I am not always in possession of my own faculties and the resulting anger lashes out, mostly at my husband, whom I hope recognizes it is seldom personal.
I hate myself in these moments – not all of me – just the malfunctioning parts.
It happens when I overexert myself. Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease is the new name attributed to ME/CFS, and it is appropriate. Even my brain suffers from exhaustion.
I have been pushing myself extra hard lately – partly because I am tired of being tired, and partly because I have some things I need to get done – and the result for my brain is that it is losing ground. I forget things, become confused easily, and cannot process information.
We have been prepping here for a yard sale. That means making a lot of decisions. Decisions involve executive functioning: Is this object redundant? Can I see myself needing it down the road? How much should I ask for it? While these may seem like fairly straightforward questions, to the disabled mind they can be taxing.
Mid-afternoon my sister dropped by to help out. Conversation was difficult as the words just would not come. She took home a couple of things to try out in her own home. Later, she texted me money for the items.
This is when it all fell apart.
I have never received money via texting before and my brain, instead of seeing a new learning opportunity, shut down.
“I can’t do this!” I bemoaned to my husband. “Why would she do that to me?”
He tried to talk me through it. My brain rebelled further.
“Can’t I just forward the text to you and you do it?”
“You can try, but I don’t think it works that way.”
Money, my panic was telling me, is suspended in space and you better hurry up and grab it!
I tossed my phone aside, laid back and took some deep breaths. It’s a technique I’ve learned when my muscles get in knots – better to breathe through the stress then try to conquer it.
Awareness of how to proceed floated to the surface. I deposited the texted money to my account – not the right one – but I had received it, nevertheless.
My husband tried to talk to me about what I can do differently next time, but I hadn’t lost the combative edge yet. He left me alone.
Sometimes, I just have to grasp the rage by the neck and wrestle it to the ground before it destroys us all.
“I got a lot done today,” I said aloud. “And I’m proud of myself for resolving that problem.”
“You’ve done very well,” my husband responded, re-entering the room.
I looked at this man, so brilliant and accomplished, and marvelled that he puts up with the lot of me.
“I am happy, you know,” I tell him, “and excited about where our life is going.” I reach out a hand to him.
“I know you are,” he says taking my hand. “I know you are.”
Neither of us speaks of concern or worry – it’s all been said before. What if I never do get better?
Writer, avid reader, former educator, and proud grandmother, currently experiencing life through the lens of ME/CFS. Words are, and always have been, a lifeline. Some of the best adventures, I'm discovering, take place in the imagination.