At some point everyone is always dying. But a month and a half ago, I was quite literally dying. See a few doctors, take a few dozen blood tests, and the result is psoriatic arthritis. (That’s arthritis caused by psoriasis…I get that question a lot.)
I think sometimes I don’t like talking about illness or ailments, because it feels like a cop out; I’m okay, I just don’t have any energy. Or I downplay it; it’s just a little pain. Or what I am personally feeling should not effect my dealings with someone else; if I just take it easy and rest, it’ll go away. It really wasn’t until I went to the doctor and started treating the actual problem that I realized how much of my life I had let go due to my real, actual illness that was really, actually killing me. I was literally excusing myself out of my life.
So I’m on treatments, which is boosting my energy levels through the roof while killing my immune system (which is what is making my joints swell up and my skin try to eat itself). Two major rules come with that.
1). I absolutely cannot get sick. I cannot run around with wet hair in the middle of winter (I used to do that). I cannot ignore open cuts or sores (guilty as well). I cannot be around sick people (who are everywhere when you are now germ-conscious).
2). I must be healthy. My body is losing it’s immune system, and it can’t be dealing with excessive strains, like poor diet or obesity. So diet and exercise are not really new year’s resolutions so much as a lifestyle change that must happen if I desire to live a long-ish life.
I write this because what was plaguing me internally was also showing in everything I did. My plans would fall through so often, just because I hurt too much, or because I didn’t have the energy to see it through. My art suffered because it was so hard to find the energy to act on the inspiration I found, and even though I wanted to do things, what projects I started I struggled to finish because I just couldn’t connect my days. I shied away from pursuing commissions, because I didn’t have the energy to pursue them, and I didn’t know that my body could hold out through the job.
There have been so many “this is it” pivoting points this past year, where something has ended and given way to the possibility for new, different, and more. Treating and learning to manage my psoriatic arthritis is a huge pivoting point for me on so many levels. It’s not an individually defining characteristic; I am not my psoriatic arthritis. But it has changed my life in a very dramatic, and complete way.
At some point in pulling me together, it just seemed like that was something I had to say out loud.