Manic Monday

I am one sick chick again / still. I did A LOT yesterday and then again today, and having dropped the steroids JUST A WEEEEEE bit, I’m feeling pretty awful. I am JUST below that 2mg prednisone equivalent “safe zone;” venturing beyond that becomes “unsafe” pretty fast and anyone who has had to taper off massive doses of steroids knows how difficult all of this is on every part of … everything. You feel like crap, you go through the MOST INSANE mood swings (as I might have mentioned here before, the incidence of people going through corticosteroid withdrawal that have to be institutionalized mentally is INCREDIBLY high), you have no energy, you feel like you’re being burned from the inside out, you cannot hold a thought and your mind wanders in something like a foggy maze; you panic. Every day for the last few days since my “sliver” drop (that’s the problem too at this point – no matter what steroid you’re taking, there comes a point when even the TINIEST drop becomes a HUGE percentage of what you had been taking), I have been suffering horrific panic attacks. Aside from the actual chemical changes that are inevitably occurring in my body and mind, I have been “triggered” just by “normal life;” thinking about the passage of time, worrying about money and my education; worrying about my health (namely my teeth right now….); worrying about being left behind and in the dust … the list could go on almost indefinitely, as I’m sure those of you with chronic illness know. At any rate, one of the MANY topics that has “triggered” me not only over the last few days but over the last few months (going on something like a year now) is the topic of “friendship;” something I have talked about here before. The friendship to which I am referring here, however, is that kind of friendship that is acknowledged by both parties – in my case, something that hasn’t been defined; for me, this is incredibly problematic. Although I am very much a “grey” kind of person, I think VERY LOGICALLY; if things are not “black” or “white,” I don’t understand them and I drive myself bonkers going over everything in my mind and in my memory as to why whatever situation I’m facing is whatever shade of grey it happens to be. At any rate, the “friendship” I am referring to here would be a terrific one if only it would just … work out. It’s difficult for me to understand WHY it cannot … although I do know the Universe (or God, &c.) has other things in mind – and I KNOW this because there has been an uncanny chain of coincidences regarding this “friendship” or lack thereof that leads me to believe that it is nowhere near “over.” I still don’t really know what the “Universe” has in store, but I know it is something. Anyway, I just wanted to get that down because it is something that has been eating at me for several months – and much more over the last few days as my anxiety has skyrocketed. I do want to distinguish the difference between panic attacks and anxiety (right now I am suffering with both) but I will bring that up in its own post.

I found this strange little book as I was sorting my boxes and boxes of books to try to fit on my massive bookshelves in my new living room – I am assuming it was something either in a bag that was at a library book sale / “bag day” or I threw it in a bag at one of those “bag days” just to have or to give away as a gift. It really is a strange little book, containing various thoughts on “friendship,” prayers regarding friendship and the loss of friendship, and other things just relating to the general topic of having friends. The “book” (it is very small in size, maybe 3″ x 3″ and MAYBE 50 pages, one-sided, long) is called “A Time for Friendship” by Marjorie Holmes. I came across the following passage and thought I would pass it on here just because it is something I have been feeling for quite some time now –

“One of the compensations of true friendship is that people who are really congenial don’t drift apart. Ayone who has traveled very much, or lived in different parts of the country, discovers this. From among all the countless people one knows at each place, there rise to the surface one or two couples or individuals who remain steadfast. They become a part of one’s life story.”

I find that “passage” interesting. I know that I am one of those “steadfast” friends for several people. I also know in my heart of hearts that there are people I know who will somehow be there through thick and thin for SOME reason – again, the Universe hasn’t let me in on that one yet. But it is very true that no matter what seems to happen, there is always a “sign” that such friends or such “a friend” always appears when I least expect it. As far as my anxiety regarding that one goes – that is, the lingering sensation of absolute unease after the initial more clinical “panic attack” – I do think it helps to think about it in similar terms. It helps me to know that I personally am not in control of the situation – I cannot be for various reasons (a challenge for a control freak like me!) – but I have to remember that it is going somewhere, even if the path is to go to a particular school or something. Like I have mentioned before, I really don’t know where this one is going. I do know, however, that this “friendship” continues, despite my many doubts that were only raised by the fact that I WAS MAKING OTHER FRIENDS AT THE TIME WHEN I COULDN’T BE AROUND FOR THIS PARTICULAR PERSON. I know I have helped the “other friends” in immeasurable ways just by being there for them during some VERY difficult times (unanticipated and difficult); the “release” of the anxiety comes when I cut myself a break and remind myself that I did “the right thing,” given all possible outcomes and “counterfactuals.” I helped out the people who would come to need it the most and doing so ended up working out … for now. I have to remind myself that I have done what I can do and what I should do and the rest is not up to me – I can just be the best friend to those “friends” I do have in the capacities that I can be there for them. That’s kind of a big deal – and it’s an important thing to remember, especially when we have chronic illness and we know all too well what it is like just to LOSE friends over time.

At any rate! That was much longer and more rambly than I anticipated (*surprise surprise!*)! I hope you are all doing well right now and having a happy and healthy day wherever you are in the world! If you can think about your friends and how they have been there for you and how you have been there from them, please do so! Be thankful you have people like that in your life – believe it or not, “true” friendship is incredibly rare. Thank you for taking the time to read this and REMEMBER – my heart is ALWAYS with YOU!

❤ Always, Beth

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