I’m burnt out, y’all. I’m so tired of the effort that I have to put in just to keep my damnable body limping along, both literally and figuratively.
There are medications- 13 of them- to maintain various functions or to make up for some lack, and countless supplements to juggle and keep refilled and take properly. There are braces and compression gloves and socks and the need for regular massage and chiropractor visits that I can’t afford to make happen because I can’t work! There’s tides of symptoms, ebbing and flowing, but always, always there, and then there’s the coping methods needed to keep me from just folding under the combined weight of that tide. There’s the fact that my teeth are literally crumbling from the roots out despite a healthy mouth environment and good oral hygiene and I can’t afford to see a dentist or get replacements for the ones we’ve had to just pull. And due to that, I’m starting to become afraid of smiling because my teeth are becoming ugly to look at, and that just absolutely breaks my heart because my body smile has always been everyone’s favorite thing about me.
There’s a planner full of visits to seven different specialists that I must see on a regular basis, all of them hours away from me, and the calls and texts and begging for rides from people who I’m sure are just as weary of the trips as I am but I don’t have anyone else to ask. There’s the blood tests and the scans and “oscopies” and the phone calls and the paperwork to be ferried between them all, and then, of course, there are the bills for it all. The ones that get further and further Past Due because I have nothing to give them but yet I couldn’t just do without their services.
And then there’s the home that needs tending. The regular chores that healthy people never think twice about but that don’t get done hardly ever because we’re both too tired- him from working a rough, stressful job and me from just trying to stay alive. The cats that I absolutely love dearly but need feeding and litter box cleaning, and vaccinations that I can barely pay for.
It’s just a LOT. And it never stops.
I was doing well for a while after recovering from the main part of the pancreatitis (still dealing with some related issues). I was eating healthy and balanced, was exercising regularly, was balancing the load pretty well. I even got to see my family again, my Mom and siblings, which healed up a raw spot in my heart that I hadn’t realized was hurting so badly. I got to spend the better part of a week with my Grampa, traveling around to the little towns in the Iowa countryside that he grew up in and kicked around in as he grew into his teens. Now that was a really special experience, one that I cherish deeply.
But then winter came, and with it the dramatic shifts of barometric pressure that incapacitate me so badly. And with my already limited energy reduced to but a fraction, I am struggling to keep my balance. I’m so tired. Just… weary. Frayed. In my current state, “big things” has come to mean “anything beyond dragging myself out of bed to take my meds and make sure the cats and I get fed”. I am upset that the things that I have managed before are now so far out of my reach. It feels like defeat. It feels like loss of purpose, in a way. It feels like I’m just taking up space, sucking up resources.
Tonight, though, as I got into to tub to soak my aching joints and to, hopefully, wash my hair as well, I had to wipe off the ledges of the tub before I settled in. They’d accumulated a bit of dust and stray cat hair, which is normal in our home, but it felt good to make even a small dent in my surroundings. To change something for the better, however small.
Another ten minutes passed. Agnes made tea and brought over a tin of cookies. ‘So, my girl. Why are you fixing this? If it’s sat in the attic for six years, why fix it now?’
Good question. Dara tied off the thread, and started a new strand. ‘You know what my mom used to tell me? She used to say if everything in your life looks like a mess, start with something small. Clean that up. Get control of that. Then do something else small. Then something else. By that point, the big mess will start to look smaller. More manageable. Fix what you can fix, first.’