Thoughts From The Abyss

Dear Audy,

My, how quickly a month can pass in blogging silence. I have not been feeling like myself lately, I have not been feeling much like anybody at all. Life seems to be spinning by around me and I feel disconnected in a way that I’m unaccustomed to. I just don’t have much to say to anybody, about anything, at all.

I feel like a vintage set of Dominos in the mocking hands of fate. My speckled panels are worn beyond recognition. Life plays games with me. Lines me up, knocks me down, lines me up, knocks me down…until the fragile wood gives in to the clacking and smacking of repeated assaults and I break apart on the floor.

The first few weeks of the backslide weren’t too bad. I was able to fend of feeling sad about temporary setbacks. Those happen to everybody, not just people with CRPS. I was going to be back on my handling-things-horse in no time…

Until something else happened. And then something else happened. And then those things caused other things to happen. And does it even matter what the things are anymore? Does the specificity of the fist ever make a difference to the sting on the face?

There has been a lot of pain. There has been a lot of incapacitation. There has been a lot of loneliness and less than enough energy to do anything about that. There have been tears. But mostly? Mostly, there has been numbness.

I feel empty in the strangest way.

I have these dreams of overcoming the chronic pain that I live with. I dream about managing my pain down to a minimum, maintaining mobility long enough to keep control of a clean diet, getting off all medication, creating a life for myself that is bigger and wider than simply surviving. I dream about living a life outside of this house that imprisons me, this suburb where I am marooned.

I dream of independence.

But it feels…. so unlikely.

And I hate to admit it.

So I haven’t been saying anything at all.

I haven’t been engaging with the angst ridden thoughts. I haven’t been writing about the same circle of severe health problems that have plagued me since 2006. I haven’t been engaging with the messages, the enquiries, the social media feeds that bring me a tidal wave of stories about personal triumphs and tragedies.

My silence is not through lack of appreciation of anybody, it’s because there is so little inside me right now that I just don’t have anything to give. The most confusing part is that this feeling of burnout, this concrete security door that slams down behind my eyes whenever I try to formulate a response to anything… I’ve never felt it this strongly before.

It’s strange to feel such emptiness, such nothing, so strongly.

I have this thought that plays through my mind whenever things get really tough. Whenever the pain flares beyond all recognition of what I thought was possible, whenever another injury takes me down, or another ability is limited. When life seems so incredibly painful and pointless that it feels impossible that anything good could happen ever again, I think: “Is this the moment when I give up?”

The words run through my mind like a voiceover on a sappy film. Is this the moment? Is this the moment that will take me down, is it the beginning of the end?

As depressing as that sounds, this thought is actually a positive coping mechanism. Because the answer is always no. I refuse to give up. I won’t let that moment exist. Instead, I search for the happy things to hold onto, the reasons to go forward, the dreams that I could achieve, the tiny steps that I can take in the moment.

Lately, I search and I see nothing but haze. I see a vague potential for growth, but then I get knocked down for another week, or a month, and those dreams fizzle out, smothered by the reality of chronic illness.

I’m not spending all of my time feeling depressed, not at all. There is a difference between blank and miserable. I kind of thought that it was depression at first, but then I remembered that there were things that had actually happened. There were events that knocked me down, physical symptoms beyond my control.

Having a human response to upsetting circumstances isn’t a mental illness and it helps me to remember that.

This emptiness…it just means that I have some things to figure out, that’s all. I’ve had a lot of trouble trying to decide how to explain this to you, Audy, because just by describing my current challenges, I feel like I’m giving the emptiness more power than it deserves. Not to mention that I hate to depress you. I really hate that the very nature of my existence is often saddening to others and so sometimes I clam up until I can find the sparkly lining.

I’m spending most of my days seeking escape in stories. I haven’t figured out how to fill this abyss yet, I haven’t figured out how to function around it and, whilst I believe that overcoming is a possibility, I have no idea how I am going to get past this new phase of my crippledom.

Next week, I will be a bridesmaid at the wedding of my oldest friend in the world. It’s quite a challenge for somebody who struggles to shower on a lot of days, however some moments are more important than struggles; some friends are more important. Who knows? Maybe part of this emptiness is just a kind of energy conservation so that I can enjoy the wedding.

I’ll write when I can, Audy. Writing is usually a good sign. Earlier in the emptiness, I tried to write to you on several occasions and what tumbled out was such useless ramble that I couldn’t bring myself to burden your eyes with it. Sometimes, the thoughts just need to settle.

And maybe I’m getting somewhere now.

But, please don’t be offended if you don’t hear from me personally. I honestly don’t know when the strength for one-on-one interactions, with people outside a very small circle of close friends, will return. It’ll come back I’m sure. In the meantime, I’ll blog when I can and hopefully you won’t hate me for snubbing you.

Love & Emptiness Explaining,

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  • 6 thoughts on “Thoughts From The Abyss

    1. Della

      Hang in there, girl! You’re not alone, not the only one who ends up in a bit of a void sometimes. I believe you’ll come through to better days again.

    2. Lisa Tait

      You don’t need to wait until you have a sparkly lining to write/chat anymore than you need to write when you don’t feel up to it.

      Your friends and readers should understand that it’s not generally of our choosing what we do or when we get to do it – whatever ‘it’ might be.

      ” Does the specificity of the fist ever make a difference to the sting on the face?” No, it doesn’t, I suspect. Your words here struck me, the words themselves like a fist, with the honest punch of truth and recognition, of “Yes, I *know* what you mean”.

      Ignore Facebook, Twitter, whatever you need to do to calm you seas. None of it matters; if anyone tells you otherwise, I think they’re full of it. It’s just a time-filler that we’ve learnt to waste hours on, for the most part (but I *have* met people like you this way, so it’s not all bad – just not all the time!).

      TBH, I’m going through a rough patch that hasn’t ended. What I suspect has been happening is that I’m experiencing spread. I have no current docs other than my GP, who just gives my refills to me and knows full well I know tonnes more about CRPS than does she. I doubt there are doctors competent in my city to correctly assess for spread… and the ones in my province who could are not taking out-of-towners anymore!

      Plus, I don’t want to scare my closest (non-CRPS) friend, so I have been mostly keeping it to myself. Like my dirty little secret, that’s swallowing me slowly but surely, the slowest quicksand ever.

      I don’t know what I could do to change it, anyway, and like you I feel a hostage to my apartment, so my very small, very quiet life.

      It’s hard. It’s scary. I’m scared. It’s not pretty, it’s not Ms Positive as I try hard to remain as I always have been… but it’s how I feel. Scared and alone – even with my new roommate, because I keep this sneaking feeling of worsening health to myself, only giving hints here and there, trying to lessen the blow when it eventually will probably become too hard too hide.

      Gee, I’m not really cheering you up, eh? Sorry about that. I had intended to say it’s OK to need time away, to sort your thoughts, to regroup. But don’t be so far away from it all that you can’t come back, that the loneliness becomes easier. I should talk, I know.

      I’m here, listening, grateful for your words when you do write, relieved I’m not the only one who feels like this, though sad that I’m not the only one who feels like this…

      Take care of yourself, my friend. *gentle hugs*

    3. Ross

      Hang in there Caf! I know where your coming from. I’ve been having a lot of problems myself lately and have now just signed the paperwork for my 8th surgery for my implants. I can totally relate to how your feeling because each time I start feeling like I turn the corner I go backwards again. Stay strong and know that you will overcome and work through all this.

    4. Maria

      I hear you! I had that thought this morning. Is THIS the moment I give up? And like you, the answer was no. I’m with you, sweety. We’re all with you. You’re in my prayers. I love you.

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