Finding the You You Once Had

I'm angry at myself.

I'm pretty sure it is a frustration-mixed-with-steroids sort of angry with myself but that's how I feel so I'm trying to sit with it and learn from it.  I'm trying hard to figure out how I get back to the place where I can hear the words "I'm a writer," come out of my mouth and feel like it actually applies.

I used to identify myself as a writer.  I wrote.  I wrote a lot.  I even finished a few things and published a couple small things and won a few small rewards.  I remember the first time someone else - a professor who had read my work but who was not someone I knew personally - called me a writer and I thought "OMG...I'm a writer."  

Then life got in the way and I stopped calling myself a writer because I didn't write.  I still scribbled notes at times, and even wrote a few small pieces but I didn't do anything with them except give the finished pieces away as personal gifts.  I figured they were a little off the beaten path and I don't cook so it wasn't like I could give cookies or anything.  But I sure as hell wasn't a writer anymore, at least not in my own mind.

I've been sick.  I have SLE and Addison's and they sometime combine in interesting (and unpleasant) ways to  make me miserable.  My knees and legs and ankles hurt.  The small bones of my hands and feet hurt.  My elbows hurt.  Finding a comfortable position to sleep is impossible so sleeping is impossible, even when I'm exhausted, and I am exhausted. The cure is a bigger dose of steroids, which then causes me to swell to the place where my skin hurts to the touch because it is stretched painfully over my body.  

The steroids also fuck with my emotional state.  I'm irritable, and I over-react and I can't stop talking, but I can't focus either so my conversation jumps all over the map and none of it is complete.  I look at things that I think should be easy to complete (because they were easy to complete a week ago, and I'm pretty sure they will be again in a week or two, but I need to do them NOW) and I can't break down the steps I need to take to even start, let alone finish.  When I talk, I ramble.  I know I'm rambling and I can't stop.  Worse, I can't recall the right words a lot of the time (it's called a lupus fog but the Addison's is also significant for causing a sort of break in the center of the mind that controls language and expression) so I stutter and stumble over everything I'm trying to say and Gods help me if I get interrupted because I can't pick up the threads.  I have to go back to the start of the yellow brick road and go through the whole damn dance routine again.

I end up playing with my nails a lot.  I just learned how to do my own acrylics (which means for less than $20 I can put acrylics on four or five times out of the same supplies, rather than pay $40 a pop at the salon) and I'm kind of proud of myself for it because I did it by watching a couple YouTube videos and just trying to remember whatever I've seen the better nail techs do.  It took me about four fingernails to get it right, but when the steroids had me up at 3, 4, and 5 AM the other night I did them and even my picky ass knows they look good.  

The nurse at the infusion clinic at my rheumatologist complimented me on them.  She thought they were real, and while normally I would just have said "Thank you!" and moved on (because I don't believe it is a necessary thing to put make up and fake nails and all that and then tell everyone who compliments you how fake it all is, implying that in reality I look like some weather beaten hill hag) I told her that I did them myself.  (Pride won out over Vanity.)

By the way, if you ever think "That looks hard" about putting acrylics on your own fingers, it is.  It really is.  In a little while I'll stop being so excited about them, and proud, but right now I'm going with it because it distracts me from everything else.

I can't even type coherently...which is what I mean when I say I can't get back to myself.  I keep setting writing goals for myself and trying to figure out how to swing my life back around to the place I used to be where I wrote all the time...or at least enough of the time.  

Time seems to be the problem.  I set aside time to write and it doesn't happen.  Either I get sick and can't focus or form a sentence when I do have the time to write, or I get sick and can't get done other stuff that I have to get done in order to keep my life functional (ish) (sort of) so then when I AM able to pull it together I don't have the time to write because I have to get all the life-functional-things done.

And then there are the doctor visits from hell, like yesterday.  I'm on a list for the infusion clinic and they just rotate through it, putting as many people in as they can a day.  There are various treatments, and I'm still learning what all is really available to me, but it all basically involves either IV or IM steroids.  The doc's office is over an hour away - and that means an hour back - and then the infusions take anywhere from 45 minutes after they get started to 4 hours, depending on what you need done.  I'm exhausted before I leave.  By the time I get back, I'm exhausted, hyper from the meds, and stressed out.  (This last trip was an especial bitch, btw, because they couldn't get a vein.   I have tiny, crappy veins that don't hold a needle and they tried for the best three they could find before giving up, so I spent an hour just getting poked before they gave up and gave me the shot IM instead, which isn't as effective.)

I'm frustrated because I don't want to let being sick disrupt any more of my self identity than it already has....and it has.  It has changed so much about how I feel about myself and so much about how I see myself that I wonder if I am ever going get to a place where I can look at myself and see any of what I want to see when I look in the psychological mirror.

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