I started this blog in 2007, and it’s undergone various renovations and hiatuses (and posts like this explaining those revisions) ever since. It began as a place to share pictures from our summer vacations, and it morphed into a very personal chronicle of my marriage, my work, and most especially my panic disorder. For years the blog was my coping method. I met amazing people, worked out many demons through writing posts, and then I stopped.
It was good that I stopped. I needed to focus more on the job I do now – which is to teach college students how to write coherent and occasionally complete sentences. I needed to think less about my anxiety and more about my intentions as an instructor. The line blurred between what I could write about safely, and what I actually wanted to write about. My schedule changed; the structure of my free time changed; I changed.
Sometime during all that change, the blog world changed as well. Mommybloggers went back to office jobs, or spent more time with their expanding families. Everyone jumped on Twitter or Instagram and dropped blog round-ups, quit discussing the business of blogging (my last foray into AdSense was…perplexing), and we found more interest in what other bloggers were gaining that we weren’t. Ree Drummond got her Food Network show, Heather Armstrong got partnerships with, well, everyone. Jenny Lawson wrote an insanely successful (and wonderful) book, and then wrote another one. Gone were the days of wondering what group you fit in (entertainment? personal blog? self-help? celebrity rants? foodie? THE FOODIES, y’all.) so you’d know which conference to attend, or which party you’d be invited to. Gone was, to me at least, the sense of community among Regular Jane bloggers and their readers.
Or maybe I lost interest myself and dropped out of the community, which seems much more likely.
I didn’t realize that dropping out of my blogging routine was, in fact, dropping out of my own life a little. Yes, I had grand dreams of this blog becoming something!, but in reality, it was my own therapy. It was a journal and it was my own little corner of the Internet where I could complain about something or express joy about something else.
But then I stopped and my happiness changed. I don’t necessarily think that a blog post can make or break your happiness (unless you’re Ree or Heather or someone for whom posting is a paying job). I do think though, for me, that introspection was healthy. That connection with maybe the one or two people who read it was healthy for me. My new job was very solitary for long stretches of time, and if I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that getting stranded on a deserted island alone would be my ticket to the nut house. I NEED PEOPLE but most of all I need connections. I need noise, I need action. You know how when Sophia or Crazy Eyes gets sent to the SHU for doing something bad? I’d never come back.
Two years ago something else shifted and two weeks ago I found out why.
I have diabetes.
At some point in the last couple of years I thought my panic attacks had come back, along with some high blood pressure, and god only knew what else. My anxiety stemmed, I thought, from feeling trapped in perhaps a classroom, or behind my desk in my office. I was “trapped” by the people in the room: it would cause a scene if I ran out, therefore I was trapped. I thought I had heart trouble. I saw my psychiatrist who prescribed yet another medication, and warned me that indeed my blood pressure was high, and that I needed my regular doctor to monitor it. I didn’t do that. Instead I became anxious about my appointments with her, because I knew that I’d get a BP lecture. I could cancel my appointments, but that lady holds the keys to the drugs that make me normal, man.
And I was sleepy. My god, I’ve never been so tired. I thought surely it was because of this new schedule; I’m out early in the day, but I grade papers at night, or on weekends, so my brain never truly shuts off from work. I answer emails from students constantly, so that’s why I’m tired right? I napped every single day after school, and twice on the weekends. I went to bed early and I still napped. I drank three Diet Sunkists before 2pm and was still so fatigued I could barely walk to the car.
This fatigue had been going on for probably a year and a half, maybe more. I didn’t recognize it for what it was, because I wasn’t exercising either. Couch potatoes are sleepy, runners are not. Simple math. (Or is it science? Hard to tell.)
Last month school ended, as did my refills for every one of my anxiety meds. I had a few choices: 1) make the appointment with my shrink, get the BP lecture, leave with my prescriptions, 2) make an appointment to actually get a physical, or 3) switch shrinks and hope for the best. I went with option 2.
My numbers and levels and heredity and history and STOP TALKING OMG THESE WORDS DON’T MAKE SENSE. My ob/gyn called two Sundays ago.
“You’re anemic,” she said. “So we need to start aggressively getting iron in your system.”
“And of course, there’s the new diagnosis to deal with as well. You’re diabetic, and you have been for quite some time.”
Huh. Well there you go.
I started medication immediately, changed my diet instantly, and said to Brian that I refuse to die before I’m fifty like my two first cousins did.
I’m seeing a new doctor next week who will hopefully explain more about my treatment plan and what’s going to happen. I have to make immediate and impactful changes in my lifestyle. I’ve been on this medication for a week to lower my blood sugar, and I feel pretty good. I don’t feel like I need to sleep until next month, though physiologically I’m still adapting to the medication.
August 3rd I report back to school for the year. I’m giving myself until then to get educated, to get into a routine, to chronicle how it’s going, and to find some connection again.
I’m still half of the Bakers and half off my rocker. But I’m also good. Twice as much? Still too early to tell.