Saturday, August 13, 2005


I've decided to start referring to this whole experience as a metamorphosis. It sounds much better than saying I'm recovering from a nervous breakdown. Not that I'm really saying much of anything. It's the big pink elephant in the room ~ the fact that I have a WIDE open schedule for no apparent reason. I'm thinking a "Don't ask; don't tell; do not pursue" policy is in order.

I've also been considering marking the upswing of this whole thing ~ you know, the fact that I've finally decided on life. I'm still not as passionate about it as I once was and I'm still very much involved in the weighing of when so much becomes too much. I think I will spend the rest of my life waiting for that time when I can comfortably say that I did my best and gave it the good fight and gracefully admit defeat ~ I guess I just don't get to do that at 34. So I think I'm going to get a tattoo instead. I found a Celtic butterfly that symbolizes resurrection and I think that's appropriate. I'd get it on the back of my hip just above my butt ~ some place that would never show unless I was wearing really low hip huggers ~ and when would I do that?

I've found out this time around, thinking that I had been through the worst and therefore prepared to face it again, that your mind or your body or some combination thereof actually protects you from the worst. Hitting bottom, I remembered things from 13 years ago that I had completely forgotten. You think that you know how much pain you can endure, but the worst pain you actually forget, so it's so much more. It was those memories and visiting those places again that made me wonder if I even wanted to continue on if and when I did get better. So I'd get better and things would be good, but eventually, I'd find myself back there again, so what was the point? How many times do you really have to claw your way out of the hole before you earn the right to stop trying?

A long time from now, is what my therapist told me. Easy for you! But that's why the tattoo is there. It reminds me how far down it goes and that I can come back, I do come back. And every morning I see it and am reminded of my own strength and resilience. There's also something about a permanent mark on my body from this episode that would otherwise not exist. How can you suffer a life threatening illness (15% mortality rate) and come within spitting distance of death and walk away with out a mark on you, not a single visible scar. Maybe I need that, to make it real for me, beyond all the drugs and the doctors and medical bills, like they're not enough of a reminder.

As much as not eating has been a worrisome symptom, the result has been quite helpful. I can wear clothes now that haven't fit since grad school. It's giving my self esteem a boost when I would otherwise have none.

I told my sister about the tattoo and all the symbolism and how I would see it every morning and be reminded of my own strength. The last time I went through this, I got a kitten. But now that I know I'm allergic to cats, that's just not an option, so I'm going for the tattoo.