The worst part of chronic illness/pain

The worst part of my chronic illness isn’t the pain, feeling shitty, or the endless meds and doctors appointments… it’s the bone crippling loneliness. The world is going at a hundred miles per hour around me while I sit still. Friends go on and grow while I sit stagnant. 

I have no consistent social life since I can’t work. I can barely commit to anything because I won’t know how I will feel and I don’t want to let people down by canceling. I could go days with out interacting and that is so fucking depressing.   

This lack of interaction creates a couple of emotions… 

1. Insecurity: You see everyone out doing fun things or growing in their careers… yet you can’t participate.  You start telling yourself horrible things about why people don’t want to hang around you.  You’re not able to keep up with people and rarely are people willing to slow down for you.   You quickly start believing your worthless.  

2. neediness: you start CRAVING connection. It’s like your body and brain go through withdrawal. You start pestering friends… pestering to the point they hate you and leave you. They have jobs and have no idea why you could be so lonely. Don’t get me started on how you’ll feel about canceled plans… you won’t have your normal reaction of “thank God I can just stay home and rest”. Instead it’s “I’ve been looking forward to this social interaction all week… it was the highlight of my week!”. You will feel disappointment like you’ve never felt before… because your brain has turned into a needy bitch. 

3. absolute loneliness: you are left with your pain and illness as your only constant. Your brain starts playing tricks on you. You start to realize you’re not a part of society any longer. The world has moved on with out you. It doesn’t need you any more.  

4. crippling depression: Your world has come crashing down. Your brain just can’t function normally. You become this hyper emotional creature from the depth of hell that is a dark shadow upon the light of the world. Being on huge doses of pain meds doesn’t help either. You unlovable at times.  

Expect friends to leave you. This was the hardest part for me. Friends can’t understand what you’re going through. They have their own lives… their own struggles. One by one they will leave you. That’s okay. They have lives too. You can’t expect them to move at your speed. My own husband couldn’t handle it. If a spouse can’t handle it how can you expect a friend to handle it.  

The emotional aspects of having a chronic illness or chronic pain are worse than the physical aspects. I long to work in an office or group again just so I can have a social outlet and feel productive. I’m thankful for the couple of friends who can handle my crazy when it kicks up. I’m thankful for those who haven’t turned their back on me. I’m thankful for those who remember “hey Elizabeth might want to join me/us”. These are the people who will get me through.  

Waiting to die…

Some days… like today… I can feel his breath on my neck because he’s so close. I can feel his presence in my every task as he waits. He waits for the inevitable. He waits to do his job of taking my soul from this world. The reaper is my only constant companion these days. Death is my only commitment.  

Some days I talk to him. I tell him I’m ready. I’m ready for the pain to end. I’m ready to go to my final destination. I can feel the inevitability of it all. Some days I’m at peace with it all. Some days… 

Most days I hold on with every ounce of life and yell at him that I’m not ready… that I never will be. I still have days where I feel alive and I cling to those days. Those are the days where my mind and body decide to work. 

I know my time will come… I can feel that it’s probably soon. I spend my days cherishing moments… I focus on trying to reconnect with people. I hate being alone… it reminds me that I will die alone.  
I’m afraid… I’m afraid of what happens next. I pray for it to come quickly and just end the never ending pain and emotional struggle. Yet I am afraid of dying.  

I pray I’ve touched a life or two. I pray I’ve helped the world in some way. I pray I’m not forgotten… I mean I’m forgettable even alive so I don’t imagine my legacy will go far. So I wait… I wait for death to take my pain away.   

The bathroom talk that changed my life…

Not my picture! Found on internet.

“What’s the worst that will happen if you fail?” This was the question posed to me during a conversation with Mary Lynn Rajskub… and it has left me changed in every aspect of my life.

 It happened during a bathroom conversation in which I divulged I was trying to get over some stage fright I had acquired after a few rough shows. You see I have a HUGE fear of failure. I don’t know why. I just always have.  It’s only gotten worse over the last couple years.   Every human hates failure… I was letting mine cripple me on stage.  

After my conversation with Mary, total fan girl moment for me since I really look up to her but I held my shit together, I got to thinking…. What is really the worst thing that would happen should I fail?

In my daily life money making career I work in veterinary medicine. I perform anesthesia (among other things), a life or death procedure, and have the capacity to make mistakes that could easily kill. Yet I do it with complete confidence.  I mean… I will get nervous during a super critical moment but I KNOW I’m good at it.  I’m completely confident in that situation. Present me with an anesthetic emergency of any kind and I will calmly and confidently work to correct it.  Stand up is different… it’s an art that takes hours of practice and not just knowledge.  

 No one will die if I drop a punchline. The worst thing I guess is some people may judge me based on the bad show.  Luckily there’s always people who have seen me do well.  Everyone has bad shows… even the famous people. I’ve seen many famous comics go down in flames. I’m just a rookie… doing this for fun since I can’t live my active lifestyle anymore to challenge myself… even if I was famous a bad set is just a bad set.   Nothing more.  

If I have a bad run of shows the worst that will happen is I may not get asked back. That’s not horrible in the long run as there are many shows going on in multiple clubs and eventually I could prove myself again. Plus everyone knows I’m just learning.  Why put pressure on myself? It’s ironic a fear of failure could be causing me to fail. 

Failure is a part of trying anything. What counts is pushing through… learning from it… and overcoming it.  I took the stage with this new attitude and it truly boosted my performance.  It’s not that I didn’t give a shit anymore… fear of failure just wasn’t at the forefront of my mind any more. 
Anyone in ANY job what SO EVER is gonna have a bad day.  Failure is inevitable. You will go down in flames at some point. I guess it’s all in how you overcome it. If you have a bad show… bad run… bad day… screw up… etc don’t give up.  Learn from it, move on and do better next time.  Failure is a part of life.  Don’t let the fear keep you from success. 

And some days just suck…

This is not the blog post I wanted to make but it’s one that I need to make…
Today is bad. Today I don’t want to leave my bed because I’m in so much pain. Today I honestly want to die. I had a run of good and decent days so this was bound to happen. Last night it hit like a brick and hasn’t let up. 

I feel like every time one of these bad days hits it knocks the wind out of my sails. Every time my body hits this wall I wonder how many more bad days I can take. At what point do I say enough is enough?  

When you know your most likely never going to be healthy again you realize your life is literally just enjoying the good days as they become fewer and fewer. Yes most days I can get out there and slap a smile on my face pretending things are great… but that’s not how I feel most of time. 

So how long does one suffer? How many bad days does one face alone in bed while the world moves top speed around them? It’s funny how when you feel like this how many of your friends forget you. It’s easy to forget someone who has to stand still. It’s easy to walk away rather than stand by someone when it gets uncomfortable.  

So today will be a day of rest… a forced day of rest. It will also be a day of tears. This is the part of a chronic illness or chronic pain people don’t want to see. This is the part we all try to hide. This is the part we try to slap a smile over so people don’t uncomfortable.  

One day it will end. One way or another. Either the bad days will become too much or a cure will be found… but thankfully one day it will end.  I take comfort in that. Now excuse me while I withdraw from the world…

Dating… the inner ring of hell

She probably got a dick pic
Being that I’m in my mid 30’s and finding myself single again I’m once again in the hell filled dating pool of L.A. Dating in your 30s is like dumpster diving for dinner… yet you’re part of the dumpster trash too. We are all the scraps… most of us trying to get over heart break while we fight through the rivers of hell to give it one more chance at the behest of our friends.   

Let me make something clear… I never want to be in a serious relationship ever again. I have joined the ranks of women who have found joy in being single. Why date then? It’s simple… my friends in relationships make me and it usually involves food. I’m always down for food… or whiskey.

Daily I get calls or texts telling me they found someone I need to meet. That they are perfect for me. I politely remind them I really don’t want to date. They send me a picture… usually a headshot… of a 30 or 40 something blonde woman (sooooo many blondes in Hollywood… even the latinos are going blonde… thankfully I’m over my aversion to blondes… except Latino blondes) or metro guy (probably actually gay) they worked with on a show or met through a friend. Something in my heart twitches with some and for some reason I agree to an evening out with a stranger.  

We exchange headshots… look at each others Instagram… talk on the phone once or twice… then we make plans to meet. This is when anxiety takes hold. It’s the same anxiety that grips me once an audition pops up or I agree to stage time. 

Do I shave my legs? (Don’t give me that shit that a ladies legs are always shaved… I can guarantee at least half of you turn into furry beasts) Do I wear make up? Is my hair going to cooperate? (Probably not… let’s be honest). What the hell do I wear?! Bra or no bra?! Is there enough time to go get waxed?The 3 hours before I leave the house are either spent running around like crazy or giving in to the inevitable betrayal of life and laying in bed watching the clock like a countdown to my execution. 

Finally it’s time… I always arrive first. I’m always on time since I’m from the east coast and being LA everyone else is late. I sit. I have no qualms about ordering a drink so I do. Eventually they show up. We do the awkward stand up, shake, hug thing. Neither of us looks like our headshots and they never look like their filtered Instagram photos. That’s just the way life goes.  

We eat awkwardly. It’s Hollywood though so usually we just push food around our plates as we suck down white wine. I mean… when your on a diet there are priorities to your caloric intake.  

Conversation is made. They are usually working on some big movie, tv show or project. Then there’s me… uh I took an oxy and sat at Disneyland harassing some entertainers I know… but I do some stand up and writing to keep from killing myself (I don’t say the killing myself part… that’s CLEARLY 3rd date material). Then I have to explain both my chronic illness,  my bizzare circle of Disney friends and why I see so many cover bands in dive bars. I also have to promise not to use them for stand up or writing material… oops.  I feel like I should have a disclaimer or something. Eventually the conversation moves on from my bombshells into something more pleasant.  

The uneaten food is packaged to go (we both know it will either be tossed or eaten by room mates while we devote more calories to booze). It’s time to say good bye. It’s awkward hug and kiss time. It’s awkward walk to the valet time. It’s awkward make plans for a second date time. I usually tell them I need to check my schedule… then wait till the 3rd text or call to make another date. Not playing hard to get. I just hate dating that much. Eventually I end up back in my car texting something cynical and depressive to a best friend (okay there’s the occasional “holy hell I love her/him” but that’s only till we get to the 3rd date… then it’s back to flipping tables).

 I would rather sit on a friend’s sofa drinking wine and talking shit on the world than go out with someone I don’t know.  On that note I will probably never get asked out again… that’s fine. Dating is one casket I would love to seal.  

I’m told I’m just still angry over my shitty marriage… that I’m in a mourning stage. Honestly I just really enjoy being single after my disastrous marriage. I’m happy with my close friendships and if I want sex I don’t have to deal with a relationship for that. (Sorry mom)  I’m an adult and it’s 2017. That’s another blog post though, lol.

So into the fires of what is the LA dating pool. Stay tuned for my adventures in dating.  

Everyday is about adjusting my sails…

Freaking truth

Pain… yesterday was a high pain day. It was a high pain day that I had to power through. I wanted to curl into a ball and cry but instead I had to smile and interact. I couldn’t do my usual cancel everything so I can hide on the sofa popping narcotics every 4 hours praying for a meteor from space to come kill me. It was beyond exhausting and stressful.  I feigned functional adult though and for that I’m proud. I push myself hard everyday but days with severe pain are even harder.  

Living with chronic pain is… well… shitty. One day it could be reasonably controlled using modern medicine and the next day I could be unable to leave my bed. No rhyme or reason… it’s just how it goes.  I can’t really plan things with out the disclaimer “if I’m feeling decent”. I go to bed at night wondering what level of hell I will wake up in. That’s if I sleep at all. Most nights I either toss and turn or give up and lay awake thanks to pain and anxiety.  

Going out places requires planning. Will there be someone to drive me home if I have to take my strong meds? Will there be a place to sit? Will there be a quiet place to be for a minute if things get overwhelming? Will I be with a friend who will understand when I want to leave early? Can I fake a smile through feeling shitty so people don’t get put off?  Are people going to think I just want sympathy?  I’ve started just avoiding shows and other social activities that I used to enjoy.  

I feel like a drug addict. Traveling… even just overnight… means bringing multiple bottles of pills. I have to take my narcotics everywhere. If I’m gone for more than 8 hours that means I have to bring other meds too so I can stay on schedule.  My purse sounds like an 80 year olds.  

Much of the time my meds make me feel mentally dull.  I try to take the very minimun… just enough to take the edge off because I hate feeling dopey… but I hate being in pain more.  “Can’t you just deal with the pain” a former friend asked me once… worried I was going to become addicted.  I’m well aware about the risks of addiction but until you’ve been in a public restroom laying on the floor praying for death because you didn’t bring your meds with you and you were 2 hours past your scheduled dose please don’t lecture me.  

Most days I can sort of function thanks to my meds yet other days I can’t do shit. That’s honestly the hardest part of this illness. Gone are my days filled with physical activities like weight lifting, boxing, horseback riding, rock climbing, surfing, and every other hobby I had.  Gone are the days where I could just go go go then party all night.   Instead it’s pats on the back for getting out of bed, showering, and especially leaving the house.   That’s pretty shitty for a 30 something woman… that’s life though.  

My heart still beats and (thanks to a medication adjustment) my brain still works so it could all be worse.  I’m blessed to have awesome room mates who help me more than they know (huge step up from an abusive and neglectful husband), once again live close to other friends so it’s easier to see them and be social, and thankfully live near places that bring me great joy.  Tomorrow could be better… or it could be worse.  All I can do is pray and attempt to sleep… and thank God for that first breath in the morning.   

My life has done a massive 180 but it’s gonna work out if I can just keep myself from myself. I’m trying to learn how to be kinder on myself… to remember that I’m not lazy… that I ACTUALLY NEED rest.   I’m blessed with amazing friends who call me out when I don’t take care of myself and provide comfort and support.  The really good days are rare now as the bad days become more frequent but I have to keep hope that one day the storm will end and I will be left with strength and a story. 

With help I am standing in this storm. My favorite quote… human in picture is Stephanie Wall. Picture was taken during a performance. She has become one of the greatest friends I’ve ever had due to her unconditional love and support during this rough time.

Who have I become? 

Uhg… leave it to Siri to know exactly what to play on my random playlist. Hearing this song today made me realize I’ve been saying no to A LOT of things due to fear. A fear I never used to have.  Damn it Mary Poppins…

It’s crazy but these last couple of years have really thrown me for a huge loop. Between the horrid marriage, illness, having to face drastic career change, absolute betrayal by people I trusted, etc. I’ve closed myself off. It wasn’t something I did knowingly. It just happened.  

I used to say yes to pretty much every opportunity that came my way… now I’m afraid to commit to a dinner out much less an opportunity for growth. But why? Is it fear of change? My crippling fear of failure? Fear of being let down? Anxiety from all of these perhaps.   

I want to get back to being that woman who took risks, grew a successful career by making herself noticed instead of being meek, and didn’t let anyone hold her back. I feel like the shadow of the woman I was 3 years ago. The woman I was before I married a man who hurt me and brought up insecurities I hadn’t felt since middle school… before I lost my self and my voice.  

I will try to stop finding a reason to say no to everything. I will try to come back out of my shell of anxiety and distrust. I will try to aim for the heavens so I can get the stars thrown in.  Why? Because anything can happen if you let it.