Yesterday, at the gym (because, really, it would be way too convenient for this shit to happen at home), I had a “time travel” seizure. (Let’s shorten that to TTS.) I was not over-heated. I did not have an aura before it. I had barely even started working out. Honestly, I don’t know what caused it. Could be hormones. Could just be MS fucking with me. But the cause isn’t the reason I’m talking about this particular seizure. I bring it up because it’s the first time I’ve had a TTS where I’ve woken up believing I was at the beginning of my MS journey.
2007 Rachael, Welcome To 2014.
Usually, when I have a TTS, music will bring me back pretty quickly. That was not the case yesterday.
Several things were thrown at me all at once, upon the combination of waking up confused and music not helping. “New” information: I got married to Adam. I regularly have seizures, and those seizures are definitely a progression from “the nods” that I was experiencing in 2007. Oh, and I have MS, not narcolepsy. I live in Chicago, of all places (which was my least favorite city in the world prior to being forced to live here), and I’ve never taken the IL bar exam. I graduated law school, but never became an attorney. I have no job at all, and I have gotten fat. (Nevermind the fact that I’ve lost 20 pounds in the last 6 months. Right then, it didn’t matter. 2007 Rae was in the best shape of her life…and was 50 pounds lighter than I am now.)
I was *super-pissed*. And I don’t mean I was just upset and stewing. I was actually shouting mad. I grieved everything all at once: No career as a film and music attorney. No interns looking up to me. No submissives to toy with. No clubs to perform in. No beach. No Los Angeles. No free shows because “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” No pride in my body. No driving. No “dream life.”
And sadly, because I was, for all intents and purposes, 2007 Rae, I had none of the very necessary psychological coping skills I’ve developed over the last 7 years.
The number of times the phrase, “I SHOULD JUST KILL MYSELF” went through my head were innumerable and intensely painful.
Fortunately, when Adam put on “Timber” by Ke$ha & Pitbull, I remembered a Bulls game… and then a cardiology appointment… and then just about everything up through November of last year. And I felt very embarrassed.
We Are Our Harshest Critics.
When I fully came back to myself, about an hour or so later, several things occurred to me: that 2007 Rachael was shallow, power-hungry, and very unforgiving… that I have gained a lot of inner strength, patience, compassion, and empathy through the hard work that I put in with several therapists… that I don’t really like who I was as a person back then, even if I thought I was cool. I wasn’t cool. I was trying too hard, all the time.
Honestly, I don’t even know if 2007 and 2014 Rachael would be friends with one another. 2007 Rachael was so disenchanted with the world that she had questionable ethics with regard to how she treated herself and others. She put “reaching for her dreams” above everything and everyone. And her dreams? They had everything to do with control. The dream was to be a taste-maker, somehow being able to promote the bands I liked to stardom. The dream was to become completely independent and rich, so I’d never have to depend on anyone else for money or care. Heck, even though Adam and I had already moved in together at that point, she never thought it would last. The words out of her mouth last night? “I never thought we’d stay together. You’re too nice.” I’m glad I was wrong.
Being Okay With Today
Whenever I time travel, the insights I take away from it tend to echo in my mind for a while, really shaking up my perspective on the way I’m living. I always have to question those thoughts for truth.
When I found out that I wasn’t an attorney, and that I don’t have a career, the words out of my mouth were, “I don’t help anyone!” Adam was quick to correct me. He said that I make a positive difference with this blog. He said I make a difference in the lives of my friends who I interact with on Facebook and PatientsLikeMe. He said I make a positive difference in his life.
Honestly, I don’t know how I could do life without Adam. And that scares the shit out of me. Hold onto anything too tightly, and it will slip from your grasp. The fact that he stays with me despite this shit boggles my mind. I’m not sure what I ever did to deserve this kind of unconditional love, but I’m deeply and profoundly appreciative of it.
And really, after revisiting my 2007 self, I don’t totally understand how he fell for me in the first place. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that I am not the sum of my problems. I guess there was a lot of good there that I’m presently ignoring. I was actually living up to what I thought was cool… doing yoga several times a week, going to farmers markets, being ambitious and persistent with regard to law school, writing regularly in my LJ, clubbing with friends, hiking, and coloring my hair blue. I could have done a lot worse.
So… what now?
This just leaves me wondering what I can do nowadays to feel as good about myself as I did then. I want to genuinely believe I’m cool, and that’s something only I can control.
So what’s cool to me? Being creative. Being social. Being helpful. Being healthy.
I know the first thing that came to mind was writing more regularly in this blog, and about more things than just how seizures and MS affect me. I used to live life for the stories that I’d tell on Live Journal. That wasn’t necessarily a bad way of living. It got me out of the house on days when I otherwise would have just turned on the TV and zoned out.
There’s nothing terribly interesting about spending my days on the couch, scrolling through Facebook for hours at a time, doing chores, hitting the gym, and then watching TV until it’s time to sleep – over and over again. Moreover, there’s no good reason for me to be living that way. It doesn’t exactly scream “joi de vivre.”
As far as physical activities go, I know I’m headed in the right direction with our 3-4 x a week gym habit, but I really miss yoga. I hope I can find a place where they don’t crank up the heat and don’t charge over $100 a month. Maybe I just need to find some good routines online. Suggestions are both welcomed and appreciated.
I also miss the health benefits and social aspects of Hike the Geek. Heck, Reichart even said a few years ago that if I put together a HtG group here in Chicago, he’d join us when he’s in town… but in the few months since I’ve regained the ability to hike, it’s been too hot outside for me to do so.
I keep talking about buying a cooling vest, but I haven’t pulled the trigger. I’m not sure why, other than I keep thinking I can create one for myself that will be more cost effective, since most quality cooling vests are both ugly and pricey. (We’re talking $125-$450.) That being said, being cheap with myself has done nothing but create stress for me recently, and nobody has time for that nonsense. I certainly shouldn’t let a couple hundred bucks hold me back from being active, being with friends, and being happy.
I guess, if I’m taking anything positive away from yesterday’s experience, it’s remembering that I’m both in control of being awesome and am happy to do the work.