I Am Not Okay

*Trigger warning: suicide ideation, chronic illness, eating disorder*

I am not okay.

I am dealing with my chronic illness like I never have before. I don’t remember the last time I had solid food that didn’t send me straight to the bathroom. Last night I tried solid food for the first time in a long time (plain white rice, what could go wrong?) and I ended up puking it up not long after eating. I get lightheaded doing anything. I went to the ER earlier in the week when my pain was unmanageable and I was worried about my food intake, but I walked away with only a couple small answers that could explain the pain, and a medication that has not solved my food intake problem. I also now have to go to work, because I can’t afford to lose any more money and keep up with my medical bills, and my job has made it clear that I will be punished for any absences related to my health.

I am not okay.

Lately, the thoughts that swarm my head are of death. “It would be easier if you were dead,” or “There are no medical bills or chronic illnesses in the afterlife” have been some of the recurring thoughts that plague me every few minutes. Of course, there’s no family or friends or my partner in the afterlife, either. But those thoughts tend to get drowned out by the former.

I am not okay.

I grew up with chronic illness. It is familiar to spend the night on the bathroom floor, or be unable to attend social events because of my health. I have been told my symptoms are in my head. I’ve been told I’m being dramatic. I’ve been told to suck it up and keep going. For roughly ten years these statements have been ringing in my ears. Doctors tell me they can’t find an explanation for my symptoms. They give me solutions to the wrong problem. Often times I feel like they don’t believe me. Lately, I try to do a better job of advocating for myself and my health, telling ER doctors that I can’t keep living this way. They assure me their solution will work. They are almost always wrong.

I am not okay.

I’m running out of room. My illness surrounds me everywhere I go, reminds me that I am trapped in this body with nowhere to run. My body betrays me.

I am not okay.

I don’t even know where to go anymore. The emergency room proved that they cannot help me. But every day my body gets weaker and weaker, without any food to sustain it. I’m starting to recognize that my eating disorder is loving all of this. I’m scared how it will be once (if) I do start eating solid food again. I also recognize that not eating makes my depression and anxiety much worse.

I am not okay.

My symptoms seem so trivial when I explain them to people. I don’t look like I need emergent care from the outside. I’ve come to detest invisible illnesses. They make me feel guilty for going to the ER or for calling off of work. I’m not having seizures, or heart palpitations, or vomiting blood. It’s hard to convince anyone, especially myself, that I am worth fixing, when it doesn’t appear that I am even fixable (or in need of fixing).

I am not okay.

The night I got home from the hospital at the beginning of the week, my city and neighborhood were hit by a devastating tornado. Fortunately, my house is unscathed, but my community is hurting. I am unable to do anything about it except offer verbal support. Pretty soon there won’t be any room for more hurting. Then what?

I am not okay.

As the election continues, following a disappointing Super Tuesday, my hope drains lower. After expressing this on Facebook, I woke up today to a comment joking about suicide if Trump is re-elected. I looked at it stone-faced. I’m sure this person didn’t know they were fueling a fire. I’m hoping they were oblivious, and intended for it to be funny rather than triggering. I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels the same way.

I am not okay.

I know my posts here are normally positive or end with some kind of hopeful or encouraging message. This is not such a post. I saw something recently that said writing down your troubles will provide some relief. That sharing your troubles will offer some semblance of comfort. So here I am.

I am not okay.