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Can't Talk | October 23, 2017

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Never Felt As Good As How I Do Right Now

Never Felt As Good As How I Do Right Now
Guest Post

Welcome back guest writer Beth with a piece on invisible illness for Invisible Illness Awareness Week

Let me start this post by saying that I LOVE Jonathan Coulton. You might know him from the video game “Portal” and his song “Still Alive.” Although I’ve gotta say, I really enjoy “Skullcrusher Mountain.” Supervillain love song? Fan-fucking-tastic.

There is another song in his discography called “I Feel Fantastic.” The lyrics tell an amusing story of a young man who can’t seem to handle anything in the outside world without popping some kind of pill every ten minutes. I laughed at the sheer ridiculousness of the plight of this man, but it also made me a little uneasy. Coulton’s song is a critique of the tired idea that we’re overmedicated as a society. Sadly, that idea is wholly inaccurate and damaging to people like me. When you have to take multiple medications every day just to function as a “normal” human being, jabs like this start hitting a little too close to home.

Throughout high school and college, I had always been resistant to medication because I didn’t want to be labeled as a pill-popper. I didn’t want to give people the impression that I wasn’t capable of pulling myself up by the bootstraps and tough it out through pain both physical and mental. Because of this, I suffered through incredible amounts of pain that left me limping, unable to use my hands, and had me in tears. It also let depression completely take me over. When I was told I had to go on antidepressants five years ago, I fought tooth and nail with my doctors. I had seen first-hand the hellish emotional roller coaster people are forced on while trying to find the correct medication. I didn’t want to have to rely on a pill for something that I thought was all in my head and that I should just get over. I didn’t want to have to rely on the regimen of medication that the doctors gave me to keep my immune system in check. I had been raised to fight through it and taught that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

However, once the doctors and I had finally found the right combination of medications, I realized that my life really did start to improve. I finally understood that this wasn’t all in my head, that a combination of a hyperactive immune system and a severe chemical imbalance in my brain were causing my problems, and those problems had at least partial solutions. I became able to spend an evening hanging out with my friends without being completely exhausted or trying to hide the fact that every step I was taking hurt like hell. I was able to make it through the day without bursting into tears or worrying myself into a panicked frenzy. I was able to really enjoy spending time with my husband again, instead of having him console me through one of my many crying fits or finding something to keep him occupied while I lay on the couch trying not to move. I remembered what it was like to enjoy life again, instead of just pretending and being miserable in the process.

Do I still have bad days? Definitely. No regimen is perfect, and I do still have flare-ups. But at least it gives me back some semblance of normalcy. Are there side effects that I have to deal with? Of course. But it’s much preferable to letting my immune system destroy my organs and joints, and if it can give me the ability to enjoy my life again, then it’s worth it.

While I do enjoy the music of Mr. Coulton and can recognize the satire in this song, us spoonies have to realize that we’re not medicating to numb ourselves to the world or using it as a crutch. We are taking care of ourselves so that we can be the best person we are capable of being and so that we can make our lives that much better. Yes, it’s true that what doesn’t kill you often makes you a stronger person, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer needlessly when there is something out there that can improve your situation and can let you live your life instead of just toughing through it.

P.S. — First of May” is also a great listen. Definitely very NSFW but hilarious nonetheless.

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