I've been walking in dark places lately, folks.

I know I've said it before, but living with the reality of intense chronic pain and the other symptoms of chronic illnesses just grinds you down, wears you out, and makes your soul shake from the strain of trying to hold it all together. I tell C, "I'm tired," and I don't just mean physically.

I'm tired. So, so tired.

I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I've only been dealing with this kind of life for about a year now, and not even a full year since it started out from nothing and worked up from there. It's terrifying to realize how much your life can change on the inside of one short year. It makes me fear for my future. A year from now, will I even be able to walk? To bathe myself? Will I be stabilized? Might I be better? Cured, even? I have no way of knowing, none at all. I could never have imagined living this way. I didn't even know that people did live this way. I did not know that there are people who spend all their waking moments in some level of physical pain, through absolutely no fault of their own. I just didn't know.

And now? I know. Dear god, do I know. And I'm tired.

I could list all the things I'm tired of, but I'm too tired to do that. My heart is just tired out.

I don't want to live this way any longer. I know I keep saying that, but it's always, always true. And it's been more true lately than ever, and I've been more tired than ever, and it all just has been culminating in some sad, bad moods. Yesterday was one of those days, and yesterday was the first time in a long time that I seriously thought about taking my own life, or at least bringing myself to physical harm. The absolutely terrifying part of it was the lack of emotion with which I contemplated this possibility, though. Always, in the past, my suicidal ideations have been accompanied by intense despair and distress, an intensity of emotion and thought that whips me into a frenzy, desperate for relief. I am desperate for relief, yes, but not frothing and foaming inside. I genuinely worried myself last night, so I asked C to lie with me a while and hold me and talk with me. He did, and it relaxed me enough to get me drifting off to sleep. Before I went to sleep, though, I sent J this fb message:

"I need help. Some encouragement. Really down cause of pain and sick. First genuine consideration of suicide today. What scares me the most is the total lack of emotion with the consideration.
I need something to look forward to, something to hang on to... Something to live for. Something to get me through because I am weak on every front right now."
She responded with this beautiful show of support:
"Cass, you are so strong and brave. Just the fact that you're asking for support proves that, because you're fighting a war no one should have to face, but especially no one should have to face it alone. You use so much courage every day that it only makes sense that you might borrow some at times!

And hey, the way you feel right now is normal - not good, but it's completely understandable that you feel like ending your life because of all the pain. You're not a bad person to have those thoughts. But please please don't act on them! Your life means so much to so many people. Think of your family - your little sister is going through her own private hell and when she sees you with your happy marriage and productive job, despite everything you have been through and still are going through, I'm sure it gives J hope. And K, and Jr, and your mom, too. And look at how you influenced that high school girl to seek help from an abusive relationship. You affect more people than you even know with your work. And would would E do without you? Or C? You know you give meaning and happiness to his life that he would not otherwise experience.
And of course there's me!! Who would I cry to about all my ridiculous heart-aches and drama?! Besides, I'm counting on seeing you at Christmas. So you can't let me down! 
I am praying for you. (Like it or not! Lol) I happen to believe that God's heart is breaking right now over your pain and despair and that He's longing for the day when He will come back and wipe away every tear, and there will be no more suffering, pain, or death. I don't know why He hasn't healed you now, or even why He hasn't come back yet, but I still believe He will and that He will make all things new. (Too preachy? Sorry.. what did you expect? Lol. But know I'm totally serious. I wouldn't bring it up at all if it wasn't so important to me. Sometimes that's the only hope I hang on to on the dark days.)
Hey, I love you so much. Hang in there, friend! There will be better days. Maybe not 100% better, but better. Don't leave the stage in the middle of your song!"

That, combined with a phone call from her checking up on me this morning, combined with an email from another friend... well, it really helped to give me something to hang on to. C told me last night that another thing I have to hang on for is our future child. He's right about that one.

It's just hard, you know? It's hard to live a life like this. I mean, I know everyone has their battles to fight, and everyone feels like they have it the roughest, and I know that I don't, but it's still so flipping hard.

I read this blog post by Fluted Cups and Ampersands this morning called Sick, Lonely, Brave (Illness is a lonely thing), and it really, really spoke to me. This was another thing that helped give me something to hang on to. I know there's others out there fighting just like I am... and while that doesn't make my pain any more or less bearable, physically, it makes the emotions of it seem less damning and more normal. So even though I'm not super adept at blogging about chronic illnesses and the underlying issues, this girl is, and I think her post is very much worth a read and a share.

Mom told me the other day that her hair has been falling out in clumps. She thought for a while it was just stress, but I told her to go see the doctor. They're running blood panels for thyroid, some other stuff, and for lupus. I hope it's not lupus. It would make my illnesses make more sense if it were, but I hope for her sake that it's not lupus. But, you know, even if it is... I guess I can give her some pointers on living the spoonie life. One of the most important things? Put together a good support system. :)

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