Thursday, August 09, 2012

My Week So Far

Tuesday, August 7, 09:30

Worthless. That is the word that keeps echoing through my head. It started when I woke up. I stayed in bed, hitting the snooze over and over, trying to find that place in myself that had a reason to get out of bed. I never found it. I got up only because I told Charise I was going to go to a stroke survivor group and she offered to drive me. I got myself into the downstairs bathroom and cried. There was no particular reason, it was just because of the feeling I have. The feeling of being worthless, having nothing to contribute, nothing to wake up for, nothing that motivates me. I feel empty, tired and so completely alone. I am tired of feeling alone.

I am waiting at the Senior Citizen's Center in Corona. Except for the two young volunteers at the front desk, I am the youngest by at least twenty years. I see future versions of myself and I have mixed feelings. I wonder what my life will be like when I am that age. Will I still have these feelings? Will I still feel this way? Will there be anyone around who cares or will even notice that I am here? And then I wonder if I will make it that far. I wonder if I even want to.

I am finding it impossible to connect the logic with the emotion. I tell myself I am lucky, it wasn't that bad and that things will get better. I put on a show for people so they feel comfortable around me. I try to make myself feel on the inside the way I pretend to be on the outside, but I don't know how.

Sometimes I wonder why I survived last December. I am not saying I want to die, I just want to know why I am alive. I have nothing to give. Surely there must be a bigger reason to stay alive than feeling empty and worthless.

Sunday is my birthday and I am dreading it. I don't want to do anything. I don't want any birthday greetings. I don't want gifts, texts or calls. I want to go someplace, disappear and shut everything and everyone out. But I can't. So I will pretend to be happy, pretend to be excited and everyone can feel great and I will watch them enjoying something and as usual, I won't feel it, but I will do my best to hide it.


I just had my first Stroke Survivor Support Group meeting. I wasn't keen on going. It knew it would mean admitting I had a stroke and I am not doing ok. I know I had one, I am reminded of it constantly throughout the day, but this meant admitting it on a whole different level. For the first time, I met people that had strokes. There were walkers and canes and wheelchairs, and most of them had their strokes years ago. The other youngest person was fifty. He is a former police officer who had a stroke from Ephedra, and it was his case that got the drug off the market. Years ago, he had to make the choice between being able to swallow and speaking. He, of course, chose to be able to swallow. He can speak, but it is harsh and raspy and hard to understand. His stoke was over ten years ago.

I looked around before the meeting started. Once it started, I listened to people. There was a man unable to talk. He had his first stroke twenty-three years ago. Another man has no short-term memory and kept repeating himself after a few minutes. People commented on how good I look, how they can't tell I have had a stroke, and that is part of my problem. Because I look like I am ok, people assume I am. On the outside, everything is great. Inside, I am totally fucked up and confused.

And every person has accepted what happened. I don't want to accept it, I want to get over it and get back to normal. I want to be the person I was. I want to feel intelligent, sexy, cute, funny. Instead, I am struggling to find out who I am and how to make all this just go away. I just want it to go away. I want my balance back I want to be able to ride a bike, to walk down the street and not sway as though I am drunk...

I looked at the other people in the meeting, knowing I should be thankful, but I just kept wondering if that was the fate waiting for me. I know that nobody knows what will happen in the future, but I feel I am part of the way there. Only a few months ago I was using walker and having help in the shower. I really thought that when I learned to walk and my vision was back to normal that things would be fine, but they aren't. The depression is eating away at me. I don't want to get out of bed. I don't want to take my aspirin or even eat. I do these things because people are around.

The other thing I have noticed, is since I have had the stoke, my emotions are much more intense. Maybe they were always this intense and I am just not able to cope with them, but instead of just feeling sad, I feel like I am plugged directly into the source of all sadness. I don't get little emotions, I get super intense ones and they overwhelm me. I constantly feel on the verge of crying. I want to make it stop and I don't know how. I want to make this all go away and I just don't know how to do it. Am I supposed to accept this as my fate? My destiny? Will I always feel like this?

Thursday, August 9, 15:00

After the meeting, I walked around. I simultaneously wanted to make some sense of it all and put the whole thing out of my mind. I felt numb and my mind was going in different directions. I kept walking, but didn't want to go anywhere, I such wanted to be somewhere else, somewhere away from my self and the thoughts and feelings. I ended up at Lamppost Pizza and soon Charise and the kids showed up. I was happy to see them, but also not as it meant putting on the happy face and pretending that everything was cool and I was cool and that all was right in the world. We came home and I went to bed. I needed to sleep, to escape for a bit and hopefully wake up with a new mindset, a different view and something resembling hope. I had dreams about possible futures and again, as I woke up thinking about my life, "worthless" kept playing in my head. The harder I tried to ignore it, the louder it seemed to echo.

Later that evening, I was just overwhelmed with sadness and at one point, Charise looked at m an asked if I was ok and I just started to cry. I hate crying in front of people and the embarrassment made me cry even more. Charise, as always, was amazing and just came over and put her arms around me. I am surprised that after all the times she has heard me talk about things and seen me around the house, she hasn't lost her mind or her temper on me.

I went back to bed for the night and was up ill a few times with my stomach, which still hasn't fully recovered. I had a headache and felt like throwing up, but I was too lazy to get up and go to the bathroom and concentrating on not being sick gave my mind a bit of a break.

I woke up yesterday feeling a bit better. I have been dealing with this long enough to understand it all cycles around, but the extremes seem to be getting more so. I don't remember the emotions being this intense. It frightens me a little, as my first instinct is to keep it to myself, not tell anyone what is really going on. I like my emotional privacy, but I also know that right now, keeping things to myself could be disastrous.

Now it is Thursday, and I am feeling even better, feeling like a person again. My confidence is not totally back, but it is increasing. Next Thursday, I will go to a doctor and see if I can get referred to a neurologist and also probably start one-on-one therapy to see if I can do something about these episodes. One doctor mentioned anti-depressants, but I really don't want to go down that path unless I absolutely have to. I know they take weeks to start working and can take a long time to get off of them. I am not really one for taking medication unless I have to, so I will see if I can take care of it without any medicinal help.


  1. Anonymous9/8/12 16:09

    Knowing you... I do so admire that you write about it and share this with the world. Lets Skype over the weekend.

  2. Hugs probably didnt even realise how much strength and honesty it took to write this and share..thankyou..:-)

  3. Anonymous9/8/12 23:56

    Remember what Oprah said in times of challenge and low-points - those moments when you are really asking yourself why me? you need to say "Thank you". Thank the "Big Man" - because in a moment coming soon you will realise why it was important that you had to experience this challenging time...also, know that you have lots of people in your life who love and care for you - now it's time to want to love and care for yourself - YOU are worthy, YOU are a funny, interesting, handsome, charismatic, kind, adventurous explorer - the challenge you have in front of you is believing this for yourself - YOU CAN DO IT. Sending you over a cuddle and good luck with your challenge

  4. Anonymous9/8/12 23:58

    ...oh and Happy Birthday for Sunday - and why? Because you do deserve to have a HAPPY BIRTHDAY XXX

    Lang zal ze leven, lang zal ze leven, lang zal ze leven in de gloria, in de gloria, in de gloriaaaaa hiepe de piep hoora, hiepe de piep hoera, hiepe de piep hoera : )

  5. Anonymous10/8/12 22:29

    you have a lot to contribute Robb and you are a superstar!!!! just remember that and all will be fine.

  6. Little Lady Ann12/8/12 05:02

    Happy Birthday, honey. This year will be better than last year! Love you heaps xxxxxxxxxx

  7. Anonymous13/8/12 09:50

    Robb you are certainly not worthless at all. Things will work out as theirs a plan for everyone