I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been rather ill. Since 1998, my immune system has been attacking my endocrine system. This has led to several conditions which effect my digestive system, adrenal glands and has resulted in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (thyroid disease) and more.
If it weren’t enough that I continue to struggle with complex post traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), I’ve also had do deal with this health issue on top of that.
I suspect, however, that this immune issue was actually triggered by the CPTSD. Actually, it doesn’t really matter whether one caused the other or if my physical issues would have happened anyway. The bottom line is that I have to deal with them both and do the best I can.
I was surfing the internet yesterday to find some helpful hints as to what I can do to address my physical symptoms. One thing that struck me was how many people with Hashimoto’s are regularly ignored and patronized by the innumerable doctors they’ve been to. There’s a frustration and anger about not being believed that their symptoms are valid and many times such folks are referred to psychologists and put on various medications. I’ve experienced this myself. Going to an endocrinologist or primary care physician and being immediately referred to a psychiatrist was not the assistance I was looking for and didn’t even begin to address the many physical symptoms which have often made me completely unproductive and immobilized.
Then, of course, there are the legions of people who say “oh yea, I have that too.” People who are able to work and exercise and live normal lives…if your able to function, you don’t “have that too.” Others will just say, “suck it up. Get over it and move on. Your just being lazy.” Before my illness got as bad as it is now, I worked 16 hour days. I worked nights, weekends and holidays. I was committed and determined to be the best that I could at any job I had and was regularly recognized for the quality and quantity of my work. I was often recommended for promotions whether I worked at a convenience store or in a corporate setting. Without empathy or compassion, it’s all too easy to just dismiss the struggles and tribulations of others.
Yet, since becoming ill, the general consensus is that I’m just crazy and lazy.
After all I’ve been through. After all I’ve struggled through. With all I still try to do. These flippant judgements have been a source of a great deal of anger and resentment. In seeing others with similar experiences, I can appreciate their rage and bewilderment at being cast aside and invalidated so casually and with such unthinking, absolute conviction. Combine this with the continued effects of CPTSD and it leaves me at a complete loss as to why I should care or make an effort about anything.
All I know is that I do the best that I can with what I have to work with. I continue to strive to be a good man, a good husband and a good father. My physical illness and the CPTSD have made this a challenge. I’ve made many mistakes and a lot of bad choices. Still, I refuse to quit. I have nothing to prove. I only strive to do the right things for the right reasons…because that’s the right thing to do.
The important thing is to maintain and invoke the core of who I am, even if most (or all) other people say I’m just “crazy and lazy.” If you hear something enough times, from enough people, there is a very real danger that you’ll start to believe it. I’m constantly pulling myself out of that quick sand.
I have good days and bad days. In the end, it’s enough to do what’s right. In the end, it’s enough to ever strive for and invoke the core and truth of who and what I am. I will continue to feel sick and be plagued by demons of my past for the rest of my life. There is no release, only progress. This is as stark as it sounds…
…and yet, I refuse to quit.
Be Well, My Friends,