These posts are starting to feel like entries in a journal of defeat. I am sinking even as Arthur rises and rises. Two medications ago, last fall, I thought maybe I’d found something that would work. It numbed me pleasantly. The pain went away, though not the exhaustion. I relaxed, stopped feeling anxious about what I’m going to do with my life all the time.
It was false comfort. Everything started to drop away. My short-term memory became more holes than net. I stopped writing entirely, stopped dreaming, stopped even having ideas to write down. I got in two fender-benders with cars that were not moving at the time (I, who prided myself so much in my clean driving record!) It crept up on me so insidiously – well, that’s not entirely true. I knew something was going on, but I was so pathetically grateful for a break from the unending slog through every day, the terrible bone-deep aches and the lancing lighting jolts that made me cry out suddenly at random intervals, that I didn’t fight at all. I let it happen.
After the second minor accident I knew I was in too deep. I tapered off the medication, but even afterward, the effects seem to linger. I don’t think my memory is as good as it used to be. The weight I gained has stuck around. I’m slower and stupider every year and I hate it, I hate this thing I am. When I started this post I wanted to talk about the slow climb back to myself, but the more I think about it, the more I realize I can no longer tease my self from all the things that I used to consider not-myself, the pain and the gasping weakness and the inability to make plans, the fear that I will have to cancel everything at the last minute, let everyone down. This has been my reality for almost a third of my life. This is me. I hate me. I hate this. I hate this.
One medication ago, I took muscle relaxers a few times and gave up. They were no better than a placebo. Three unmedicated, agonizing months before I could see the rheumatologist again.
Zero medications ago, I’m taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) developed for arthritis patients. When I started I thought I felt some difference. A few more days in and I can’t tell anymore, I’m wondering if I’ve just managed to dupe myself again, hopped up on the dregs of idiot hope and desperate for change. This isn’t going to change. This is me.
Don’t ask me about the novel. I work on it a little and then I have a bad pain day and lose all momentum. It’s going to take 30 years at this rate. I wrote a vignette that was well-received at Wiscon, and that’s nearly the entirety of my output for 2015. It’s already garnered one rejection slip and is working on the next. I’m so tired. When I get a little energy, I get angry. Then the energy goes away and I’m just tired again.
I’m trying to get out of the house. I signed up to mentor a child six months ago and have yet to be matched with anyone. I went to Wiscon – o lifeline of writing friends – and Arthur and I are going to Worldcon this summer so he can be on some panels. I’m already exhausted just thinking about it.
I was going to be the first woman on Mars. What happened to that person, full of enough energy and plans to power a star? I’m almost out of hope for anything approaching a normal life. I’m so tired. I hate this. This is me. I hate me. I’m so tired.