Fight and Fear

Illness has been consuming me recently and as such, it is what I feel like writing about. Part of me feels as though my body has let me down and has left me in this state of half life. Spending most of my time inside hiding from asthma triggers, pain triggers, anxiety triggers. All these things I can medicate away to some extent but the subsequent drug withdrawals and the expectant look of concern and disapproval on my dr’s face will if I take a higher dose of steroids than absolutely necessary, makes me hesitate. Stops me. The drugs are a Band-Aid, one that rubs and itches and won’t come off even if you soak it. If you try to take it off too fast the pain is unbearable and you quickly put it back on.

It is circular. The asthma makes me take the steroids which then my body becomes dependant upon and then if I don’t take enough, I can’t fight the inflammation in my lungs and my asthma symptoms return.

I was recently told that I now cannot live without taking corticosteroids in some form. Not because of my asthma, but because the prednisone has changed my body, that I no longer produces the cortisol that is necessary for survival. That if I stop taking the drugs that replace it, I will die. It feels terrifying to be so dependant on these little white tablets. To know that if for some reason I can’t injest them, then I will need to inject the cortisol in order to ward off death. I am scared. To know that a severe virus or infection, an injury, an operation, or a stressful life event can send my body into a crisis because it isn’t producing the cortisol that it would usually produce upon such an occassions is terrifying.

I look at my body and know it is broken. Not just in pain, or with inflamed airways. But fundamentally and probably irreperably broken. I think about what would happen if I stopped my meds (to my friends reading this, stop stressing, I will keep taking them!!!) I wonder how long it would take for me to pass out. What it would be like. Of course I have no intention of finding out. I just hope that I am never in that situation. That I am never stupid or unlucky enough to find myself in that situation. I love my life, I have fought hard for it, and will continue to do so.

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Pain

Despite the title of this blog, I haven’t actually written much about pain. Possibly because I try not to think  about it. Sometimes though I just can’t help but vent. A blog is as good a place as any.

So, pain.
Physical, mind fucking pain.
Constant pain.
For years.
That doesn’t stop.
That won’t stop.
EVER.

A short Sappho fragment has been translated as “pain drips”. She was most likely talking about emotional pain, but it is relevant. It is one of my favorite descriptions of pain. The slow, constant, endless, drip drip drip…

Slack

I have been rather remiss in my blogging recently.
My plan was to just journal blog rather than think too much about what I am posting, in order to just get on with it!!!
I’m getting there.
Anyway, my health is slowly improving now I am back on the right drugs. I am managing to actually leave the apartment more often and last weekend I went completely out of my comfort zone (with a little help from a friend) and attended the Sydney Writer’s Festival. It was a fabulous day, and it was an achievement!!!
A few days rest, a successful trip to Newcastle to see my Dr and now I have a few weeks of no plans.
I’m very tempted just to hide in the apartment and read, but I need challenges, whether they be intellectual, physical, psychological, or a combination of all three!!!
I need a goal to work towards.
I want to go back to studying next semester.
For a start, I need the extra money the government gives me if I am enrolled. But also, it is something to do, I can set myself small goals each day to get the reading done. It anchors me. It also gets me out of the aparment, and even out of Gosford once a week. It takes incentive!!

Back to the present. As you know from my previous posts, I have quite a bit to say about same-sex marriage, and it is all over the news and for various reasons it is making me rather cranky. If you haven’t read my blog, please know that I am coming from a queer perspective!!! I AM A BIG DYKE!!!! So, to clear my head and in an effort to relax and have more pleasant thoughts, I walked down to the water, went to a café at my sailing club called “Tommy’s” and drank the most delicious soy mocha I have ever tasted and enjoyed the view.

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Note to Self (to be read during future anxiety attacks)

Do NOT make decisions during an anxiety attack.

Do NOT believe what your mind tells you during an anxiety attack

Take the following steps:
1. Take hydrocortisone
2. Eat food
3. Wait until you feel better

YOU WILL FEEL BETTER
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO THINK AGAIN
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO WRITE AGAIN
THIS WILL NOT LAST FOREVER!!!

What even is this blog??

This blog started out as a rant, a rant from a sick person in pain about all the stupid shit around her in the media and our culture. Then it went on a bit of a Marxist tangent, and then took a turn towards a bit of a queer politics.

It has been a while since I have written because I have been ill. Diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency (from now on known on this blog as AI) and trying to get my medication levels sorted has been a bit of nightmare. Part of said nightmare has been extreme anxiety (a symptom of AI), leaving me unable to even think about writing without having a panic attack. 3 weeks after upping my SSRI’s and I am feeling a bit better. However, I am having to force myself to write this post. I want to write, I need to keep writing, I don’t want to lose it as a skill, I want to improve, and the only way to do so, is to KEEP WRITING!!!

However, at this point I don’t really have much to say other than #worldisfukt. It is fucked up in so many many ways and it just seems as though it will never be unfucked.  We like to kid ourselves though, we ignore the stats, we ignore what is right in front of us, we ignore the suffering we see because it is just too fucking much to deal with and we have no easy solutions. We pick the easy fights. By we, I mean the privileged middle class feminists who spend their time fighting for diversity on the catwalk, women on boards, same-sex marriage or one of the many number of pet projects that don’t really make a difference. Okay, so they aren’t me, not anymore, but they are my peers. We are distracted by the representation of equality, rather than addressing the fact that the system is fundamentally fucked. We are ignoring the fact that even the very notion of equality under a capitalist system is a fucking joke, and that we need to try to think beyond the ideology, beyond this all pervasive idea that capitalism is the natural order. It isn’t, it is a creation, and we must think beyond it if we are to have any hope at all of living in a world in which people are not enslaved, are not dying of curable diseases, are not literally starving to death.

Okay, that got a bit serious, it isn’t what this blog post was supposed to be about. It is supposed to be about me!!! so rant over. For now, I don’t want to be thinking about how fucked up the world is, I need to relax. So, I will try to focus on something else, probably myself and my own life challenges. Which are rather insignificant the scheme of things, but they are mine, so they are important to me.

I think this blog will turn into a bit of a journal, I’ll try to keep in mind that people may be reading it and try not to too boring and self-involved. But it’s a blog, what are they for if not indulging one’s own inner dialogues and getting all the thoughts out of one’s head. I am going  to try to write something most days. We shall see…

In the meantime, here is picture of the view from the balcony of our apartment in Gosford, NSW, Australia. It is here that, weather permitting, I do most of my reading and writing and thinking, and drinking of coffee, and sipping of wine, and eating of cheese and crackers… you get the idea.

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Contentment?

The longer I have to learn how to be content, the easier it becomes. Youth is tricky. Don’t get me wrong, I am not content with the state of the world, with politics and the appalling injustices we all view on the news each day.  Which is, itself, an extraordinary mindfuck.  We all view the most terrible things everyday, repeatedly, but have no power to stop what we are seeing,  no power to “make a difference”. The psychological affect is real, and, for some, can be paralysing.  We try to find ways to placate our emotions,  we sign the petition, we share the meme,  we wear the ribbon for awareness,  as if we aren’t all already bombarded with over-awareness,  as if millions of people knowing something is a problem can actually lead to a solution.

We do other things too, we stop eating certain foods because we see the animal cruelty that goes into its production, forgetting that in almost everything we consume there is an element of human suffering that has gone into it. We only buy “Australian made” products because it is good for Aussie jobs. Forgetting that the foreign produce that we consume also involves workers whose livelihood would be threatened if we stopped buying the imported can of tomatoes or beans. The world is fucked and we all have to find a way to come to terms with the fact that, as individuals, we are powerless to change the system.

So, where does that leave us when it comes to our mental health? Well, for a start, it isn’t helpful to take personal responsibility for things that are out of its control. It isn’t helpful to feel guilty for the system that we didn’t create and have no choice but to participate in.

It can help to occasionally take a break and turn off the tv. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care.

It also helps to stop having useless arguments on the internet. Some people just aren’t worth your time. By all means have constructive conversations, think, learn, but don’t argue for the sake of it, it’s a waste of energy.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t become involved in our local community, that we shouldn’t help those around us, especially if it provides material assistance to those who need it. Just don’t expect to change the system.

Can we be discontent with the system, but content with ourselves? Perhaps, but only if we stop believing the ideological bullshit that we all have the power to change the world through our individual actions. You don’t have to be a hero. In fact, you do not have the power to be a hero. Our hero culture comes from the ancient Greeks, and they knew that only those with immortal blood had the power to change the world.

A Licence to be queer: A plea to those with money

I recently read a very annoying article  (I won’t Link), that claimed that we should campaign for same-sex marriage “because of the children”.  That a wedding is like buying a first car or a house,  that it is an important memorable right of passage.  PUHHHLEASE!!!
Given that only a small and ever decreasing proportion of the population can actually afford the car, the home and the wedding, should this really be our number one queer rights priority?
Is it really so vital that we put all our funds and time and labour into fighting for the good of the feels of wealthy gays who can afford the nuclear family white picket fence heteronormative dream? Surely not. 
But the campaign funds come from somewhere.
So,  this is a plea,  to those in our community who have money,  to think about what is most important, to think about the young queers who have been chucked out of home, of those who are struggling with meeting their basic material needs, those who desperately need to access free mental health services that don’t even exist!! of those who can’t even afford a piece of wedding cake, let alone the car and the house.
Please, think about it.