The week leading up to my attempted suicide, I listened to Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” every day on repeat because it had been an earworm a day prior. After I woke up from my coma in the hospital, I was medically cleared within two days and then sent to the psych ward, where I spent the next 5 days in bed barely moving, in a state of deep agony and reciting the lyrics to that song in my head, over and over again. I’m certain that in doing that it helped me to get through such an incredibly difficult time.
I’ve had severe ME/CFS since 2015. Through a series of strange events, I’ve landed in the psych ward 5 times since then. I’ve not had any real psych conditions in this time. But I tell you, the psych ward is one hell of an experience for a physically ill person with a clear mind.
It’s entirely strange. The people I know with severe ME/CFS are at times more overjoyed and enthusiastic about life than all of the healthy people I know. But maybe it’s not so odd, as being this ill, we seem to take very little for granted.
I dream of throwing a big chronically ill ME/CFS party where I rent out a large venue filled with comfy beds, wheelchairs and gurneys, pairs of sunglasses, no music, very little natural light, iPhones for individual social media interaction, and the most bland food one can imagine.
I went to the gym for 10+ years, played in a softball league for 11 years, went golfing a lot, etc. Now I can’t even play pocket pool without flaring up.
My voice felt really strong last week. It’s not always like that due to being severe. To take advantage of this, I shouted, “Why must you forsake me!” for no reason. I must say, I was quite pleased with my cadence and delivery and am now thinking I should have went into acting.
The best thing I ever did for my mental health was to fully accept my reality and see my life for what it is, rather than what I wished or expected it to be.
Compassion from clinicians for people with ME/CFS is not curative, but it humanizes us and that is what we need until a treatment/cure is found. So I hereby announce the start of The Compassion Project, which will involve me telling doctors, one by one, to go screw if they don’t show kindness.
I’m suddenly thinking of my time in the psych ward at one of the best hospitals in the world. Each morning, I’d drag my weakened, severely fatigued body out of bed and follow the head psychiatrist—a white-haired, slender, evil man—to a conference room just down the hall. I’d sit at a table in my pajamas in front of a room full of psychiatrists who drilled me with questions, each with that disapproving glare in their eye, just staring at me like I was a raging maniac with a severe psychiatric disorder.
A doctor once asked me after I told him I was bedridden, “So what do you do all day?” “I mostly just suffer,” I said.
What lesson/s have I learned from being severely chronically ill and having faced near-death on more than one occasion? That’s easy: Life is a crapshoot. Luck matters a great deal. Love is the only thing that matters in the end.
I never thought I’d get sick. Who does? But to end up with a chronically ill condition for which I am more astute about and more logical in my thinking with respect to treatment ideas than some of the doctors and specialists I’ve seen is mind-boggling.
I wonder if this disease would get more recognition if the name Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) was replaced with the name Chronic Hell Syndrome (CHS).
I’ve had two alternative health practitioners tell me that if I just start to reintegrate back into the world, I will heal my severe ME/CFS. As if I’m stuck in my room and bed because I just can’t take my eyes off the wall color and white ceiling.