When insomnia is a huge part of your symptom/side effect cocktail it gives you a fair amount of time to think about things, (especially when you’re out of lives on candy crush, but that’s a whole other post in itself). Lately ye olde chronic illness has me knocked on my ass, which obviously sucks, but for whatever reason it’s hitting me harder than usual and leading to some reflection of sorts.
I’ve always considered myself a little “crunchy” as my production executive older brother would say. I love being in nature, gardening is one of favorite things to do, and I’ve taught my way through a few countries to be able to experience what our world has to offer. Aside from all the clogs, my second signature trait was never staying put. The past few months, well I guess years, have really made me think if I’m still that person.
The clogs have obviously remained if not expanded, but I find myself more and more sedentary as the months and years go by. Why? You guessed it: my chronic illness. I’m afraid to leave my doctors, my care team, and when you’re at 30+ pills a day the exploratory travel that defines my early twenties just isn’t possible. More than that, spending time outside long enough for a hike, or to tend the single square foot garden outside my apartment feels like Russian roulette. Will this trigger flare or not? Who the fuck knows?
Sure I have just as many potted plants as I do pills, but at a point I start to feel like that hermit, that home bound person that boasts JOMO (joy of missing out) rather than FOMO (fear of missing out) as a coping mechanism. It’s a new identity I never really thought I’d have. Thank goodness for sarcasm because without it I don’t know what the fuck I’d do in these situations. If someone invited me on a hike 5 years ago, no problemo, but now it’s a sarcastic, “wait you want me to leave the house to climb up hills? hard pass. ” I fucking love hiking, but my body can’t handle it, and saying that is a giant bummer. So you know what? I don’t.
Once you reach a certain level with your diagnoses your favorite things can become a field filled with land mines of flares and triggers. In short it fucking sucks. Lately after reflecting on staying put for three years in the same job same city, mostly because I need the health insurance, I find myself struggling to hold on to the pre-land mine identity I had and grappling with what things will look like moving forward. Here’s to hoping with all this insomnia I have the time to figure it out.