Thursday, June 10, 2010

Opening the door to my mind

This is the door to our fruit cellar.  It hasn't been used as one for years. Presently it is being used as a storage room for everything from Christmas decorations to suitcases, to batteries --- all sorts of odds and ends, including some items I occasionally need.  It has a dirt floor nearest the long outside wall.  A lone light bulb is the only source of light; there are no windows of course---fruit cellars need darkness to keep the canned items from being spoiled by the sun's rays.  It is musty, dusty, and a bit intimidating.
Just like my mind when I have a writing assignment.  I know the information is inside my head, but the storage areas are dusty and in a sense musty from not being used properly and regularly.  Going inside that part of me is intimidating.  I know I can write good, even excellent papers.  But I have an inexplicable fear that at times paralyses me.  I consistently put off an assignment until I am staring at a deadline that  is looming menacingly over me.  Why?  I wish I knew the answer.  I'm up against a deadline that involves my career as a teacher.  How did I get to this point?  Depression most certainly.  A low-grade flare-up of my fibromyalgia that lingered most of the school year.  A feeling of isolation at school. 

 I have finally admitted to having fibromyalgia, but I downplay it.   For many years, I wouldn't admit to it for fear it would inadvertently cost me my job.  Now I've had it for 21 years and gone to hell and back in a divorce which ended up with me working full-time, going to school full-time, and raising a 15-year-old son on my own.  (His father was in the picture, but my son wasn't exactly thrilled with his dad, and I had taken a financial beating in order to gain full custody of our son.  Therefore, my ex could voice his opinion, but neither my son nor I had to pay attention to it.  So I was essentially raising him on my own.)  I hadn't worked in 20 years and had not finished college.  So the hill I had to climb was steep.  But I not only climbed it, I made it to the top. I had outstanding family support and several wonderful women friends.  The encouragement was constant. But the one who was in the midst of it all was God.   He stood by me and is still there.  He's trying to show me the problem with my mind and writing, but I'm not grasping it.  Meanwhile I'm trying not to panic---my teaching license rests on this.

Back to the fibromyalgia.  I decided to declare it because I have all this "mileage" that should prove I can teach well and still have this chronic illness.  But it is an illness that causes shame--shame when I can't keep the same pace--shame when it takes me twice as long to grade essays than the other English teacher because the fibro fog has descended.  Shame because I can't socialize nearly as often as others because of the fibro fatigue, thus further isolating me.  Shame that perhaps I could handle it better.
And now shame that once again I procrastinated to the point I'm fighting panic attacks.  Why? One reason is my mind can only handle so much.  It has to compartmentalize.  I can't do lesson plans, grade papers and projects, keep up the checkbook, keep up the laundry and the house all at the same time. I have to section them off. (My husband and I maintain two homes because of our job situations, so we're by ourselves during the week and every other weekend.  Therefore we can't share those responsibilities like we did when we daily shared the same roof.)  And honestly, these two classes just didn't seem to fit anywhere.  But now they have to.  I have to open that door and enter that musty, dusty, intimidating room, find what I need and then use it well.


  1. I had no idea. Sounds like you have a lot on your plate. I'm sending some blogland prayers your way!

  2. That's a difficult situation to be in and my prayers are with you as well.

  3. first, i will pray for you and the writing of the paper...
    and i will pray on from there...

    i have had a month of pain in my lower back that moves around, but does not leave me. pain is a mean thing.

    one day at a time, right?

    it is so wonderful of you to share about this here.

  4. Thank you all for your caring support and prayers. it's a huge blessing.

  5. I just read this for the first time. I know from today's post that you are writing - and it sounds like you've got a good idea for that paper.

    You have expressed so much here. Your mountains have indeed been steep, and it sounds like you have climbed them bravely. (I like the quote from John Wayne that says, "Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway.")

    And I do understand an illness that doesn't really show outwardly, but affects so much of life. It makes it difficult for people to understand the challenges you face on a day to day basis. I personally suffer from very severe intestinal adhesions from previous abdominal surgeries. They cause daily pain, a severely restricted diet (liquids) and there is no cure. More surgery only makes them worse. Lately my bad days far outnumber my good days. And yet, as you say, God stands with me, even on the days when it doesn't seem like He's there.

    And isn't it amazing when we look back on all the things that seemed so impossible in the midst of our illness, and find they somehow got done? And all we can say is "thank you" for the grace.


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