Losing My Mind
Faeries, Lost Time and the Art of BEing
I swear I brought my coffee in from the car. I was looking forward to sipping that mocha cappuccino from Cafe de Joel very slowly, savouring every single drop. I had it in my hand… I brought it into the house and … Ugh! Maybe I’ll find it with the two gigantic Tupperware containers full of homemade beef vegetable and rice soup I made and forgot out on the counter last night? Now I have to dump them both and they were so delish when I sneaked a warm spoonful into my mouth late last night. This is just like my reading glasses for which I have been on the lookout for more than a week. Oh. Here they are, in my inner coat pocket… I’ve only been wearing this coat like ALL week! I finally find my glasses when I am supposed to be looking for my coffee — Winner!! (Actually doing the L-Loser sign on my forehead when I mean W for Winner). I’m hopeless!
I’m losing my mind and I don’t know why. And I’m not alone — nah, not like THAT “not alone” (cue muzak from Close Encounters of the Third Kind). “Not alone” as in I am not alone in the dark about why I am losing my mind. Even modern medicine doesn’t understand why. Sure, there are medical theories being passed around like Pokémon trading cards outside at recess in my son’s school yard, but lab tests just bring up more questions than answers.
Sometime in October a couple of years ago I caught strep throat. Must have been a bad strain — are there any good ones? — because my Dad ended up in the hospital with a severe infection which affected his heart. I ended up in bed with a fever which gingerly shifted into joint pain by Christmas and then developed into additional symptoms over the next two to three years. I was given the F-word diagnosis: fibro. Woot woot! 18 out of 18 trigger points! Wait a minute… I don’t think that’s like getting an A+ on a test. Dang! Medical reports added that there was evidence of an overlap with another unidentified poly-something-or-other-illness.
As if the adventure wasn’t already exciting enough, I got a call at work from my doctor one day to tell me I had skin cancer and a few months later they found a bright “spot” on my femur in a bone scan as part of the investigation into my joint pain. Apparently, bright spots or lighting up like a Christmas tree in a bone scan is not a good thing. Hmm, who would have thunk? Maybe dark spots, but bright ones?
Turns out the basal cell skin cancer only required minor surgery (I now have more in common with Hugh Jackman than his steamy cameos in my wanton daydreaming), and the spot on my femur did start to shrink, so now only requires x-rays every six months to make sure nothing has decided to grow there. It will most likely resolve on its own. The body does that. I am however still stuck with the joint pain supported by the fancy walking cane that comes along with the package deal, as well as the slow descent into the loss of my mind, and other symptom-related minutia I won’t bore you with. These have been two (or three — wait for it…) full years, jam-packed with dizzying highs and terrifying lows.
On the bright side (the real meaning of “bright”; not like the bone scan “bright”), being ill has slowed me down physically which can be a blessing, teaching me to appreciate the smaller things in life. I still work with some accommodations, and co-raise the sweetest eight year-old boy. Yes, I am admittedly totally and absolutely biased about the boy and I don’t care. I have however started losing my inner sense of time. And not just because I live as much in the present as possible, aiming for a Zen-like state of happiness to balance the impending doom I sometimes feel at being sick for the rest of my life, not to mention for the rest of my family’s life. I just don’t have a sense of time (told you to wait for it). Not like I used to or like most people have.
I know past, present and future. But my degrees of past are all jumbled up. If you ask me if something happened two months or six months ago, I don’t know. I have absolutely no idea. I can — on most days — tell you I read this or that book and give you a sense of how it made me feel or how I related to it. But I can’t tell you when I read it, or the names of most characters, nor the author and sometimes, not even the title of the book. Last year, I read a document for work, provide a detailed verbal analysis on it, only to completely deny I ever saw it the next day. That’s when I feel I am being betrayed by my own mind. Yeah, it’s trixie that way.
I sometimes feel that this liberation from the details of everyday life — my disconnection from the Rat Race — has helped me connect on a higher spiritual level. As if total abandon of the mind were necessary to make space for this bigger energy and wisdom, so it can just cram itself inside there. Like the illness were a necessary means to achieve this state of BEing. I live in a world of faeries, spirit owls and I travel in dreamtime. I have conversations with relatives who have passed on, some being my own and others being relatives of friends and acquaintances. The visitors are eager to help their kin and can get pretty insistent and detailed at times. I’ve learned to make regular time for them so that there isn’t too much cross over into everyday “normal” life. Sometimes, what transpires in that state of BEing just blows my mind. It is just too good, too detailed to be true. Yet relatives and friends will tell me the messages are “dead” on. Excuse the pun…well not really. I kind of like that one.
Living on the cusp of this other magical world is a place I am tempted to stay in more and more these days. I don’t feel the physical pain in my body so much when I am there. It’s an art shifting between these two worlds, yet keeping a foot in both, trying to integrate them into one. Why bother, you might think? Because I have a son and a husband… family. And I am mindful of what I am teaching my son and whoever else is coping with illness and happens to look my way. I am not so far gone that I am disconnected from those around me. Quite the contrary, I am very connected, maybe more so than ever, yet not in the same way as before. Escapism is not a solution to what ails me, either physically, emotionally or spiritually. Acceptance and full surrender are the way to the journey into healing.
Healing… Now there is a word that has been totally messing with my mind.
I was told by a very compassionate specialist on my medical team last week — it would seem I have evolved to needing a team — that it is not healthy or realistic for me to think that my situation is temporary, that it will all go away and I will be healed. I must learn to cope with very real chronic pain […I tuned out here for a few seconds…not listening, not listening…] fibromyalgia and the other illness still a mystery. The bummer, she said, is that modern medicine with its current limits may not find the answer to the mystery illness I have in my lifetime. But they will keep investigating. Until they discover it, the medical team will be focusing on making me as comfortable and as functional as possible.
I didn’t know if I should hug her for being so humane and real with me or if I should have just thrown myself to the ground like a two year-old, crying “no! no! no!” at the top of my lungs. This second option however, doesn’t help me one iota.
So on the one hand, slowly losing my mind is an unfortunate symptom of fibro and whatever this other mystery illness or dis-ease is. On the other hand, since science is so limited in what it can do about the daily razor-like pain and the loss of memory, I am thinking that perhaps surrender to this state of No Mind, of just BEing in both worlds is the healthiest thing for me to do. Who wouldn’t want to be connected to Faeries, Standing Ones (the trees upon which perch the spirit owls) and the Stars above when the physical world you live in is so painful? Maybe I am not losing my mind? Maybe I am simply an Awakened Soul having a human experience and coping in my own way… Right? (…right?)
Maybe I am simply learning to BE? Isn’t that what the spiritual masters have been telling us since time immemorial? You know, “I am”? Perhaps, I am reverting to my original state of BEing, making a deeper and more direct connection to my Soul. I choose to believe (Be-Live) that I am learning the Art of BEing. Hopefully, I will remember this epiphany tomorrow.
Siri: remind me tomorrow morning at 8 to just BE.
Note: After reading this for the fifth time, I remembered I was looking for my coffee and finally found it on the top shelf of our coat closet by the house entrance. L is for Winner!