Saturday, September 15, 2007

There's a shadow just behind me

I used to be the kind of person who was sure that I was right. Always, no matter what, I knew that I had thought things through and seen all the complications and formed the right opinions based on The Way Things Really Were. I was able to get away with this because I was young, and because I was intelligent and eloquent enough that people listened to me with respect even when they thought I was wrong, which only proved to me that I was right. Like many young women, I was not confident about myself in many ways: I thought I was overweight and ugly, and I thought that I was obnoxious and no one would want to be friends with me if they knew who I really was. I still don't know how much of this is true or not; these are things that are hard to determine from the inside, sometimes. But I was always sure that when it came to ideas, I was competent and capable and I knew that people should listen to me.

And then I went and made a series of the worst decisions I could possibly have made in the circumstances; I joined the Army, which was not only a totally stupid thing to do as someone who had ideals about how power should be used, considering the timing of it all, but was also a bad idea on many other, more personal, levels. Then I got hurt, and the whole medical farce played out, and as much as I hate to blame myself, I didn't insist on the kind of treatment I needed, because I didn't know that I was allowed to insist, and here I am today.

Even if I didn't have the fibro fog to deal with, I think I would no longer trust my own judgment. The irritability, inability to concentrate or make small decisions, and poor short term memory are difficult, of course. The impression that my memories are being erased, leaving me without a past longer than a few months, the feeling that nothing that happens is permanent because I know I won't be able to remember it in just a few weeks, is worse. But even if all I had to deal with was the pain, without the doubts about my mind, I would not trust myself. I got myself into this mess all while thinking it was a grand idea; I can no longer be sure about my ability to determine the wisdom of any course of action.

This state of mind has hindered me from accepting that I am disabled, or rather from getting used to the idea. Disability, and the circumstances around it, have destroyed the basis for all the confidence that I had in myself. It seems as though now I'm going about without any skin on, so that everything that happens causes me pain. My body and my mind mirror each other; it is a feedback that can lead very quickly to despair, and I do not know the way out.

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