So this is awkward.
In case you missed it, in my last post I wrote all about the Fight or Flight response and how my Chronic-ness has conditioned me to be much more prone to Flight and Avoidance than I’d like to be. It was a pretty personal post and I ended it with the intention of adjusting my attitude to stop avoiding things so often.
I promptly followed this up by disappearing from my blog for a week because I was busy- you guessed it- avoiding stuff.
Not that I didn’t have a reason. (I always have a reason.)
You see, I gave in to the Siren Call of the Magic Pill.
Here’s the thing: There are absolutely no cures for any of the chronic illnesses that I have (see What’s POTS? in the sidebar for a complete list/explanation). Everything is symptom management, and it’s all a big case of trial and error. Pharmaceuticals are tricky little buggers. They can be immensely helpful or immensely horrific.
My experiences have tended towards the latter.
Because of this, I have whittled my medication list down to the bare bones, to the things that I absolutely have to take and nothing else. I have worked super hard at changing my lifestyle to be Chronic-friendly. I do everything right. I try, try, try.
I still am functioning at about 55-60%. As in, every day I wake up and I’m only just now gaining footing on the “Today’s going to be pretty ok” side of the fence instead of being stuck in 50-50 land, or worse, the “Today’s pretty much going to be awful” side. Sure, I exercise and manage to function at some capacity most days.
But it is
I feel like I have had enough bad pharmaceutical experiences that I should know when a pretty little green pill comes along promising to make my life so much easier that I should back away slowly and just say, “No thanks.” I feel like I should know better by now.
Those pretty little green pills sing a lovely little song. They say all the things you want to hear. When you Google them, 99 articles from people <JustLikeYou!> pop up to tell you how making this one little change made their Chronic-ness recede into the background of their lives so that they could carry on being awesome.
I would like to carry on being awesome.
Of course I know that there are jagged rocks surrounding the Island of Magic Pills, and if I get drawn in by the sweet sound of “decreased startle reflex, better sleep, less pain,” my ship may just get wrecked.
But I did it anyway.
I just want something (anything!), just once, to be easy.
My doctor agreed that it wouldn’t hurt to try something different. I have plateaued, more or less, and it wasn’t a stretch to say I could use a bump to get me past this weird in-between place I currently inhabit. She wrote a script.
The first day I try something new is always my favorite. I tend to have a great day that day. My insides are a little shook-up by the new thing, and the momentary internal confusion means that I kind of get a day off. As such, I was able to be an essential participant in ripping out yucky old carpets from the house I’m moving into and prying up the numerous old staples in the floor. For like, 7 hours. Then we went to Home Depot. Then I made dinner. Then we watched a movie. I was awake, alert, and relatively symptom-free the whole time.
~Insert False Sense of Security Here~
After approximately 24 hours of being duped, my immune system realizes there’s an invader in its midst and gets to work. It doesn’t take kindly to having unauthorized visitors. (Side note: Every visitor is unauthorized.) Therefore, from that point on, my insides decide to make the invader pay for its trespassing. Just as quickly as I felt better, I fall apart.
I tend not to give up, and trying a new medication is no exception. I “give it time” and “try to get used to it.” In the meantime, I try not to notice that all I have brainpower for is watching too much reality TV. I tell myself that I am letting myself “rest” even though there is nothing restful about side effects. And while I am super glad to know that Caitlyn Jenner is going to be just fine and that eating my bodyweight in marshmallows will not induce diabetic shock, there are other things I should/could/would be using this time for.
There is no Easy Fix.
There is no Magic Pill.
I realize this by Day 4. I can see that my ship is taking on water. I realize that I am sinking.
I want to avoid the inevitable. I want to pretend that if I hunker down in my Chronic cave (a.k.a. my room) for just one more day, I will make it to the other side, and all the promises that the Magic Pill Sirens promised me will come true.
I want it to be easy.
Being a fighter is hard. You walk the “hard road,” you make “tough choices.”
To avoid is to “take the easy way out.”
I wanted an easy way to be a fighter, and just ended up doing more of the same old Avoidance song-and-dance.
Now I’m on the other side of it, as thankfully I didn’t wait too long for those side effects to never go away. I’m still recovering (though I’ll never get those brain cells back that died peacefully in their sleep as I watched 12 consecutive Say-Yes-To-The-Dress episodes…RIP) and I’m trying not to be mad at myself. I feel foolish for giving in to the Siren Call. I’m trying not to blame myself for being tired of the Hard. I am only human, right?
I went back to my exercise today. I cooked my boring healthy food and put the marshmallows away. It’s not super fun. It’s not super easy, but it is the way that will actually get me to where I want to be. I have to remember to put my trust in myself and not Pfizer.
What was your Siren Call, Chronic readers? Did some pretty little pill promise to make your life better? Maybe a magical diet? We can’t blame ourselves for trying, but the truth is that if it seems too easy, it probably isn’t going to produce lasting change. Hard work and dedication, Chronic friends. We’ll get there one day, you and me ❤