Lost friends

I’m having a rough time of it lately.  (Okay, we’ve already established that with the last post, but life hasn’t gotten any better since then.)  I found out yesterday that a friend of mine from high school passed away.  Until I found him on facebook, we hadn’t seen each other in 20 years.  My husband and I saw him two years ago, just before he had gastric bypass.  The surgery went great, he lost a lot of weight and was doing well.  Yesterday, he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 41.

For some reason, I feel the need to eulogize him.  He and I weren’t really close – he didn’t know my deepest, darkest secrets – he didn’t even know that I am bipolar.  But he wouldn’t have cared.  Jeff had a way of making you feel comfortable no matter who you are.  Jeff was so proud to be gay.  Jeff even hit on my husband, whom he had never met until then, telling my husband that should he ever decide to switch sides, just let him know.  Jeff was always laughing; I think his favorite facebook comment was: ROFLMAO.  He had been through so much – lost his entire family over the past 20 years and still he was a happy person – he didn’t let life get him down.  If it ever did, he never let it show.

I have facebook to thank, once again, for being the bearer of sorrowful news.  First there was Tori, a sweet young lady of 26, who we hadn’t seen in six years.  My greatest regret is that I didn’t talk to her more since we reconnected.  I had no idea what was going on in her life.  I knew she had gotten married, but I didn’t know her husband or what she was doing these days, or anything.  At least a mutual friend of ours contacted us and asked us to call her quickly, I guess before we saw it on the facebook grapevine, so we were spared that.  Tori has been gone over a year now, but it still makes me sad.

Next, there was our friend Jason.  He passed away a few months ago.  Jason’s death struck me pretty hard as well.  He lived neared to us than either Tori or Jeff, and we saw him semi-regularly.  He wasn’t a really close friend, but a good buddy.  Jason was only 31.  I found out about his passing while I was chatting with a mutual friend on facebook when he said, “Did you hear about Jason?” No, I hadn’t heard about Jason.  I knew he had been quiet on facebook but I assumed he was on another trip.  Jason loved to travel.  He was always taking cruises – Italy, Greece, the Caribbean.

The odd thing about losing a friend that you interacted with on facebook is that it feels like a life on pause: full of half-finished conversations, one-sided games, missing pieces.  The last thing I heard from Jeff was a message: “Hay sweetie, I’m well and you?? Sorry I didn’t get back to ya before you signed off.”  Jeff was a vibrant person, who loved people, and they loved him.  He had hundreds of friends on facebook, I simply followed the trail of status updates to his facebook page filled with notes of remembrance and rest in peace.

Jason’s death was quieter.  Shortly before he died, he had decided to start using the facebook “poke” function.  I remember his status saying: Jason wonders if a FaceBook “poke” is the equivalent of a “quickie”. Please tell me I’m not the only one who has pondered this.  He started poking me daily (facebook style).  I took it as a compliment.  But I noticed his pokes stopped and his Bejeweled Blitz high scores kept coming up listed as zero.  And still, it didn’t occur to me to think oddly on it – he’s just traveling, I told myself.  Until I learned otherwise.

I confess, I have no conversations from Tori.  A couple of wall messages buried back in 2009.  I’m sorry, Tori.  I wish we had talked more.  Now we never will.  Or maybe I’ll see you on the flip side and we can catch up then.

I miss you: Tori, Jason & Jeff.  I haven’t forgotten you and I never will.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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In the beginning…

Like many of us, I struggled to find a topic to blog about.  A million ideas went through my head: I could talk about random things, I could talk about television shows, I could talk about my hobbies – any number of things. I’ve been going through some health issues recently and I thought about blogging my mystery illness and my quest for a diagnosis and cure.  I sat on the examining table, after having gone through the litany of coordination tests, and listened to the neurologist’s conclusion. He told me that my most significant problem is that my bipolar is out of control.  This upset me.  Wouldn’t it upset you?  But at some level, I recognized the truth beneath the pain.  And I realized that what I should be blogging about is my struggle with bipolar.  It’s the largest thing in my life.  I can’t avoid it, or side-step it, or ignore it, because as soon as I do, it clubs me over the head and drags me off into a deep, dark alley that’s difficult to crawl out of.

As I sat there, listening to the neurologist tell me that my symptoms were related to my bipolar, I grew agitated.  At that time, all I could hear was, ” it’s all in your head.”  The doctor asked me many pointed questions: If you know you’re bipolar is out of control, why haven’t you done anything about it?  Dredging up my past, he wanted to know why did I stay in an abusive relationship for seven years?  I told him it would take a week to explain.  I felt as if I was on trial.  I felt betrayed.  I wanted to ask my husband: why are you siding with them? Why are you ganging up on me?  Why is it not enough for me to say: yes, my bipolar is out of control, but let’s talk about what is really wrong with me?  What has bipolar got to do with my aching joints? What does it have to do with the deep, throbbing, chest constricting pain that sends me to the hospital?

I have neuropathy – idiopathic of course,  because only 40% of neuropathies can be identified.  A 60% failure rate.  How do you like those odds? Also, I probably have multiple sclerosis (MS), but it isn’t active and doesn’t really require treatment at this time.  He said that I don’t display any neurological symptoms.  Ha!  So I can touch my nose with my eyes closed and I can flex my feet and feel a pin.  But I can’t walk too fast or I will trip and fall.  There’s an odd stitchy feeling – like a tickle but not quite – that wraps around my torso and it will trigger the neuropathy pain.  I can’t find a word I want when I want it, or I substitute a different one and never realize it.  I don’t know what I am saying anymore and I can’t remember what I’ve said.

But it’s all in my head.

Except that’s not what he said.

But in a way he did.

There was the explanation that it’s all in your head because all pain is in your head since the brain interprets pain, etc.  The nurse was no better, trying to explain to me that the guy in the room next door has broken more body parts than he can count and yet he wants to know why his arm hurts.  It’s all in his head too, she explains since that’s where the interpretation of pain is.  But I’m not buying it.  No.  She gives my husband the schedule for my new neuropathy medication – 3x/day, evenly spaced, gradually working my way up from 300mg to 900mg.  She gives the instructions to him, because the crazy lady wouldn’t understand.  Or wouldn’t be willing to follow it.

My husband was there acting as a translator between what the doctor said and what I heard through my mania, but all I could hear was his betrayal.  He was on their side.  When did I lose my only ally?   I didn’t hear the doctor say that my symptoms are real, but that my instability is amplifying the pain.  The doctor kept saying, the bipolar is preventing you from dealing with the pain. Whatever that means.  It still sounds like “it’s all in your head” to me.

But yesterday I made an appointment with the counselor.  It had to be done sooner or later anyway, and this is as good a time as any.  I’ll have trouble finding a psychiatrist since I live in a small town, full of (apparently) crazy people because they aren’t taking new patients.  However, I have accepted that the neurologist was right about one thing – my meds need to be reevaluated and I do need therapy.  But I think he’s wrong about one thing too – the pain is real and it’s not in my head.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.