Sunday, January 29, 2017

༺ Thoughts On Surviving Spoonie Life ༻

*Warning: this post contains discussion on physical and mental health, and may be distressing or contain triggers. Please be aware of this before proceeding.*

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Sometimes I really don’t know what to say, you know? ……

It’s not like I don’t have things that I want to write about ~ it’s just that the topic seems so huge, where do I even begin?

2016. I have to go back to 2016. For a variety of reasons, it is officially the worst year of my life.

That’s saying something as I’ve had some rough years before, and there were some pretty strong contenders for that title. However, this one takes the cake, the cow, and the blue ribbon.

Usually, at the end of each year and at the start of a new one I like to recap. I’ll look at my goals, see which ones I achieved, and make new ones. I like love making lists ~ starting out with fresh ambitions and a bright new day.

But this year, I have barely crawled out in one piece, so there’s been none of that.

Maybe you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been blogging much, and maybe you haven’t; but this is my story, and I want to share it in hopes that it might help. Not just someone out there, but me too if I’m completely honest. Writing is therapeutic for me, and I’ve missed it.

So why did I just randomly stop?

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It’s a long story. I hope you have a pot of tea nearby, because a cup ain’t going to cut it this time.

Two and a half years ago, when I was six months pregnant with my youngest child, I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism ~ basically my thyroid gland is not working the way it should, it is not producing the thyroid hormones my body needs.

{Quick side note: The thyroid is part of the Endocrine system which is the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things.

The endocrine system is made up of the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, pancreas, reproductive systems. So basically, it affects everything.}

As I was pregnant, we couldn’t do much to treat it at the time, but could only support the rest of my body as much as possible. Even still, doing that, I was severely sick throughout the duration of my pregnancy. 36 weeks of all day “morning” sickness. Not fun.

Once Lottie was born, my body was not as sick and it seemed like things were going ok for a while, but at around six months postpartum when the last of the pregnancy hormones left my system, things took a tumble for the worse.

No matter what treatments I tried, what blood tests I took, nothing seemed to be helping ~ or it would help for a little while, then my body would adjust to the treatment and I’d regress. I’d loose all of my energy, and end up spending a lot of time on the couch or my bed. This continued for a year or so, and we made little progress treating my health problems.

And then a bunch of stuff fell apart outside of my health to make things worse. A lot worse.

Around about the middle of the year, 2016 spiralled into a series of stressful, horrid events which I could do nothing about.

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I gave up on blogging.

I gave up on riding.

I gave up on having a strong body.

I gave up on who I was, who I could be, who I wanted to become.

I gave up on everything except surviving. One day. At a time.

For everyone, survival looks like different things ~ for me, it meant that I had to accept that I was now living the life of a spoonie. I was suffocating in my own body ~ trapped by events I had no way of changing, and no control over where they took me.

I had to accept that I couldn’t do the things I wanted to, hell, most days I couldn’t even do the things I needed to.

Some days it meant that I’d force myself out of bed, crawl into whatever clothes I’d left on the floor last night, only to collapse back down on the edge of the bed ~ utterly, completely exhausted. I’d have to rest, just because I chose to lift my body upright today.

Sometimes it meant that I’d eat with my eyes closed, waiting five minutes to lift my spoon of beans to my mouth because it was too heavy to pick up. I was too tired to sustain my own body.

And sometimes I was simply doing nothing more than trying to conserve my energy, to keep it at a slow trickle to get through the day, all the while the things that I’d given up on staring me in the face.

Keeping the house clean. Cooking. Washing. Exercising. Spending time outside. Spending time playing with my children. Spending time with friends and family. Basically, anything that required energy.

I was glad for the days that were good ~ the days that I could at least put on one load of washing and not have to take a four hour nap in the afternoon, but they were happening less and less frequently. Once a week. Once a month. Once every two months…

Not at all.

And when things collapsed in the middle of the year ~ this caused a spiral of events that pushed me to the stage where I was barely functioning on a day to day basis. I shuffled around in a shell; my body a prison that kept me going but denied me the ability to live.

Every day felt like I was suffocating, smothered by the weight of my own existence. I felt like I was drowning in black tar pit that was sucking me down so deep I couldn’t even lift a finger to ask for help as I lay there, petrifying breath by breath.

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I spent the last six months of 2016 in this hole, and I kept telling myself; I just have to get to the new year ~ I just have to get on my new medication, and I can get through this.

And to some degree, I was right.

I am on new medication now. It yanked me through the mangler as my body adjusted to it, but even as I felt sicker, somehow I still started to feel a tiny bit better. And that has been improving.

What I haven’t come to terms with yet is the damage done to my mental health as I dragged myself through this last year.


Lack of confidence in any and all decisions I might choose to make.

Believing with all my heart that I. cannot. do. this.

Foggy thinking.

Running away from my problems.

Choosing not to give of myself, knowing that I have no energy to give.

Choosing not to care. Over, and over, and over again.

Retreating into a shell.

Shutting myself away from the world.

Guilt. Guilt. Guilt. Guilt. So much damn guilt for trying to survive, but giving up on everything to do that.


So I ask myself as I look at all the struggle I’ve been through, now knowing that the medication may fix my body’s imbalance {God willing}, but that it won’t fix my mental health ~ this is a weakness I feel riddling me with holes. The weakness that keeps me trapped and cowering in my hole, and I ask myself ~ where do I go from here?

How do I become stronger again?

How do I survive… this?

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I need to ditch the unhealthy self-preservation habits ~ stress eating, stress shopping, burying myself in social media so that I don’t have to see the problems in front of my eyes… and – the silence…

I spent too much of this year trying to run away from the things around me, and too much of it locked up in my head. I was isolated. A choice I made without taking the steps to realise that I had chosen.

I didn’t talk about most of it ~ I couldn’t.

How could I make my friends and family understand how bone-achingly exhausting each and every day was for me? How could I explain that I was shattered, empty of any thing- every thing- that I had to give, to grow from? How could I explain that I wasn’t going under: I was done. Deep in the midnight zone with every inch of my body crushed by mountainous pressure…

They’d ask me how I was going; I’d say “I’m tired, but what else is new!”

Haha. So funny.

I tried not to complain because I didn’t see the point. They couldn’t change my body, change my life ~ make things simpler, or easier… They couldn’t give me what I needed.

But maybe they could have helped ease the burden that was drowning me.

I don’t know.

Maybe I should have tried to explain?

But looking back, I know why I didn’t.

Because that would have required energy I simply did not have.

It’s only now, now that I am a smidgen better, now that I am on new medications that appear to be helping my thyroid functions, that I even have the energy to really think about and analyse what I was going through.

Before then, I was simply surviving.

And now I have to move onto something more than that.

I have to start living again.

And I know, this isn’t pretty. I’m sorry if it’s too close to home, or too long and painful to read. But like I said, I had to write this partly for me, and partly for anyone out there who may have been experiencing one, or all, or more, of these things themselves.

Because you are never alone in the struggle to survive, or indeed, the struggle to live.

Even in the midst of it all, I had hands helping to pull me up again. I thought I wouldn’t be able to stand, and there those arms would be; lifting me up so that I could take that one step further. My amazing husband was one who refused to let me just stay trapped. My family, my friends, even random strangers; all these people would reach out and help in unexpected ways, at unexpected times.

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So I am reaching out.

Whether you see it or not, every day you choose to take that one step forward ~ no matter how that looks in your current situation ~ it is is a good thing. It’s one step closer to another day. It’s one step nearer to a different set of choices, and maybe, just maybe, it might be the first day that things change and start to get better.

Hold on.

I made it out of my hole. Even though I still have further to go, I made it past the pitch black and back to the light. I am, once again, becoming something more than just a body trying to survive.

You can too.



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