Wednesday, April 18, 2012

War Stories

I'm having a hard time.

A hard, hard, beat the steering wheel with my fists, pace around my room, cry in the shower, doom-thinking hard time.

I don't know where I'm going with this post. I do not have a set goal. I did have set goals, originally. And then, especially, when I began to improve, my goal was to share how I was doing so. I began that when I posted about my vegan diet-which, is still helping, yes. However, what was a good, solid few months turned into a downward spiral, and I can't see the way out right now.

I'm kind of tired of statements such as "life isn't fair", and "this too shall pass." Alright, well it kind of sucks right now and I don't care if it will pass. In this very moment, I have things to do, I have a life to live, and I am tired of being plagued with this.

Tired. Tired is not even the word. I'm kind of losing my mind. No, no, I am definitely losing my mind. I don't know what it is about when I hit a difficult flare, but I tend to go into this "doom thinking" as I call it. Suddenly, the dreams and goals I had for myself seem so far away. I gasp for breathe as I cry over the thought of not being a therapist, a mommy, all of the things I've dreamed of.

I belong with people. I'm kind of good with people. It's one of the few things I'm good at. I don't know why this is happening. I don't know why, a month before graduation, something I have been working for for 3 years, I have hit an earth shattering flare. I feel trapped. I don't feel safe. I feel angry.

I had to speak to my supervisor today about the state of my health, as I missed several days of work last week and had to leave early today. She was understanding and kind, however there is one statement that she made that I can't quite shake. She told me that as a counselor, and as a woman, she had this intuition that there was "something else" going on with me, such as "a bad relationship or a chronic, underlying depression." I paused, partly shocked, partly offended, partly half dead anyway. I took it in. Then, it hit me.

"When I first became ill, many doctors did not know what was wrong with me. Two, specifically, told me I would not live through this. Every time I become ill, with any similar symptoms to that difficult time in my life, I remember their words, and I am afraid I will go back there, I am afraid I will die."

Yes, I said this to my boss.


Rather than regret that moment, I am proud of it. Don't let anyone tell you the pain inside you is from some deep, underlying depression. Don't let anyone make your pain out to be less than what it is. This is your body. This is your life. I own my words, I own my feelings, and I own my experience.

Today was quite a revelation. One I still have not completely wrapped my head around. But what I do know is this- I am stronger than I used to be. In the past, I would have taken her statement and let it be. Today, I defended myself. I told my story. I was vulnerable, I was open, I was..human. Completely, painfully, torturously human.

We all have a story. Don't let anyone dictate yours, or question what is behind your feelings. The world needs more people like you to share your story, so people know they are not alone. You are not alone. Wear your war story. Nothing good can come of this if it's never told.


  1. Laura, I could have written this many a day, and yesterday was one of them. The pain cycles for me too, and the good periods just make the bad ones harder to bear, especially when you've been trying so damn hard to help yourself. On my bad days, life seems like more than I can bear. So, kiddo, I do understand, and tears ran down my eyes when I read this. You won't get any pat wisdom from me, and I even wouldn't presume to give you advice, but only to say that I very much care that you are in pain. I also want to say that you write beautifully. It was more than the fact that we are both in pain that touched me; it was the sheer power of your writing.

  2. You are going to survive this. You have a purpose, and you have so much to do, and so much to change. You've already made a large footprint in a number of people's worlds, but you're one of those individuals that's going to spend a lifetime changing and molding lives. You will get there. I just don't know how, when, or how much you'll have to painstakingly, excrutiatingly endure before it happens.

    I'm so proud of you. And, I'm so grateful that our really horribly bumpy paths have crossed. Hundreds of people in the future will feel the same way I do; incredibly lucky just to know you.

    I wish I had the answer tonight. I don't. But I'm going to be here until you find one. I personally despise the phrase "this too shall pass". It often feels like a slap in the face. What I will tell you though, is that this moment in your life will morph into something. Something that isn't as dark and ugly and painful. There's another side to this, one that's brighter and holds the solution that you're looking for. I'm going to pray tonight that it finds you soon.


  3. Laura,
    I've been reading your blog since this start of this year, and am absolutely in love. I'm currently undiagnosed, and I feel some of the same things you write about. Today's post was what I needed to hear. So thank you, for encouraging me in those dark, lonely days and believing in me when I didn't think anyone could. Sometimes just one person is enough to make you feel like you're not alone, that you can get through this.
    Thank you for using your struggles to encourage people like me, because you really did, and do, help me get through those dark days.
    Thank you for believing in me and encouraging me, and I'm going to be here, believing in you.
    Pray you get some answers soon
    Love and Hugs

  4. Hi. I don't think I have POTS. So I can never fully understand what you must be going through. But I have the same symptoms that started suddenly one day after a wild night.

    I just wanted to let you know that having been through the symptoms (without answers) I have seen a glimpse of how scary your life must be. I just want you to know that I believe you and I get your sentiments. Each and every one. I'm sorry that you had to deal with a person's ignorance in judging the cause of your illness. Please don't let it bother you. You are so inspirational to me. I have seen your videos and how you attempt to stay positive in the face of this debilitating condition.. how you try to find the silver lining in all of this. I recall you posted about Christmas eve how the real meaningful part of a persona is how one makes the people around her feel about themselves. It's not the accomplishments, the awards, and achievements but how you behave yourself in life that really matters. I saw your video and you know what I thought? I said., what a lucky girl! Because most people don't have that optimistic viewpoint despite having everything. But you are a special girl with an amazing personality. You can find some consolation in the fact that you inspire people to be good. I see the humanitarian side in you and I adore that, because its rare to see selfless people with a good heart and that genuine desire to help others.

    I am a guy with the same symptoms as you (although not as intense as yours, i suspect) I see how no one really actually has a clue about how nerve wrecking it can be to have arrhythmia. i told my friends that i walk down the stairs and my heart rate jumps phenomenally and guess what they cracked jokes about it. I laughed too, i figured its best if everyone just laughs rather then crying about it. i have found that no one takes you that seriously because you look all good on the outside. Your family although they don't say it out loud, but they expect you to snap out of it already. so, i made a decision and told my friends and family that i'm starting to feel better. i find that i can concentrate more on myself this way without having to explain to everyone the symptoms and having to answer all the annoying questions.

    Anyway, my doctors found a bacterial infection in my stomach which supposedly occurs from drinking contaminated water and he thinks that is the main culprit. So, I'm on treatment for that and hopeful that eliminating the bacteria eliminates the symptoms for me. i hate feeling dizzy and unable to focus. i have so much to achieve and i have to will to achieve it but its such a depressing thing when your body betrays you like that.

    I hope you find peace, i hope you find a permanent solution for your symptoms. Please stay positive and stay determined. I understand how emotionally tolling it can be when your body doesn't keep up with all your hopes and desires. All I can say is just please keep in mind that there are people out there who watch your videos, and read your blogs and they derive their inspiration from you.. so, for others, pleas stay strong.

  5. " i have found that no one takes you that seriously because you look all good on the outside."

    Which is why I look more to my blog friends than to my face-to-face friends for support. In defense of the latter, I'll mention that it's hard for them to know what to say in order to be supportive, especially as the years go by. Also, they can't be blamed for not understanding what they haven't experienced--I know I don't understand the experience of being shot at. Killer, as for your buddies making jokes, I don't know what that was about, but I very much doubt that they meant to be callous.

  6. @Snowbrush- Yes, that's true. I wouldn't have been sensitive enough myself if a friend came upto me 3 months ago and said the same thing. In fact, you know what's kind of ironic is I met this friend of a friend and he seemed kind of a weirdo. Like he just didn't have his things together. And I immediately disliked this guy and told my friend so. He told me I was being harsh without knowing his story. He told me that the guy had this anxiety thing where he has attacks out of nowhere and he on medication for it. God forgive me, I literately laughed and called him a drag queen (not to his face) To be fair, I didn't totally discredit his condition. I just refused to believe that there is such a thing as mere anxiety without any underlying biological problems. I told him that this guy should stop taking meds for anxiety and try to figure out what triggers the symptoms.. which is something i still believe.

    But god.., I was judgmental and insensitive towards his illness. I feel really bad about that now.

  7. "I just refused to believe that there is such a thing as mere anxiety without any underlying biological problems."

    Even if you're correct, your implied certainty that such problems would have been found (or even could have been found with such tests as are now available) strikes me as excessively optimistic as does your faith in someone's ability to sit in a chair, as it were, and figure out why he's anxious. As for my pain, I can't get an answer as to whether it's neurological, orthopedic, or both, so, in the lack of such information, I could assume that it has no biological cause, and thus try to figure out why I think I'm hurting. With increased exposure to modern medicine, a person comes to expect less and less from it to even diagnose, much less cure, many problems.