Saturday, June 18, 2022

Helplessness

A note from Morgan:

Hello, Invisible Audience. I haven't been feeling well lately--as you'll read below--so instead of writing separate blog posts to you and my Semi-Invisible Patrons on Patreon, I'm just sharing my latest blog I wrote on Patreon below. When I'm run down I post there first for the people who have paid to subscribe. If you want to become one of my Semi-Invisible Patrons, you'll get access to even more of my posts for as little as $1.50 a month.

~Morgan

 

Hello Semi-Invisible Patron,

 

I have not been well.

 

Nearly two months ago, I got a cold. It didn’t go away for about three weeks. Then I had oral surgery. Then the cold came back. It brought massive headaches with it, and some supreme irritability. And fatigue. So. Much. Fatigue.

 

I went to the walk-in clinic twice. First, they thought I had swimmer’s ear, which I probably did, but that wasn’t the whole problem. The second time, a different doctor told me he was pretty sure I had TMJ, brought on by the oral surgery. He prescribed steroids that I decided not to take, knowing that they suppress the immune system. And this last week I went to my doctor and she’s pretty sure I have a sinus infection that I’ve likely had for the entire two months.

 

I went to my chiropractor the day before I saw my doctor. He tried to tell me that if I got more exercise I’d feel better. I very much respect this man, and I felt really let down by the entire discussion. I told him I’ve been so tired I could take two naps a day; he said maybe I should take one and exercise instead of taking the second one. I felt deflated; almost betrayed.

 

It feels important for everyone to know this, Semi-Invisible Patron. More exercise isn’t always the answer. As I’ve watched my weight rise over the past several years, I’ve been increasingly panicked and frustrated by not only that number—because of what I’ve been taught it means about me: lazy, unmotivated—but by how I’ve been treated. Even as I’ve been diagnosed with Lyme disease and relapsing fever and mold illness and now a sinus infection, going to a healthcare provider is always a roll of the dice: will they treat me like I’m worthy, or like I’m fat, and therefore unworthy?

 

I’ve recently started listening to Maintenance Phase and reading Ragen Chastain’s Weight and Healthcare blog. They have blown my mind, Semi-Invisible Patron. Did you know there’s not a single diet on earth that works for more than 5 percent of participants? That dieting of any kind makes someone MORE likely to gain weight in the long run? That the BMI is based on Scottish military men, or that the reason we adhere to a 2,000 diet is because that was the average people reported they ate in some study, but no study has ever actually measured what amount of calories people actually eat?

 

I have not written about this until now because it makes me feel so helpless. I can’t change everyone’s mind about something so entrenched in the culture, especially in the face of a multi-billion-dollar diet industry. But I feel it every day, when I berate myself for resting when I’m tired when I think I should be out exercising. I think about it when peoples’ gazes slide over me as if I don’t exist; when doctors tell me the reason I have whatever medical malady I’m coming to them for is because of my high BMI.

 

I want to scream and cry into the void about this, but who will it help? Who will care? Who will listen? More importantly, how do I get myself to listen? How do let myself off the hook so that I can heal and spend my time and energy on getting better instead of trying to solve an insolvable problem or convince people who do not want to be convinced? Even more importantly, how do I realize that even if I do convince them, it won’t make a damn bit of difference if I can’t convince myself, too?

 

Do you know what this post is really about, Semi-Invisible Patron? Helplessness. It’s the place I go when I am too beat down to be able to make choices anymore. It’s the place I’ve found myself a lot lately, as I try to run a business with a skull-crushing headache, operating on no energy, in the face of the wettest June I’ve ever seen in North Central Washington and in the wake of ongoing mass shootings at the same kinds of schools where I teach my classes.

 

This morning, I decided to write a list of things in my journal that were working.

·      I love my house and my landlords (this is no small thing; I have moved five times in the nearly eight years I have lived in this area)

·      My car works and gets great gas mileage because it’s a hybrid

·      My cats are adorable, entertaining, and in great health

·      I can support myself

·      I have completed two of the three steps to have an implant tooth put in where I’ve only had empty space for nearly 10 years

·      I have access to a pool for both exercise and stress relief

·      I have hired great people that I trust to help me with my business

·      I am better at boundaries than I have ever been

·      I have people I can talk to that I care about, and who care about me in return

 

It helped, making this list. It helped me remember that life is not all the doom and gloom that it feels like it is when I’m struggling and failing to find the energy to do a small simple task.

 

Can I be honest? A lot of the time I feel like I’ve gotten the shit end of the stick. And sometimes, I’m so tired of continuing to try, Semi-Invisible Patron. Not in a suicidal way, but in a “what exactly is the point in this grind of a world we live in?”

 

That’s when I really have to narrow my focus. I have to open the door and let the smell of the lilacs come in. I have to find a good book that reminds me that the world is a beautiful place full of many good people. I have to put down my book and hold my cat who’s curled up on my chest, feeling his purr reverberate through my body and into my heart.

 

And I have to hope, Semi-Invisible Patron, that tomorrow is better than today.

 

Love and hopeful kisses,

Morgan