was the token poor kid and couldn’t afford the birthday cake for the class or the fancy party at the mini golf place. Every year I had secretly hoped it was all a giant ruse and, on my special day, I’d come home from school and all my friends would jump out and yell “SURPRISE!”. My parents never really knew my social life well enough to orchestrate something like that and my sister was in no better position, so it was one of those fitful, bittersweet hopes that helped me get by the rest of the year but came back to bite me on that day.

Since those years I’ve done what I can to make the best of a shitty memory and to try and put some new ones over the top. Once my sporting club surprised me with a trip to the riding ranch with the rest of the guys. Watching medievalists climb on to horses and not fall off was one of the funnier things I’ve seen. I’ve organised little get together here and there, working within what I can afford and around the busy lives of friends. I’ve genuinely done my best to try and shrug off the mantle of bad memories, but given all the shit at this time of year right now, it’s been harder than most times around.

We have to find a new place to live. I’m (very recently) being investigated for breast cancer. I’ve had a major flare in both the pain and fatigue departments. I guess the shit is just blocking out the more shiny memories right now and I’m really not feeling it. To be honest, part of me just wants to pretend it’s like any other boring day of the year and that my birthday doesn’t exist at all, but I’m sure I’ll regret that just as much in the long run.

Manthing ‘snuck’ out of the house tonight to get me a present. I had been avoiding blogging about this for a while now ( good old head in the sand trick) but having that kind of attention cast my way made me feel all kinds of uncomfortable. I can’t even explain why. I kind of wanted to curl up, not let him leave the house and pretend nothing was happening. I almost suspect part of my brain of trying to deliberately sabotage the situation so I just have another bad memory of the day, because at least that’s familiar.

Right now, I’m going to try and do that sleep thing and simply focus on getting past the inspection tomorrow.  Once that’s done, we find out when they want to hold the open homes and we can work out plans from there. Just work on breathing easy and taking things one day at a time.

Through the other side

You may have noticed it’s been quite some time since I last posted here in my little blog. In case you missed out on the news, I moved house between now and the last time I bothered you all. The new place is wonderful and has made life a lot easier in certain aspects of my life, including my health. I now have have a house with minimal stairs, LOTS of space for when I’m having my bad days, my own personal bathroom so I don’t have to make a trek across the mountains to use the bathroom of a night, and I also have access to a BATH.

It’s amazing how much these little things can make a difference. I’m finding that, now we’re settling in, I can self-manage my health issues better (when they’re manageable, but I’ll get to that), my stress levels have gone down in regards to petty household stuff, and I now actually have the space to move and breathe. I no longer feel like a sardine in a tiny little can.

This is what our bed feels like now. Not actually our bed, but god does it feel big.

Manthing is also doing much better now that we’re out of our old house. He especially likes the fact that I no longer have to climb over him to get out of bed when I need to use the bathroom of a night. We can have the double bed with access to both sides 😀 I also no longer have to bother him to put the phone on charge or to pass me things I need since I have my own bedside table. See what I mean when I was saying it’s all about the little things?

So, the new house is great. We live in a nice quiet area. I’m not kidding. We’re actually across the road from a cemetery here, but it’s amazingly peaceful and not at all creepy. Rather than the usual grave stones, we’re across from the family garden section, so our view is of well-tended gardens, sandstone boulders and manicured lawns. Mind you, they DO have the barbed wire on the fence facing IN, so in the event of a zombie uprising, we should at least have time to grab our pointed sticks.

Now, speaking of manageable health issues, the move didn’t go very smoothly. I learned the hard way what my body’s ‘hard’ limits are. In terms of BDSM, hard limits are anything you WILL NOT do under any circumstances. In this instance, my body’s hard limits are being pushed to a certain point, going without rest and being shunted along on energy drinks. I had minimal rest, a major pain flare the week before the move, Shark Week also decided to show up for it’s once-every-six-month visit that same week and I was so run down it wasn’t funny. However, half the people that said they’d offer us help for the move bailed on us and we were left with myself, Manthing, our other housemate and one other friend over the weekend of the move. To put it frankly, it was bullshit, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

To cut to the chase, I ended up in hospital with heart palpitations, headspins and my body generally giving me a big “FUCK YOU!”. I got strapped to a 24-hour EKG (that was a very un-fun experience, as was trying to wash the contact goo off afterwards), I pushed myself into another massive flare up and basically slept for a week afterwards.

Quoth the body…

It took me almost two weeks to recover from that stupidity and I’ve learned my lesson in that area. However, my body is still punishing me. Because of that incident, I’ve had a big follow-on Fibro flare up and my Chronic Fatigue is presently kicking my arse. I’m heading into what we call the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ week where my CFS basically renders me bedridden and otherwise useless until I rest as much as my Evil Overlords demand. At the same time, I’ve had to get two ugly ingrown toenails dug out, so my left big toe looks like it lost a fight with a blender (and feels about the same) and my ladyparts are having some kind of spastic attack where I’m now lactating out of just one breast. Fucked if I know why. I’ve had the blood tests and the ultrasounds and they’ve all come back negative for chest-bursters and hormonal reasons, so it seems that my body is just exercising it’s right to hit that next level of crazy.

On top of all of these things, I’ve had some massive financial issues hit me lately. See, I finally got accepted for Disability Pension. Over here, it’s not an easy process at all. It involves more scrutiny than a full cavity search at the airport, and less humanity. I won’t go into details, but the point is that I finally got confirmation that I had been granted the payments. This in itself was a wonderful thing as I wouldn’t have to worry about where my next rent payment was coming from and I wouldn’t have to beg my mother to cover the cost of my medications. The amount I was granted was also enough for us to afford a better place – see: where we live presently. So things were looking up. We moved out, it was fantastic and I was finally getting somewhere. I was paying off people I owed, I was going to be able to afford access to the heated pools at the local gym in a few months and, god forbid, I’d be able to put a bit of money into my business.

Twice they screwed up my paperwork and I hunted them down to make sure they corrected it both times. The third time they screwed me around, they changed my payrate to less than half of what I was getting (and what I was promised!), AFTER we had already signed a 6-month lease for the new property and had moved out. I spent 6 hours on phone calls to various departments, different social workers and generally being degraded by the people on the other end of the phone. Long story short, they had screwed up initially, and had done so HARD. In point of fact they had actually lied to me about the rate I’d be getting. Yes, the one I confirmed twice with them and the one I based my decisions off.

So things are a little complicated now. I’m in a new and more expensive house, I have stuff I can no longer afford, I can’t get certain basic needs met and I’m struggling to make ends meet. On the upside, I still have my pension card so my mother no longer has to pay for my medication. They still cost me about $100 a month, even with the subsidies, but all of my money goes towards that now. The really shitty bit is that Manthing and I sat down and worked this out. My payments were cut because of his wages. If he lost his job and became my full-time carer here, my rate would go back up, he’d get the full amount and we’d actually be bringing in more than he’s earning at the moment. Mind you, he’s earning a dollar above minimum wage which is the stupid bit. I still don’t understand how a Government can allow it’s most vulnerable people to essentially rot when there’s no option for them to return to work. I’m trying to get the business up and running again as quickly as I can after the move, but with all the health issues you can imagine just how easy that is.

So I’m here trying to manage my day-to-day life with Queen HateYourFace throwing a wobbly (yes, I’m referring to my body), trying to balance household finances and not let it eat at me, and on top of it all, because of how run down I’ve been, I’ve also had massive depression issues :/ Depression is one of those stupid things that everyone seems to know about but nobody really seems to know what it involves. It’s like knowing that Mister Smith down the road has this issue where he farts a lot, but you don’t really know why, nor do you bother to question it.

To give you an insight into depression in my case – as I must impress upon you all that it is different for each and every person – imagine all the worst things about yourself, take a picture, and put that over every mirror in the house. You’ve also got this little gnome that follows you around the house and kicks you in your joints (because there is a physical side associated with depression) when you’re not looking. He also spits, swears, points out everything that’s wrong in the house and is the voice in your ear telling you everything you’ve failed at, everything you can’t do and all the things you should be miserable about.

You’re a sick, useless butt head. You smell, you’re ugly and nobody loves you. Yeah, even that guy you’ve lived with for 3 years. He’s sick of your shit. Everyone’s sick of your shit. You’ll never amount to anything because you’re always the sick one and nobody wants to deal with that. Best of all, guess what? You can’t do a damn thing about it!

– Grognar the shitfaced Gnome

So I’m here dealing with all these physical issues beating me up. On top of that, the chemical imbalance in my brain has decided to help tag team me as well. Fortunately I’m really lucky living where I do. I’m one of those privileged people that has access to a reasonable free healthcare system and, because of that, access to a therapist. She and I have done a lot of talking about the issues at hand and have been able to identify key points I beat myself up over. We’ve worked out a plan of attack, per se, and I’m slowly working on kicking Grognar’s hairy little arse out of my house. All the other issues will be dealt with later once I have a stable head back on my shoulders.

I know this has probably been a bit of a marathon read, but for someone that doesn’t normally blog I can assure you that it’s been just as much of an endurance event. As part of my commitment to kick depression’s arse and get my shit back on track, I’ve promise to keep this blog active and see every post as an achievement, whether it’s a written post, a meme or a comic I’ve drawn. I can’t promise a post every day or even every few days, but I will do what I can and I have nothing but the greatest admiration and gratitude for those of you that have followed my blog (all 40 of you. That’s utterly insane!) because it’s you people that have made me commit to getting my story out there. It’s because I know that someone somewhere will read this that I will continue writing, and I’m going to learn to love doing it for my own reasons as we go.

I do actually have a slightly more bright post lined up for you all in the next few days 🙂 I’m also making a point of getting back into drawing my little single-page comics since they’ve been so well received here.

I honestly hope you’ve all been keeping well in my absence and I’d love to hear what you’ve all been up to, even if you’d prefer to message me privately. I’d really love to get to know you all!

Anyhoo, it’s late here and my bed is making sexy eyes at me. I think it’s time I go and get some shut-eye.

– Abigail

Spring is here!

It is now Spring here in Australia. What better excuse for a fresh start?

 

It’s been a while since I last updated this blog. For many reasons, it’s a very good thing. It gave me a chance to think a lot of things over without just simply venting them. It gave me a chance to work out what I’d like to do with this blog and how I’d like other people to relate to it. It also gave me more motivation to actually do something about this.

 

So, without further ado, I’d like to make this blog a bit of a light-hearted point for people with chronic illnesses to come along and have a laugh. I’d like to be able to have a weekly video blog about my life, my business and my little achievements. Things that made me smile. I’ll still be drawing those comics. Right now, I’m aiming for one a week, or one every few days. Eventually, I’d like to get back into making one a day and hopefully go about improving my art skills while I’m at it. Most importantly, I want to be able to share what it’s like to live in my life. I want to have a place to share my good days and the little bits that make me proud, but I also want a place where I can express frustration, anger or sadness over some of the trials day-to-day life brings me.

 

I want to be able to connect with the community here and the greater community across other sites, those that are in the same crap boat as I am, those that are curious as to what it’s like living with a chronic illness or those that just want to come along and follow a little bit of my life. I encourage readers to ask questions, to respond to things that resonate with them and to just share something that might make them laugh 🙂

 

So, I’ve made a deal with myself about this and I very much plan on sticking to it. Who knows where this could lead…