I’m tired. Exhausted. My mind is both filled with mud, thick and impossible to navigate, and it’s a sieve where thoughts pour through like sand, impossible to catch.
Of course I’m tired. I’m a 21st century adult who’s bearing down on 40 with a vengeance.
But I’m also in pain. Not enough to call it “chronic” but certainly enough to recognize that my body doesn’t function quite like it once did. John Brownstone has a bad back, and I, apparently, have a bad neck. A literal pain in the neck.
Moist heat. Electrostimulation. A change of sleeping position. Rest. Stretches. Everything but the doctor appointment, steroid shots, and physical therapy I probably need but can’t afford thanks to a recent change in our health insurance. If I can nurse it back to something like “health” then I’ll be fine. I know I will be, but that doesn’t stop my mind from analyzing it from every angle.
At first the pain takes over.
It zaps my focus. Takes all my energy. Annoys the fuck out of me.
I can’t decide if I want to cry from the hurt or the frustration that it’s just there and won’t go away.
Then it’s the exhaustion. From holding my body in a “just right” position to avoid pain. From losing sleep as every position causes some kind of discomfort. And the exhaustion of wondering, “Is it a little bit better or worse today?” It wears on your mind and body. Slows you down.
Sometimes I find myself staring into space. My mind incapable of holding a thought. My muscles aching from tension and strain. And I just want a nap, but sleep is the enemy because it’s so damn uncomfortable.
There’s also the fact that I’m doing my best to maintain a routine, keep up with work, and not actually admit anything is different.
Don’t mind me with my old lady whining. I’m living with the flare up of a newish condition and adapting to it like the babygirl that I am. A bit of whining. A bit of worry. Maybe even a bit of concern that “this is how it is now” and all that.
How am I really coping with it?
With a stiff upper lip mostly. I was raised by someone who lived with chronic pain. I try to surround myself (online) with all types of people, many of whom have to navigate their own chronic conditions. Knowing that it could be so much worse, my brain says, “Don’t complain.” And sometimes I even listen.
But being this exhausted and hurting this much offers a few lessons:
What I tell myself is “extremely important” now seems less so — like keeping the same routine, doing the same things over and over again, and thinking that anyone really cares whether a blog post goes live at a specific time on a specific day.
That I am capable of slowing down, even if it’s because my body is forcing me to do it.
I now empathize fully with anyone who deals with brain fog. This is beyond the, “What did I come into this room to do?” kind of forgetfulness. It’s honestly a little scary, and I’m glad I’ve only forgotten relatively minor things like shaving my legs.
That I’m still not good at asking for help, and also I hate being treated as if I need help and can’t do anything — as John Brownstone now knows very well. Let me make your damn coffee, okay?!
My identity, for so long, was tied up in being healthy which is ridiculous because an injury or illness can hit anyone at any moment. Even though I went through all this health stuff in 2018, I’d somehow convinced myself it was over. Now I have to face the identity crisis that comes along with that kind of pretentious thinking.
I also get the guilt that people talk about. Guilt that I’m letting people down, that I’m not doing what I said I would do. Who’s behind in scheduling Smutlancer calls, reading Masturbation Monday, and doing Big Things™ with Loving BDSM? This girl right here.
But the pain and exhaustion do one thing that can’t be all bad. They force me to focus — on the here and now, on what’s most important in this second. So if something doesn’t get done or I’m late on my own goals, it’s okay. I doing what I can as I can.
I’m not looking for sympathy or advice. I’m not even sure any of this makes sense — remember, my mind is both thick mud AND a sieve. But it’s my current reality. For all I know, in a week or two, I’ll be back to “normal” whatever that means and this will all feel like a bad memory. Or not.
If anyone wondered where the hell I am or why I’m not doing what I normally do, now you know.
For actual smut, there’s a better place to be. Go there now, do the thing, enjoy the smut. You know you want to.