Monday, January 16, 2012

What I'm Learning About Me

I've been writing lately, just not publishing. I'm not sure why, but I'm thinking it's something to do with depression.

I have been fighting depression most of the time I've been blogging, mostly because my loss of abilities has coincided with the advent of the blogosphere (circa 2005-06). I deeply enjoy my personal blog because I have the freedom to write about anything. The publishing or lack of it is because I self-censor a lot of it. Either I think it's not worthy of other's attention, or it's "just not quite ready" to show the world.

What I need to be doing is finishing the Christmas letter I publish every year and send out to my friends and family. Yes it's January. It's okay because it's usually a re-cap of the year. Part of me wonders if the "season" of writing those letters is over, or if it's an attempt by the enemy to suppress our testimony, our recount of the way God has worked in our lives. I'm just not sure.

Doubt, obviously, is a part of this depression.

Then there's the other reasons for my depression. I've gained weight again. I'm over "four and a quarter" now.  30.4 stones, that doesn't feel nearly as bad as stepping on the scale does. I am frustrated because I cannot exercise in any meaningful way, and every change to my diet seems to fall short. Please know that this is not an invitation to tell me about your diet or miracle cure.

Chronic fatigue is merely the surface of the issue. I have sleep apnea, which directly feeds the CFS. I have all sorts of neuropathy, but thankfully, my feet don't burn like I've heard others describe. My back is usually hot to the touch and inflamed. It requires ice packs 24/7. My arthritis in my back is not responsible for all of it, either. I have hemangiomas on my spine. Those are benign tumors that, like their name implies, are mostly blood. My arms, legs, back and neck are wracked with spasms unless I continue to take supplements. It's amazing how those supplements help, thanks to a dear friend who suggested them after years of patience and kind prayers. Friends like that are few and far between!

I have skin issues, as well. I have stumbled onto one of the best dermatologists in the state, if not the world. What's worse is that he seems to know it, without my saying so. Colorado is one of the most likely places in the US that a person will contract skin cancer (pdf), so he is in the right place. I get in to see him almost more often than my CFS doctor. The only problem is that I leave his office feeling like a hunk of swiss cheese. I have been lucky thus far.

My hobbies occupy my time, but I don't lose perspective. Much. Sometimes, I feel it's more of a job than a hobby. I just wish I'd get paid for the job part.

I have found out the following in the last year:
  • I love maps, with a passion. It's my need to explore. I used to lock myself in a bathroom with the most recent Rand McNally I could find and explore those distant places in my mind. I discovered how pathological this had become when I found out the USGS lets you download PDFs of their quadrangles at no cost. I have over 32 GB of the 7 1/2 minute series alone. Like I said, pathological ...but harmless.
  • I enjoy peppermint tea nearly as much as coffee
  • I like a peculiar juice blend, but I'm not sure what I can call it without saying a word that would get my blog reclassified by the bots.
  • I cannot tolerate soft drinks with HFCS, because it messes my blood sugar up. On the other hand, a little bit of birch beer or a soft drink with real sugar in it is greatly enjoyed and doesn't mess me up as long as I have other food to go with it. This and the fact that I've always been borderline hypoglycemic makes me nervous when I think about my recent weight gain.
  • My kids have adjusted to my disabilities much easier than I have. I know that you get less pliable as you age, but I didn't realize how far this extended to psychological aspects.
  • Reading the names of USGS maps to my kids can be as funny as anything on TV. It's easy to giggle about names like:
    • Badger Wash - How do you wash a badger?
    • Bald Mountain - Is it worried about its receding tree line?
    • Barking Dog Spring - There's a story there ...maybe
    • Bears Ears Peaks - There are two of each?
    • Big Hole Butte - 'nuff said
And that's just the B's in northern Colorado.

I'd better hit publish before I self-censor again. Thanks for reading, and hopefully this doesn't come off as narcissistic, just self-absorbed. There's a lot of disclosure here, but I hope I haven't surprised anyone.

1 comment:

Nancy ~Lessons Learned on the Farm said...

Hey Steve,

I'm glad you hit publish. I always enjoy the insights you share through your writing. I thought you had just decided that blogging was overrated. Ha!

I know that blogging has been a challenge for me as well since I started battling depression. It's hard to know how much you want to share with the world wide web, isn't it?

And I have to laugh about your obsession with maps. I'm not into maps, but I discovered a word that described how I could be about other things - "rumination".

It's weird how just having a word to describe something and knowing that others understand it enough to give it a name helps, but for me it does anyway.

What's that supplement your friend suggested?

I'm going to have to catch up with you & Karen again sometime. Things are not going according to plan.