Thursday, March 26, 2009


As I began to polemicize in my last entry, I really hated the education system as I last encountered it in High School. My notebooks were filled with doodles, my mind was filled with thoughts of escape and my body with filled with a deep ennui. I am beginning to surmise that the diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at the age of 17 was the inevitable metaphor for how tired I’d become of all that surrounded me.

I have been off work all this week. I have no desire to leave my house. My body aches. My soul is exhausted. Being a pattern-seeker, I see this as the emerging anniversary of my diagnosis 17 years ago, perhaps an opportunity to unravel the mystery of how I became ill to begin with. I have blogged about the brain blip that happened in my teens and the subsequent crash of my mind and body. I am anxious to understand what happened then. I believe it is the key to understanding what is happening to me now.

All I want, I suspect all I have ever wanted, is to see things rightly. To understand. To perceive. To know. I am under no illusion that I can affect change. In my experience so far, the best I can do is see what is and change happens through me. Perhaps this is an extrapolation of the Observer Effect. Perhaps the observer does affect the observed. I don’t know. It could be my recent foray into quantum physics talking or residuals of my penchant for new age mumb-jumbo, but it’s the premise I’m working with now in this science experiment I call my life. I am observing, doing my best to see what is, to understand, to look deeply beneath what I have taken to be true, and wondering.

I have no certain answers. My health issues over the years have been dynamic and multi-faceted. I watch the body dance through pain so real I can taste it and fatigue so heavy the covers on my bed feel like dumbbells. I watch the monkey brain do its thing. I watch it weave all manner of crazy. But I can now watch it. This is new. This is different. It’s like watching other bodily functions unfold. I don’t always know how it all happens, I just know that the body does what it does, just as the mind does what it does. It’s not personal. It’s just what is. Until it isn’t.

It’s a funny thing. This body feels ill. This mind feels ill. But I’ve never felt saner or more alive in my life. How is it possible for these two states to co-exist? They say going sane looks just like going crazy. Maybe that’s it. Or not. Maybe the right medication, at the right dose, will “cure” me of this contradiction and return me to the working world once more.

I saw a new psychiatrist yesterday. I like her. She’s young. She’s cool. And she mostly works with children and adolescents. Considering I’m still both of those, I think we’ll get along just fine.

She was telling me about some ADHD meds she thinks might be useful for me. I told her I used to work with ADHD kids. She found the same thing in working with these kids that I did. It was rare that parents wanted to medicate their kids and opted for the short-acting forms of the ADHD drugs more often than not, so that, by the time they came home from school and on weekends, these kids could just be themselves. The main reason they’d medicate their kids was to make them more manageable in the classroom. This saddens me.

Is this what medication will do to me—will it placate me into being a “productive” member of mass humanity? Am I just a cog in the collective wheel?

I am reminded of that Gary Larson The Far Side cartoon with a bunch of penguins hanging out on an ice floe. From the indistinguishable mass of black and white, this one penguin belts out, “I gotta be me!” I am that penguin. Whatever “me” is, I wanna be it and surrender to it fully. If that’s crazy, ADHD-mind-in-Chronic-Fatigue-body girl, so be it. I can accept that.

tall penguin


CyberLizard said...

Too many similarities for me to acknowledge. I'm going to try to get to a sleep clinic soon since I have no idea what it's like to wake up and actually feel refreshed.

Anyway, I'm currently taking 10mg Adderall 3x day. It definitely hasn't changed my personality, it's just provided a modicum of clarity and focus where I would normally become overwhelmed with input and thoughts. It's also made me much less irritable. It seems to increase that minuscule moment in time between experiencing something and reacting to it, which allows me to observe it and make a choice how to react to it. Which means that I don't snap at people as much ;-) Meditation also dramatically increases that moment. It's fascinating to be able to observe your reactions to an event and be able to make a conscious decision about how to respond, rather than just feel like you're being dragged along for the ride.

Phil said...

For years I felt the same way...wake up and never feel refreshed...and finally did the sleep clinic thing--to find I was suffering from sleep apnea...and that has changed everything....