Only in this Head- My Dark, Lovely Passenger Over These Years with Chronic Illness.

Only in this Head.

What does that mean?

There is a story behind my every action.

I named my blog in memorial to my biggest battle in life. A battle with my health I’ve never completely succeeded in the twenty years I’ve resisted its grasp. Nonetheless, my romantic mind grabs snippets from these experiences to serve my creativity something unique, from time to time.

Disclaimer: Trigger Warnings for domestic abuse, psychological distress and healthcare+transitional PSTD experience 

Only in this head is a phrase ringing in my head from some years ago. I’ve had a rough life, and this was a particularly difficult time. I felt alone with my pain and unable to break out of my head space. At the time, I was married to one of the most mentally abusive person I’ve ever encountered at that point in my life or since.

Even after spending 3 years working on a lock down psych unit, this person’s psychosis and neurosis is far greater than any I encountered there. His methods pathological, insidious and devastating. I barely made it out alive, and he only laid his hands on me with violence a handful of times.

Psychological abuse is the most damaging because it changes the victim’s neurology. Responses become hyperreactive because the environment is unpredictable and vulnerable at any given time only to return to routine stringency  accompanied by pseudo calmness. Sadly, when in the eye of the storm the destruction is unobservable. Only once the storm recedes does the devastation reveal the full force of the destructive relationships.

Walking on eggshells is misery’s existence. 10/10 do not recommend! As these years of stress worked on me internally, my body began sending off flares to alert the operator something was not right. As a MVP at internalizing my distress in stressful situations I know realize this is the worst thing I can do for my body as the stress only then works from the inside out to let me know something needs to change.

This person’s way of life and reaction thereof kept me in a constant state of stress and planning my actions so as to avoid the wrath. By the time it got to the point i understood what was going on, the effects were out of my control to manage and I ended up in the hospital struggling for my life. All this after a routine procedure supposedly to “cure” the stomach issues I’d been having for several years to that point.

I was attempting to graduate. I was in nursing school and dealing with the first big flare to precede many, many more medical emergencies to come.Never once have I fully recovered from this flare or any proceeding. Each time my health declines, I bounce back, but with a little more function and vigor lost. Every Time until this last time. I am still waiting to bounce back from this year and a half long flare; however, now I know the reason behind my poor health I am quite more realistic on the future course from here.

When my health collapsed, this many reasons I needed to get out before this relationship killed me became frighteningly clear. Being subjected to sexual spousal abuse whilst in the hospital deathly ill and being told “jokingly” my partner would need to find someone to tend to his needs if I could not was one of my most horrifying experiences. After he finally left, I cried and cried because I couldn’t stand what he made me do and I couldn’t leave him in the state I was in.

After 3 weeks I was discharged and sent home with nursing for managing my IV nutrition. I was still very sick, but safe to go home and I so badly wanted to graduate from the program I poured so many years into.  However, once home the supports I needed were mocked and I was left to change my own IV dressing on 3 nights in a row when refused help because “Didn’t you learn how to do that with your biig nursing degree?”

I ended up with pneumonia as a result of my non-sterile central line dressings. Of course, calling the nurse when I was waking up in the middle night covered in sweat, tremoring with vomiting and diarrhea at the same time and a fever or 104 would be a supportive measure one could do for someone they loved in distress. In my situation, my partner was too self absorbed to be inconvenienced as he hard to work in the morning.

Eventually, my children called my mother because they thought I might be dying and this was the case. He did not care and complained there was no tea when he got home that day only to be met with my mother stating we needed to take me to the hospital. This is how it was with him though. He never believed me.

Always questioning my experience and making hurtful comments about my lack of ability to be productive when ill. This is why I was planning to leave him once I graduated school. Getting so sick was really tough luck for these plans as it made it that much more difficult to muster the strength to get away from his abuse.

Back after all this happened in 2007, I fortunately regained my strength and left the abuse by the end of the year.  Almost immediately I experienced temporary remittance of the severity of my illness! Moving on to better things in life and getting out of the constant state of stress did wonders for my health for obvious reason.

I will never forget how many times he told me he thought my sickness was only in my head. Nor how he mocked my history with major depression, anxiety & PTSD from my 1st abusive relationship and other traumatic experiences. No matter how I try to erase the damaging experience from my memory back, it is too large to fit in the recycling bin. Instead, it waits to resurface when dealing with Doctors who are ignorant to my now official diagnosis or then to all my nonspecific, supposedly unrelated health issues.

Still though, the relapses over the years always with stress, infection or trauma spoke to the more global issue ongoing. I finally reached the point in which my multitude of diagnoses received a better umbrella diagnosis of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Needless to say, life is rough on me and for many years I wonder if it was really only in this head like my ignorant, abusive ex-partner told me so many times during our time together.

Life is like this sometimes.

It tests strength and teaches new lessons. It progresses towards a state of wisdom and harmony with the surrounding environment (universe) in the best case scenario. Each experience affording a new skill set to use along the journey to come. Contrasting this optimal achievement, sometimes progress comes to a halt due to maladaptive  processing of life’s experiences. Periods of life intensity become so much larger than the ego’s ability to experience it productively. During this, a fight or flight reaction activates and the resonating effect begins to play out its part within the accepted reality.

And “Only in this Head” was birthed from the Nigredo of my existence. This darkness being this chronic illness hovering in my life over the last 20 years accompanied by six harrowing years exclusively  featuring that abusive voice trying to kill my spirit with words meant to disempower.

Like this devastatingly cruel relationship,the healthcare system also left me feeling alone, powerless against by own body and mind falling to pieces. There is nothing more devastating to be told real,  physically distressful symptoms are the creation of your own design. Both the system and my abusive partner tried to blame my physcial problems on mental illness, dismissed my pain and demeaned my existence into just that of a hysterical woman.

I am no longer weak from  abuse despite the weakness and instability of my frame. The trial of my abusive relationship(s) and the traumas of 15 years of healthcare neglect on behalf of  less than competent physcians made me this strong person unable to stand before you today. What was only in this head, was actually not just in my head, but locked within the genetic code of nearly every tissue giving me issues.

After these difficult experiences, the universe granted me some reprieve. I finally found the beauty of  a relationship based in unconditional love. This worked in my life to propelled my view towards understanding this earthly life in a more exquisite, easier to digest way. My current view is the singular observer experiences itself through multiple perceptions making up our perceived reality.

Each perception offers new lessons on how to do it better next time around. This provides peace in a harsh world. Instead of feeling alone in my head, I became more comfortable within myself. I looked within my life’s meaning and constructed thought paradigms with the intent of changing my course. I stopped judging myself. I celebrate all the joys in life, positive, negative and neutral. I pour my love onto the energetic effect and dispel the chaos with my natural balm. No matter what the wind blows my way, I will survive. I will bend, and eventually break, but even then I still go on, forever indefinitely!

So I keep the phrase around. It reminds me of one a my greatest lessons in life and reminds me of what reality my mind is capable of creating. The phrase connotates both a positive and negative time in my life, so using it to pursue my desire to write more is only appropriate. In the celebration of personal alchemy, it means there is a whole universe inside my own head.

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What’s the history behind your blog title?

Let’s share experiences! Please comment below 🙂

Thank you for being a friend ❤


2 thoughts on “Only in this Head- My Dark, Lovely Passenger Over These Years with Chronic Illness.

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