I am here

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I have had a bad couple of years.  Getting up in the morning is rough.  Most days I don’t get up before 8:00 a.m. I am awake by 6:00 but getting out of bed is a task. Everybody in my family is or should I say seems to have their lives in check.  You can’t really tell can you?

My life is upside down.  I live with family. I do not have a job at the moment.  I do get temporary jobs from time to time but nothing stable.  I do not want to meet anyone I went to school with.  They have jobs, families and seem to be doing great. Me, nada.  I went back to school with the hope of improving my job prospects and that turned out badly. So I joined grad school, super excited.  First year went well, but my second year has stretched to 5 years. My thesis supervisor decided to take his time looking at my work.  My school was no help, they left me out in the cold. No support. All my complaints fell on deaf years until a year ago when the government started cracking down on schools with students who have not completing their programmes on time.  All of a sudden things are moving again.  Hopefully I will graduate this year.

On top of the school debacle I was sick for about four of the five years. I was misdiagnosed and went through about ten different doctors before they found out what was wrong with me.  Two surgeries later I am better.

But the sad thing is, my mother who I was living with and who was taking care of me, did not want me to tell anybody about what was going on, health wise. I could not tell anyone anything because I was relying on my mother for everything.  House, shelter, food plus she was paying my medical bills because I had no insurance, so I did not want to rock the boat.    I remember, after my first surgery she called one of my sisters and told her to come meet us urgently at the hotel where we were staying post-op.  My sister walks in and she finds me in bed, in pain, anaemic can hardly move or talk. She was shocked because she did not know I was going in for surgery or that I was that unwell.  She did not say anything but I am sure she was hurt.  I would have, in her position.

So there I was, I could not tell any of my friends what was going on because my mom did not want anyone to know what was going on.  So after a while, when I could not meet anyone for coffee dates or lunches or tea, they stopped calling.  It hurt then and it hurts now.

Another round of doctors, another surgery and I was still not better.  At this point I could tell my mom was getting angry.  There I was taking medicine, seeing doctors and yet I was still complaining of pain.  Walking hurt, I was tired all the time.  My doctor at the time prescribed a round of physiotherapy because the muscles on one of my legs were wasting away plus I could hardly move.

I think my mom thought I was faking it because after that round of physiotherapy and my not moving around like she expected me to, she started getting angry at the sight of me.  She would come home and find me sleeping or resting and she would yell and yell and yell.  I remember I used to dread her coming home because I did not know what to expect.

There I was, no friend in sight all alone, in pain and my mom thinking I was faking it.  I used to be afraid of visits to the doctors because I was afraid that the tests would show nothing was wrong with me and yet I could feel that I was not well.  I was in constant pain and was not sleeping well.

After a while I stopped saying I hurt.  I decided to just grit my teeth and shut up.  It would take me 20 minutes to do a ten minute walk because I was so tired.   My mom would get really angry because it would take me forever to do things.  She was so mad at me.  And there I was with nowhere to go.

I have no words to describe the feeling of despair and hopelessness I felt.  I was a burden and everyone around me let me know it.  It was hard to take. I remember one of my uncles telling me he was disappointed because I seemed to be a sluggard. And because most people had not been on the journey with me, they did not know what was going on.

We finally got a diagnosis about what was wrong with me.  I remember going to the see the doctor alone.  I was exhausted.  I went into the doctor’s office alone, I was so scared. I was shaking.  He ran some more tests, looked at my history and told me I had Vitamin D deficiency.

I told my mother, she finally told her friends and the family about what had been going on.  And everybody acted all concerned about me and my health.  But words hurt, they keep bouncing around in your head.   I remember all the doubts from my family and some of my mom’s friends.  All the comments they made.

Last year I finally hit rock bottom.  I decided that I had as much of this life as I was willing to take and I gave myself a check out time.  January 2016.  January 2016 came around and my family volunteered me to take care of my grandfather, they did not ask me, they told me.  So there I was bone weary, emotionally drained and I was supposed to take care of somebody else, somebody who needed constant emotional care.

So I did, took care of my gramps for 3 months.  Loaded up on pills because I was done, it was time to check out. I had my little store of pills and I was ready.  Called up my little brother who is a lawyer and told him I want blackbird by Alterbridge at my funeral, I reminded him that I wanted to be cremated and that they could flash my ashes in the toilet after that.  I had a bit of money in my account figured that would take care of the cremation. If not, they could always donate my body to science.

So there I was in a little one bedroom house about to swallow my bunch of pills and my neighbour knocks on the door.  She tells me my mother has been trying to reach me and I should call her back.  I pick up the phone and call my mom back and she asks me why I have not returned her calls. I tell her I am tired and have been sleeping.  She told me to get on the next bus and that I will be moving to my sister’s house.

I still have my pills.  It seemed a bit horrible checking out in my sister’s house with her three kids.   So I went online and joined a couple of support groups.  I am still here.  I know I am not alone. I still have more bad days than good days.

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