(From 2012 way before the current global pandemic...)
I have developed a feeling of impermanence, like I am living in a bubble and it is ready to burst. I want this feeling to change.
For the last two and a half years in recovery I have spent a lot of time learning to live in the now. What is past is past and I've been dealing with it, and I try not to think too far ahead, at least not to try and solve problems that might not even exist. The now is a good place to be.
But recently I have been ill, really ill, and despite shitloads of tests nothing is being found. Initially I lost 11 kilos over a week of continual vomiting. My weight went down to 59 kilos (has been 74). I could barely move, or eat and I looked skeletal. I couldn't climb stairs. It was thought I might be going to die. It felt like my past was catching up with me, just when I thought I had got away with it. Maybe it has...
I have recovered some of my weight but whatever is going on has made me very anaemic and I am constantly fatigued and so far the cause is not apparent and it is like a dark cloud over me. All of the tests and procedures so far have been clear, which is a blessing - and a surprise given my past. I have had lots of tests - last week when I went to have bloods taken yet again, the technician suspected I was an IV drug user because of all the track marks from the cannulas and the bloods taken. Sort of ironic anyway.
An illness like this brings out the worst in me. I want it to go away, be cured, or whatever - NOW! It makes me think about past, but mainly the future and what that might be like. It's a dark place, because I am now wondering sometimes if there will be a future...
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
TS Eliot Burnt Norton opening stanza
The opening stanza of Burnt Norton has always resonated strongly with me but today it makes more sense than it ever did before. Despite trying to live in the now, this illness inevitably makes me think of what might have been, where I didn't go, and what might have happened and what will happen. I am having to actively stop myself when I catch myself thinking like this because unless I do, everything becomes stupid for me.
The insouciant nihilism of my younger self has been replaced by something far more tangible and positive through recovery and I really want there to be a future. The thought of terminal illness is unbearable (and of course this is true for us all), especially after having lived through somebody else's. But when everything becomes stupid for me the nihilism returns, and without any of that assumed worldly insouciance. It's just a flat out depression. I don't care anymore. Pity me... I can't afford to do that to my head. That will kill me.
A friend is of the opinion that the icy hand of that future is reaching out. We're both of the age where our teen heroes are dying (at least those that survived...) and people who were once young in films and on TV are suddenly old, or dead too. Health is becoming something not to take for granted. To be honest, in recovery, it never really is taken for granted, many of us are physically damaged, which along with the mental and emotional turmoils and fuck-ups of the past is an ever present reminder of our mortality and fragility. Conversely, it is also a source of great strength and hope that people can survive against such overwhelming impediments - and not just survive, but create new lives for themselves. I've just been very lucky up until now. But I can't help thinking there is just a hint of twisted irony with regard to the timing of this episode though. Are you listening or taking the piss HP?
I want to enjoy my new life, not be force fed the resentment of a premature end (in my humble opinion anyway).
So let's be positive. Things will get better. They have to.