Ranting about toxic attitudes and this trend to hate things

Recently in my gaming community, a high point of topic has been the rampant negativity among gamers over overwhelmingly subjective opinions. Honestly, it’s not solely an issue exclusive to gaming. People have opinions, and they want theirs to be validated, which leads to people getting louder and more incendiary.

People will completely rip apart a game or movie before that thing has even been released. So prior to having any experience with this media, they have formed a solidified opinion about it and have decided to rail against it and everyone who may be excited for it.

That last part is really what gets me. As people, we are totally allowed not to like things. Let’s take Fallout 76. I have never played a Fallout game ever. But from what I have seen of the previous games, they have not interested me in the slightest. However, I’m not going around to people who love the game, who are playing the game, and espousing everything I find wrong with the game and/or series. People actually do this. They go into streams and just let loose all the things they dislike, with no regard at all to whether the streamer actually loves this game/series/franchise or not.

There is a time and place for constructive criticism. But if you hate something? Why spread that? I’ve seen it a lot with sports, too. And I’m not talking just the typical anti-whatever team. People get all high and mighty because they’re not interested in “sportsball.” It’s in areas of our culture where people are called basic for liking certain beverages and scarves and warm things… I’m actually really happy that people are reclaiming basic and wearing it with pride.

If you don’t like pineapple on your pizza then don’t order it. If you could get no fucks for sports of any kind, then actually don’t give fucks and don’t engage in petty mocking of those who do.

I just do not get this continuing trend of putting people down for liking things or feeling haughty superior for not liking something. It’s gate-keeping bullshit and needs to end. Let’s celebrate people’s joys and passions — even if it’s not something you like or understand yourself.* (With the obvious asterisk of: there are legitimately toxic and harmful things people like that we should not encourage)

Becoming the Monster

Life happens.

The last few months have been pretty damn shitty. I’m essentially only surviving on antidepressants, beta blockers to calm down my heart rate, and a whole heaping dose of escapism. In December, I lost 15+ lbs because I stopped eating. I was puking nearly every day from the reflux my anxiety was maxing out. I couldn’t leave my bedroom for a long time. I’m actually really surprised I finished out the semester.

I did this to myself.

I hurt my friends. One, especially. I lost a lot of my friends. Which saying “lost” makes it sound like we just got separated somewhere or I misplaced them… They lost their trust in me. I made mistakes. I was too blind to see the pain I was causing them. It hurts that some of them see me as this monster. But at the same time, I won’t deny their truths — their feelings are theirs and they feel them for reasons. I hurt them. And it destroys me.

I can’t say how sorry I am. I can’t fight for the relationships that are now gone. I can’t fight against some of the accusations they made. The hope I had that maybe everything would work itself out, that maybe they could forgive me… it’s gone.

I’ve only been on the antidepressants for a month. Just picked up my first refill. I think they’re working though. I’m not thinking that I don’t want to exist as much any more. I don’t want to die. I’m not suicidal. I just don’t want to exist. But as I said, I’m doing better on that front. It may seem crazy, but one of the things helping me get through is hygge. It’s the Danish concept of coziness and being content in the moment. I’ve been using it as a sort of self-healing aid. Rather than focusing on the pain or the overwhelming sadness, I try to focus on finding something good just in that moment. Sometimes that’s just sitting on the couch under the softest blanket in the house, watching silly movies, cuddling with the happiest, purring-iest cat. That moment? Yeah that moment makes me ok with existing.

I don’t know that things are going to get better. People always say that it will. Nothing really prepares you for this. You never think that you are the monster. That you can be capable of hurting the people you care most about. That to others, you are manipulative and abusive. And you will never know how all of that will absolutely destroy you. Shatter you. Knowing that you caused someone else that kind of pain. It’s my fault. And I have to live with that.

On fragility, abuse, and trying to let go

Last night I had my first real big ugly cry since before my surgery. And it had absolutely nothing to do with the surgery or anything that comes with not having a uterus any more.

Ok, maybe a tiny little bit did, but only a tiny bit.

It’s all because I like a guy and I let some bad stuff from my past seep in and take root in my head.

I haven’t had a crush in a long while. Not like, a crush crush. It’s one of those things where I’ve kind of always found this guy friend attractive, and then the more I got to know him, the more I liked him. I’m trying to be logical through the whole thing — he’s one of my online friends, so we haven’t even met in person, nor do I even know how he feels about me or anything if he’s even thought about me that way… just because I like him doesn’t mean he likes me.

But you really can’t logic your way out of a crush.

My last relationships/attempt at a relationship/whatever it was, was not healthy. I had gotten involved with one of my guy friends, and developed major feelings for him. He would go from telling me how beautiful I was to saying that we couldn’t date because we both sort of worked together. He would wrap his arms around me and tell me how lucky he was that I chose him, to telling me he was never once attracted to me. We’d hook up, to him majorly going after another girl right in front of me. He drank. A lot. At least once while he was driving. Somehow despite all that terrible shit, I still thought maybe I’d be enough for him and that he’d choose me, and only me. Then he got this other girl that he had started seeing, like actually dating, pregnant. He’s apparently cleaned up his life a lot since then… but… the damage he did to me was done.

So I spent the wee hours of last night sobbing because I’m afraid to let myself like someone again. Crying out because I just want someone who will find me beautiful as I am* — someone who will choose me.

I hate that this asshole from my past got in my head. That someone who I have moved on from still has an affect on me. While I’ve found some great happiness in myself since then, and I’m excited about where my life is going… I’d be lying if I said a little part of me didn’t want someone to share that with. I’m enjoying getting to know this guy. And yes, the logical part of me is and will be find that nothing is likely to come of this… It’s just that crush part which is all “I want to kiss his face.” Sigh. And logic side can’t argue because, hey, he is cute.

BLERGH. Why are crushes in your 30s still a thing.

A lot of this is holdover stuff from my endometriosis. The medicine I was on caused me to gain weight, and as I’ve talked about a few times, endo is the type of disease that sort of makes you feel broken as a woman. I had the same hold ups when choosing to have a hysterectomy as a single woman. I know there is no perfect weight or size, and that my body just is my body how it is in the moment.

Recovery Updates: Or, how I ended up in emergency surgery last week…

Guys. … I suck at recovery.

I thought I was doing all right. I thought I had slowed down, cut back on doing everything and stopped bending as much… I got a big shot of reality and NOPE last week, however.

We’re not exactly sure what happened. I was watching netflix, stood up, and (ok maybe it starts getting TMI), but it felt like I peed myself. So I went to the bathroom, maybe I just wasn’t listening to my bladder and it was fuller than I thought. However… that wasn’t the case. (If pee wasn’t TMI for you before, this next part might be. And I get that, and I’m 100% ok if you’d rather just check out the TMI;DR insta version or even just this video of kittens.)

It was blood.

This wasn’t just typical healing up spotting like to be expected. It was nonstop, with clots. I called my mom, explained that I needed to go to the ER, then went to find new clothes to wear. I had almost filled an entire pad in that time, so decided to spend the rest of the time waiting for my mom on the toilet. It wasn’t painful, but it wasn’t necessarily comfortable either. And I’m pretty sure I was in shock a little, because I was way calmer than I probably should have been.

The ER was busy — as, sadly, our local ER tends to be when you actually need it. As we sat and waited, we overheard that people had been waiting hours. I was actively bleeding, worse when I was standing, and already starting to feel a little light headed at times. Thankfully (for me), I jumped the line and got in somewhat quickly given how busy they were. I kind of felt bad for everyone else waiting — like the pregnant lady who had a small metal splinter in her foot. Anyway. I got in, a nurse checked in on me, then a medical assistant. The room was badly laid out and didn’t have a stirrup bed, so my exam was painful and awkward. More so given the still constant bleeding and clotting.

My doctor was out, so they had to call in the on-call OBGYN specialist from his office. She got me on a stirrup bed and confirmed what the MA thought — I had ripped/popped a suture from my hysterectomy. They removed several golf ball sized clots. It was a mess and just gross. There were two options: try to stitch me up right there in the room, or send me to emergency surgery. Because of the amount of blood — my new doctor called it a “waterfall” of blood — stitching up in the room was not an option. (Which, so grateful because that did not sound appealing at all.)

From the time I started bleeding until I got into the OR, it had been about 4 hours. Four hours of actively bleeding and going through 3-4 or more pads an hour (though we eventually gave up changing them). The surgery was about maybe 2 hours. At least from when I went in until I woke up in recovery. While I woke up easier this time, but was in a lot of pain. However, like last time, I had to pee like crazy. But this time they had taken out my catheter. No matter how I tried, I could not pee. Finally in my observation room, my nurse set me up enough that I could. But I was still calling her every 10-20 minutes. So we ditched the bedpans and I have never been that happy to see or use a real toilet. After that and losing the packing, I was actually feeling pretty good given everything that had just happened.

Since getting home, most of my pain has been muscle and joint pain. Felt like I got hit by a bus. I also had (and still have) a sore throat from having to have a breathing tube again. Since this surgery was unplanned, it meant no prep — I had food in my system from lunch… They had to apply a little pressure to my throat to keep me from essentially getting food in my lungs. It’s one of the last things I remember before the anesthesia knocked me out.

I wish I could say everything has been going peachy since then. I came home very “no bending, no doing thing” … and then just days later I’m back doing things like before I ripped my stitches. Rather than trying to decide on something else to eat, I still reach for the pan in dishwasher I’m not supposed to be reaching for. Rather than just letting things wait, I reorganized the linen closet to make room for all the stuff from the bathroom that no longer has a place thanks to getting a newer (and bigger) water heater in the bathroom closet. “It’s just plastic shopping bags,” I told myself. But it was a whole trash bag full of shopping bags and that’s a lot of bending. The hardest thing is the cats. The roommates were never perfect about remembering to check their bowls, or understanding the nuances of my cats not liking crumbs and thus thinking a bowl is empty even when it doesn’t appear to be. Maybe I could let the other things go, but it’s hard making my cats wait until I could ask for help getting them fed.

It’s sort of this combination of pride and distrust. I can’t bring myself to just ask someone else to keep doing all this stuff for me day in and day out. This feeling of things out of place has such a hold on me that I can’t just let things wait until I’m healed or even ask if someone else can take care of it… And I want to trust that my roommate (I’ve only got one now), would help me with anything I ask… But… She’s busy and has her own things going on, too… And maybe I’m just out of sorts with anxiety, but after a while the joking sighs or “fine/whatever/I guess I’ll help”-s… well.. I start worrying that maybe she is tired of helping. I don’t want to be a burden. But I also know I just should — can’t — be doing stuff like this. If I keep this up, I’m going to end up hurting myself or ripping my stitches again.

I just wish the risk of that was enough to get myself out of my own head and just stop for the next few weeks. No matter how much I tell myself to stop doing things… it’s like I can’t. But I’m going to have to… somehow… I’ve got to let myself heal.

Grumpy AF

So I hinted at this in my last post, but yeah, I’m maybe not adjusting as well as I would have hoped to having roommates.

A few days ago, I thought I’d try maybe writing down any grievances or annoyances I had, hoping that maybe once I named them I could deal with them logically. I could see that these really aren’t big issues and nothing worth causing drama over. However, the list keeps growing and that’s causing concern.

They really are small things. But they’re adding up. Leaving lights on when they leave rooms. Kitchen cabinets left open. Putting virtually clean dishes in the dishwasher. Running out of things like mugs and spoons and the small plates. Leaving (caffeinated*) coffee grounds in the filter basket. Clutter on public spaces like the dining and coffee tables, as well as the kitchen and bathroom counters. I count no less than 6 pairs of shoes in the living room right now.

Any one or even two of those things alone, and I think I could handle it. But it’s all of these things every single day. (And sadly, this is only the 4th day with all three of us here.) There’s also the giant elephant in the room that is my anxiety. My surgery is in one week from today and while I feel like I’m not really emotional about it — I’m 100% on edge and that’s showing up in all of this. It’s manifesting itself as irritability and sadly, my roommates are taking the brunt of it.

I want to be able to take a deep breath and move on, but I found myself this morning slamming cabinet doors shut and aggressively throwing out yesterday’s used coffee grounds. And pulling out a plate from the dish washer that was only used for a cupcake in a wrapper to sit on. Sigh. I really am trying. But thanks to my health, I spend all day every day in this apartment. Now that I’m sharing it with two other people (who are a decade younger and have their own concerns which don’t really line up with mine), it’s been hard.

I know I can’t just hold this in because that list is only going to get longer and longer. I’m hoping to just pick a couple to address with them — the clutter, the dishes, and leaving things on/open — and then hopefully it’ll allow me to be able to properly deal with the other small frustrations without actually having them feel like giant frustrations. It’s essentially spoon theory: I only have so many spoons each day, and if I use them all up on the small things, I can’t use them on the things I really need them for. Fingers crossed this all goes well, because I’m really struggling guys — and it’s a shame because these actually aren’t terrible roommates.

*My body does not handle caffeine well — pretty much only low doses in chocolates or some teas, and I still can’t consume all I want of those. I don’t get headaches or jittery, either. It causes immense ripping pain in my abdomen. It’s sent me to the ER before. So I don’t risk it.

Saying Goodbye to My Uterus: it’s really happening

I’ve been looking at this blank screen for hours. And frankly I’ve been trying to figure out how I would write this post for months now. Regardless, in three weeks, I’ll be having a hysterectomy.

None of it feels real at the moment. It completely hasn’t sunk it yet. This was kind of a long time coming, though. From 2013, where I had my laparoscopy and myomectomy, to 2010 when I was hospitalized for under a week for severe abdominal pain and the word “endometriosis” entered into my life, and all the way back to my freshman year of undergrad (2003/2004) where my cramps became intolerable and I started birth control in an attempt to stabilize them.

Since the laparoscopy, the idea of a hysterectomy was sort of thrown around here and there — but only as a last ditch effort. After starting school again, I knew I wanted a more aggressive approach to treating my endometriosis, which Depo Provera had been a part of, but I hadn’t really known how any of it was going to look. Fast forward to last summer where my abdominal pain sent me to the ER a couple of times… Laying in the bed, I looked over at my mom — I’m not sure who brought it up first, but that was when we decided that maybe a hysterectomy might be something I needed to consider.

After finally getting insurance through the state at the beginning of the year (which was also after 12 denial letters from last year), I spent most of my energy trying to meet with a new doctor, dealing with that frustration and getting pushed off to specialists, and just waiting and struggling to get any information and details from him. Then suddenly, after what felt like a pointless meeting with a general surgeon who basically only told me he needed to speak to my doctor and would call me later, I received a phone call Monday morning from my doctor’s office telling me we had a surgery date scheduled.

It’s real now. It’s happening. At the end of the month, I’m saying goodbye to my uterus.

There are so many emotions tangled up in all of this, that I’ve mostly resorted to doing anything I can to avoid thinking about it. A lot of people are happy for me, including my stepmom who also suffers from endometriosis. Happy to see a chance for me to not be in pain any more. My mom is supportive, however, I can tell she’s been thinking about some of the things on my mind.

This isn’t just my appendix or spleen we’re removing. I know I can live without it, but it does mean major changes for my life. This is a door closing. I’m never going to get pregnant or give birth. My feelings and thoughts are just all over the place. I’ve known for a while that I wanted to foster and/or adopt. More recently, I’ve realized that I just don’t know how I feel about infants. They’re squishy little undeveloped humans, and I’m not sure I could really handle that, especially not on my own. However, I don’t know if maybe I’m just telling myself that because I know it’s no longer an option for me. On top of all of this, I’m barely in my 30s and also incredibly single… I hate admitting it, but I feel like it might be harder now to actually find someone now that I can’t bare kids. This is where I tend to hear the line of “well maybe you’ll meet a divorcee or widower who already has kids!” While I’m not necessarily opposed to that, it has it’s own complications. And it’s not like that’s something I’m going to explicitly seek out or something.

I’m saying goodbye to something I’m not even sure I ever wanted. I thought I did for so long. It’s just the narrative you grow up with: get married, have kids. While society is getting better at accepting “non-traditional” families… there is still this overwhelming notion that a woman’s worth is tied up in her ability to be a good wife and mother. And those two ideas are majorly tied together — to be a good wife you need to be a mother, and to be a good mother you need to be a wife… It’s a circle of misogynistic crap, really, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t weigh on my thoughts. I’ve talked about it before, but having a “broken uterus” sometimes makes me feel like a broken woman. Getting rid of the organ? Definitely isn’t helping that.

However, I’m trying to focus on the good. I’ve always wanted to adopt, so it’s not like I have no means of becoming a mom if I so choose to do so. Ideally, the right spouse for me won’t be deterred by inability to provide kids via my own body. It’s also 2017 and we’re finally having the discussion that body parts do not define womanhood. And most importantly: I finally will get a chance at getting my life back. My endometriosis has taken a lot from me — from the endless days of just feeling like crap, to jobs, to school. Heck, it’s even effected friendships. I know that a hysterectomy is not a cure in any means for endometriosis. I even know that the adhesions still might grow back. But this may give me a fighting chance that nothing else so far has done. That has to be worth something.

Where resting had tricked me into thinking I’m healthier than I am

One of the deceptive things about spending all my time at home is that it makes me feel like I’m doing pretty well, health-wise. Let’s face it, I’m not pushing myself each day and letting my body get much needed rest.

However, when I finally get out and try to do something? I’m reminded pretty quickly that I’m not back at 100%. I’m still sick. Things still hurt. And wow am I tired.

Last week was one of those weeks. Actually, sort of the last two weeks. First I had my niece for 3 days during the last part of her spring break. That part wasn’t too bad. I helped her start some cooking skills, and mostly she just watched netflix or played games. However after that? Last week my dad and family came down, partially to take care of some business stuff of my grandma’s, but mostly because sister #3 had scheduled a campus visit. And because I’m attending (or well… whatever), I somehow volunteered myself to do the tour with her.

I surprisingly made it through the hour sale pitch and 90-minute walking tour without much of a problems. Even a few flights of stairs, too. After lunch, though, we popped over to the Anthropology department — my old home — and hung out for a while before listening to one of my colleagues give his non-thesis project defense. During his presentation I started feeling uncomfortable. By the time we get back to my brother’s house, where the rest of the family was staying/hanging out, I was tired. But the nieces were being adorable with their bikes, so I pushed through it.

Dinner is really where it went downhill. The chairs weren’t that comfortable, but I could manage some. Until one of the twins decided she HAD to be with me and sit on my lap for the rest of the evening. She’s only 3-and-half, so she’s not that big at all, but the added pressure on my already tired legs was a bit much. Back at my brother’s house, my little koala-niece wouldn’t let me go home. I had to come inside with her — and let me tell you, toddlers have really strong grips. I made it to the living room, sat down, and cried. It felt like things were tearing. Sadly this is a pain I’m used to.

I did make it home, thankfully. Though I sort of blanked out on the interstate and had to really concentrate to make sure I didn’t miss my exit.* As soon as I was inside, I checked in with my family to let them know I made it, then took pain meds and passed out in bed. I was pretty much out of it and moving slowly for the next couple of days. It’s been a week now since the tour, and my lower back and hips are still feeling pretty sore. Though, some of that is also because my mattress needs flipping. But that’s neither here nor there.

All this time off has sort of been hard in some ways. The rest has been very nice. But it makes me feel like I’m well and and healthy, and… I’m not so much. Which does do a number on your self-esteem. I’m almost 33 and a 10k-step walking day took me out for 2 days. I think part of this is also hard because the weeks before I started getting sick again in January, I was working out 2-3 days a week and feeling great. It’s like something just flipped a switch and suddenly I’ve got this weak, frail body again. Hopefully soon I’ll get some information from my doctor about what our next steps are… I’m ready to get on this path to rebuild.

*If you remember correctly, my car isn’t driveable right now… My brother lent me his winter car. As much as I’m grateful for it, let’s just say it really makes me miss my little car. 

How I realized my obsessive computer habits were turning me into a monster

I didn’t really realize it before, but I had some pretty obsessive tendencies when it came to my laptop and its setup. In my life, I’m a complete neat freak or anything, but things have their places and that’s sort of where they belong. And as I sort of relaxed a little on that, apparently I went way far the other way with my computer. Things had their place and they could not change.

really dislike letting people borrow my laptop because I just know my browser tabs are going to get messed up. Heck. I don’t even really like turning off my computer completely because it means I’ve got to set everything back up the way I need it to be — and lord help me if Chrome forgets all the tabs I need open. What if it loses that article I’ve had open for 6 weeks but have yet to read because I’ll get to it soon, you know? Or the three other articles like it just sitting and waiting to be read. Seriously. It was a problem.

It really came to my attention during all this new time at home. I was watching TV and I just looked down, Do I really need my laptop open right now? Of course inner me starts thinking about all the stuff on social media I’m going to miss if I do not keep everything open all the time. The political and social climate is to dire and important to be uninformed! Or what about the emails?! How will I keep up if I can’t constantly check it? Those 47 sale alert emails for stores I never shop at won’t just sigh and delete themselves! It’s ridiculous, right?

I’ve generally always made use of Apple’s Spaces or Mission Control or whatever it’s called now. The multiple desktop thing. On Desktop 1, I’d have a Chrome window with my gmail, Facebook, Feedly, and my blog’s dashboard. On Desktop 2, it was basically TweetDeck (and all it’s many columns) and whatever else I’d kept open for weeks/months. Recently, I’d started keeping my twitch following dashboard open there, too. Those thing? Could not ever change. A third desktop was kept for pretty much all programs not Chrome: Steam was open all the time, recently Discord’s been open. It’s where I’d do all my writing or design work. I absolutely did not realize just how much stress all of this obsessive order was causing. It would sometimes be 10 minutes of internal debating before I’d close a tab, especially one like TweetDeck or Twitch or Facebook. That FOMO thing? Kind of real.

So about a week ago, I made some big changes. I’ll admit, yes, this was all largely motivated because Chrome and it’s little Chrome Helper things were absolutely destroying my CPU. But, I also knew I just had a problem letting go, and it was getting kind of bad.

My Mission Control now looks like this:

Just two desktops. One for Chrome, one for not-Chrome. And if you notice, there’s not really much opened on Chrome right now. I’ve got a stream I’m listening to in the background, and I’d just opened TweetDeck to check in but also find someone I’d previously been interested in to date but is now in Europe and worked on one of my favorite new games ever (like, whoa that was weird to realize this morning). Anyway. Point: I’m reducing my Chrome footprint, too.

Rather than keep 5000 tabs open all the time… I’m making use of the bookmarks bar. I’ve got all my essentials right there. (And to save space, I’ve just deleted the text and am going with the favicons.)

Honestly, since I check my phone still a decent amount, I don’t need to have my gmail or twitter or twitch open all day long. It’ll let me know if there’s something new. To actually close all of my tabs and not even really have Chrome open outside of in the dashboard… It’s kind of nice. Very weird, too. But there’s not really anything so pressing that I’ve got to keep it on and open and in my face. And of course, with everything going on, it’s nice to feel control over at least one thing in my life right now. But maybe at least now I can cross “FOMO Tab Monster” off my list of personality traits.

What about you? Do you have any obsessive or near-obsessive quirks about your computer setup?

And then things came tumbling down

I remember the sense of pride that came with grad school. The warm and electrifying confidence that came when theories began to make sense, or two theories clicked with each other, or with a method. I remember that kind of selfish, and not so humble feeling of “oh man, I am smart” when you’re able to express and expound upon those connections and revelations. I remember the sense of camaraderie, trying to slug through dense texts — only later to have to attempt to suss out something that resembled a well thought out paper on said dense texts. Or at least, I think I remember those feelings…

For a little over a month now, everything’s been a little numb. I try not to feel much of anything any more. Maybe some boredom here and there. It’s a self-preservation thing. Often, I don’t even realize I’ve gone into this mode.

Though this part of it started mid-February, it seems the pieces really go back further.

If we look way back, maybe this all started with “the incident.” When I was harassed, followed, closed in my own office, and then followed more, all by one of my colleagues in the graduate program. We were only a couple weeks into our first semester. The whole thing triggered something deep in me, and it took months, with help of a therapist, friends, and a trusted mentor, before I felt safe on campus again. It was definitely a set back, but one I felt I overcame.

But really, I think this started a couple months after that. As much as this is a story about my mental health, it’s also a story about chronic illness. I don’t exactly remember when it happened, maybe November, but my endometriosis became bothersome. Bothersome… I missed classes. I missed work. But I guess it didn’t feel too out of the ordinary. This is just life with endometriosis.* However, my bothersome condition was not convenient for the job I was working at the library. In December, after missing more shifts, I lost my job. It sucked, but I thought maybe I should just focus on school and I’d figure the work thing out later. Maybe this summer when I would be out of money again. I finished the term, an outside of needing an extension on a couple papers for my bio anth course, things went really well. Hell, I gave an amazing presentation on agency theory and postmolds and felt on top of the world.

Yet, as the second term started, my health began to be bothersome again. Whenever I’m due for my next Depo shot, the medication I’m on to control my endometriosis symptoms, I generally feel like crap for the week before the new shot. However, this time it started a little earlier. And I ended up being out the entire week I was waiting for my next injection. When I tried to come back, nothing had improved. I finally made it on campus one Tuesday, but only for about an hour before I was sobbing in pain at my desk. I eventually gathered myself up enough to go tell my professors I wouldn’t be in class today. As I was crying in the office door way, one of my professors quickly stated that we should talk soon, and that I should really, really consider a medical withdrawal from the semester, as she didn’t believe I could pass this semester.

Here’s the thing with depression and pain: when you’re dealing with one, the other is significantly more bothersome. That word again. Bothersome. So as she’s explaining this to me, I panic and make myself freeze so I don’t have to process what she’s saying. As soon as I am out of sight of any other people, I lose it. I remember driving home from campus, more upset about the possibility of having to quit the semester than from the pain I was experiencing physically. My professor wanted me to take time to seriously think it over. When I got home, I talked to my dad and stepmom. I was too afraid to talk to my mom. I talked to a few of my gaming friends. If my professor had already decided that she didn’t think I could pass my classes at this point, how could I? Before the end of the day, I’d made an appointment with the appropriate office on campus to fill out the paperwork.

And that was it. Six weeks into the semester and it was all over. This same week, though, my stepmom’s father passed away. I also hit a pothole pretty damn hard, and was worried I messed up something on my axel or alignment. It was after my brother and I came home from the funeral we discovered something had broke in the power steering fluid line. If you’ve never driven a car without power steering, I highly do not recommend it. Not unless you have Hulk strength and no chronic pain.

So in the scope of a week, I lost my school and my car. All of this after loosing my job — just another job I couldn’t hold. And long before that, my self confidence and the physical desire to be in a relationship. All I could see before me was wreckage of my life, all caused by my body — all of it just out of my control.

When I finally talked to my mom a week later, I was sort of surprised how supportive she was. For a long time, I felt like she just didn’t understand this condition I was attempting to live with. For a long time, I’ve felt like such a failure. Since my initial hospitalization, I haven’t really held a job. I had one for a while, but I’m pretty sure the real reason I was let go was due to the fact that I didn’t want to switch to a cheaper insurance plan. In that job, I was let go a month after my surgery, for “budgetary” reasons. Through all this failure as an adult, I’ve continually heard my mom’s sighs, her constant worry about my lack in ability to care for myself financially. I didn’t want to tell her about yet another failure. However, not being in grad school is a big thing, and I knew she’d find out eventually. I mean, she lives 15-20 minutes away and just one simple “how was class” or “what did you do today” would reveal it all. But as we sat at the kitchen table, not really looking at each other, she was calm. As I made disparaging jokes about myself and how can’t do anything right, she just corrected me that this is all just something in my body that I have no control over. And that maybe now is the time to get it taken care of.

That’s sort of the plan now. To take care of everything. I’ve seen two specialists now. Well, had introductory meetings with them. Those doctors’ appointments where the only thing that really happens is you plan more doctor’s appointments. You spend more time waiting than you do with the doctor themselves. So I’m just in this weird in-between place. I have no school, no job, no car, and no definite plans for treatment yet.

Even after the health stuff gets taken care of — whatever that ends up meaning — I’m still not sure where I go from here. Withdrawing 6 weeks into the semester meant messing up my financial aid. I now owe a little over $1300 to pay back the loans from this semester. Unlike other school loans where you get 6 months after you finish to pay them back, this one is due immediately. Between my health and my car, I still can’t work. So, I’m not sure how any of that is going to resolve itself. I just know that if it doesn’t, I can’t register for Fall classes. So while I might finally get some relief regarding my health once we finalize some aggressive treatment plans, I may have just given up any ability to finish my Masters. All of this because I just didn’t have the energy to prove that professor wrong, that I could still bounce back this semester and pass.

There’s too much to feel, and quiet honestly, when I make myself look at it all, I just don’t know how to cope. So I let myself become numb. I know wherever I land, I’ll figure things out, but I just can’t let myself think of that yet. Can’t let myself acknowledge that any part of what I was working so hard towards might be over. The only thing I can cling to now, is that I finally have insurance and can finally see doctors. It’s one of the only good things I’ve got right now.

* And that’s a sort of thing on it’s own… lack of some pathology reports, and now I have one doctor saying I don’t officially have a diagnosis… It’s just another thing I don’t want to think about too much right now.

An Open Letter to the US, in the wake of the Election

“But it wasn’t about misogyny, bigotry, racism, xenophobia, LGBTQ, ablism, fill in the blank…”

Yet to many of us, that’s exactly what this election was about. His victory is this bright, shining beacon of how our nation – our fellow Americans – has failed us. For many of us, we feel betrayed. We’re hurt. We’re struggling to understand how this happened. We were completely naïve to just how bad the unrest had grown, sheltered ourselves in communities, and did not realize just how many people were willing to side with a man without experience, who bragged about and condoned sexual assault, who claimed he did not need forgiveness, who put profits above people, who let his fear of the “other” discount and call for the removal of millions of people, who was overwhelmingly supported by racist groups stating “he speaks our message,” who lied and denied things he was recorded saying even as little as within that hour… The list goes on. With just how close the count was for most of the night, each vote that came in was a silent declaration that we were not worth concern.

Yes, elections are also about things such as the economy and jobs. But we are looking at a man who declared bankruptcy and used loopholes to avoid paying taxes. A man who chose foreign materials over U.S. when it benefited him. Who chose to void contracts and not pay people for work provided. All of these decisions were driven by his underlying beliefs that we do not matter. He has only acted in his own self-interests.

His victory proclaims that we can cast aside our morals and ethics. It shows generations and generations to come that America is just fine and dandy with this sort of behavior. That if you are a white man with money, you can do anything, say anything. Is this a lesson we want for our children? How do we explain this to them? They are watching – and we just gave them carte blanche on unimaginable behavior.

I hope you can see why this hurts for us. Why your messages of “but I still love you” carry mixed messages and little weight when you actively supported someone whose actions and words have been against us. This election was very personal to many people – and for all of those people they’re now questioning not only their place within this nation, but their safety and livelihood. We are devastated. We are terrified.

However, we are also unbelievable strong. You may have just pushed us past our breaking point, pushed us to become more united, to stand stronger, to speak louder, and to not back down against social injustice. We will apologize to our children, explain to them the world is not always a good place – a lesson that may be coming a lot earlier than our desire to let them be children and innocent and joyful would have chosen. Now is the time to promise them we will not stop. This is not the end. We will work harder. We will not let this be our legacy.