My Body Is A Temple

My body is a temple. One of those temples in Thailand where they let monkeys shit all over the place.

For years now, I’ve been poisoning my body with various toxins; from chemicals, GMOs, MSGs, to speed, alcohol, cannabis and whatever else is out there that I can get my hands on. I eat like shit. I don’t hydrate appropriately. I neglect my own personal hygiene. I’m way too inactive for my age. I’m constantly under stress. And I basically treat my body like a toilet you flush unwanted drugs down.

Body and mind. Mind and body. The two are much more interconnected than I’d like to believe. When my physical health lags, so, too, does my mental health; and vice versa. But what am I to do when I have a chronic, progressive, hereditary disease such as cystic fibrosis? Technically, I’m always physically ill, and always will be. There’s no cure for CF, only management. So would I always struggle with mental illness, as well? Were the last 10 years only an introduction to the life I would be living? I’ve been through enough as it is, I don’t want to go on if the rest of my life will be a mirror image – there’s no hope for me if that’s the case. But I can’t let myself think like that – I refuse to believe it. Instead, I will argue the opposite:

After my diagnosis at the age of 12, after 2 unexplained pancreatic attacks, I became extremely depressed. It hit me, like a bullet, that I would be defective for the rest of my life. That I would have to take medication multiple times a day for the rest of my life. That I would have this stupid physical therapy machine, with its stupid tubes that connect to that stupid ugly pink vest that then inflates and shakes me. Shakes me so hard that the mucus building up in my lungs can break up. Not to mention the inhaler, the inhalants, the vitamins, and the chronic digestive pain that went along with all of this.  For the rest. of. my. life. But I was the lucky one. My case was only mild. My lungs were healthy. It probably wouldn’t kill me.It was hard to see the silver lining, though. I was 12, pubescent, and now chronically ill.

My diagnosis, leading to my consequent depression, flipped my life upside down. I didn’t handle it well at all. I could have learned more about my illness, taken it more seriously, maybe saw a therapist or joined an online support group (people with CF can’t be near each other, we’re too vulnerable to each other’s germs…but it’s not contagious for those who do not have the illness). But I didn’t do any of those things. Instead, I repressed the diagnosis. Choosing not to believe it yet having to constantly manage it with meds, treatment, and doctor visits, I became angry. I became a very angry child and I hated my parents. Blamed them for it all, even though they were struggling enough as it is accepting that their only child, who was a miracle (my mom couldn’t get pregnant for years), was now sick. Forever. She might die. Life would never be the same for her.

So I was angry, and I was depressed. I turned to alcohol and drugs. I got alcohol poisoning at the age of 13, and was popping so much thizz and Adderall at one point that to this day my brain has not completely recovered. I was taking pain killers. I was combining a lot of different drugs together. Oh, and I dropped down to 93 lbs at one point, all the while continuing this lifestyle. I honestly don’t know how I survived. Of course, I deal with the health consequences now.

But that’s just it. It was the way I reacted to my diagnosis that ultimately led me to a life consumed by mental illness(es). As a consequence, I neglected my health. I didn’t do any of my treatments. I only took the most vital medications for my survival. I treated my body like shit. I cut it up, I bruised it, I starved it; I abused it. I hated myself. I hated the circumstances of my life. And I couldn’t cope with any of it.

And I still can’t. But I’m 21 now, almost 10 years later, and it’s about time I grow up and accept my circumstances, make the changes I want in my life, and start living – not just existing. Not just surviving. Living.

Life is beautiful. I am not a victim.

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