… Sometimes, it’s not any one big thing that tips you over the edge. It just… happens. One minute you’re getting by, and the next it’s just too much.

I don’t usually write posts complaining about how I feel. Actually, I never do. I’m not big on complaining. In fact, this might actually be my very first complain-y post ever! Yay me!

Why now, you may ask? (Or probably not, ‘cuz you have your own shit to worry about…)

Because I’ve Reached My Limit at the moment.

The Limit is different for each of us, I think, and it’s perhaps easy to dismiss someone else’s Limit as foolish, or silly, or weak. As a single mom who grew up Oregon pioneer tough with a single mom and later a Marine stepdad who became our family doctor, who herself went on to study martial arts and train horses for a living and all sorts of other crazy things… I DON’T DO WEAK.

But as I’ve gotten older and life has caught up with me (with a vengeance), while I’m incredibly resilient and strong in certain ways, I have become physically weak. I’ve gone from feeling nearly bulletproof to hurting all the time and being quietly terrified of what tomorrow will bring. I’ve obtained a few emotional scars along the way as well, and am sometimes weaker than I’d like in that area, too.

It’s a long story that I’ll go into elsewhere, but here are the highlights of some of the diagnoses I’ve received over the past few years:

  • Ehlers-Danlos
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Idiopathic hypersomnia
  • Arthritis in a bunch of places
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia
  • PTSD

These are fun and wonderful things that cause me substantial amounts of physical discomfort, usually at a manageable level but sometimes to the point that I pretty much can’t do anything else but go inward and try to manage the pain.

Today is one of those days.

I’ve Hit My Limit, physically and mentally and emotionally, and am in a full-blown flareup. The entire left side of my body is in a variety of states of pain – I’ll spare you the details, but the short version is that most things feel like they’re either on fire or broken. Only they’re not, it just feels that way. I’m so exhausted that walking up a flight of stairs leaves me feeling like I’ve run a marathon. My digestion has slowed to a standstill so I can’t eat much, but that’s okay because I’m not really hungry anyway. I can’t really see straight, or think straight, or drive safely, or do anything a working mom needs to do – but I have to anyway because it’s just me and I don’t have an option and what would I do anyway, give up?!

A drink or three will help the pain, which is good because nothing else does. I’m a genetic non-responder to opiates, so all they do is make me itchy and give me insomnia. I used to smoke pot, but in addition to that not being legal here, somewhere along the way I developed a thing called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome and now it just makes me hurt worse and vomit for hours. NSAIDs don’t seem to do much of anything for me and I’m also prone to GI bleeding with them. So meditation or alcohol it is, even though I know I probably shouldn’t drink the alcohol because it will just encourage a longer-term cycle of inflammation. Eh, whatevs. It helps now, and sometimes that’s enough. I take gabapentin daily now too, which helps a little.

Speaking of thinking and driving, it becomes a problem when I hurt too much to do anything. Or think. Or drive. Employers don’t really like that; go figure. I’ve somehow managed to build a pretty damned decent career in the tech world even without the benefit of a college degree, but that’s suddenly looking questionable in light of my inability to attend work consistently.

To add insult to injury, I recently dislocated my collarbone whilst LITERALLY SLEEPING, which makes it extra challenging to both drive and work on a computer all day. Not to mention sleep, which is already at a constant deficit for me. Oh, and it’s not healing despite lots of physical therapy and keeps constantly dislocating, which means I’ll need surgery. I went to the beach on vacation last week, and realized I can’t do jack shit anymore! I can’t even swim. I am realistically facing a future in which I am pretty fucking physically limited. That’s a hard pill for me to swallow.

I could keep going, but I won’t. I’m already annoyed with myself.

But… just to end this on a solidly hypocritical note, I am aware – and will happily preach – that no woman (or man) is an island. Being sick, being tired or overwhelmed or stressed out, doesn’t make us weak. While we may be physically weak, or feel emotionally weak, all that really means is that we’ve Hit Our Limit – and that’s different for everyone, and even for each person from day to day. Sometimes we sit there for a minute, and sometimes we get stuck there for a long time. We need community, and support, and love and acceptance – from ourselves first. Sometimes those all seem pretty hard to come by.

And sometimes we find strength and grace in the most unexpected moments, and support in the most unassuming people.

With that, I’m going to go cry in the shower and try to muster up the energy to face another day. Many thanks to my own little community; I’m sorry for being such a pain in the arse and not being better about asking for things when I need them – that’s a lesson that’s hard for some of us to learn.

If you’ve Hit Your Limit and need someone to talk to, feel free to reach out. Chances are, I’ve been there – or somewhere sorta like it – and can offer at least a compassionate ear. Or threaten to hide the body, or help you fight the medical system, or what have you.

Point being, you’re not alone. <3

~ Mama B