The Kindling effect

I was briefly talking about the kindling effect yesterday. It’s something I’ve long worried about, and it seems to be coming true. I distinctly remember the chill that went down my spine when I learned about it in college.

Of course, that’s probably a normal reaction to learning that I’m a ticking time bomb.

I’ve long accepted that my illness is chronic, and episodic, and that some times would be better than others, but it’s been probably over six months since I received a full paycheck. I’ve been getting by on some jewelry sales and the extra crisis phone income. I have to choose between groceries, bills, and gas, every pay period. My Christmas money is going into my gas tank. I bought a new pair of jeans and a shirt for work with some of it, and that’s the first I’ve really been able to splurge in months. I’ll just start feeling more like myself just in time for another episode to sweep in.

I’ve been making drastic changes to my personal life. The hardest to change is my sleep cycle, but it’s slowly changing. I have to limit how much time I spend with others on a weeknight so I don’t get too elevated and have trouble sleeping. I’ve had to limit my caffeine even more, and diet coke is literally my only vice. I now don’t drink pop after two and have tried to limit it to 20 ounces a day, which I can easily work on twice that, and enjoy doing so. I’ve changed my eating patterns, though they’ve been being changed as well, simply because I don’t have any money for food. I’ve changed my meds. I’ve added new meds to the mix to help me sleep, to help me absorb vitamin D, and to help keep my triglycerides in the right range, so I don’t start to develop metabolic syndrome.

None of these changes seem to be helping. I’m just as symptomatic as ever. I’ve got suicidal ideation more often than I’d like to admit. My support network has been dramatically overhauled in the last year, since my former roommate started dating her now-husband, since I started dating my boyfriend, since I moved, since my sister moved here. I don’t cope well with change. I still have nightmares, and panic attacks, and wake up curled in a ball, sobbing, unable to move. I still have flashbacks to my childhood. I still am abused by others simply because of the size of my body, both random strangers and loved ones, despite the boundaries I set, in the case of my mom. I still berate myself constantly when I am unable to work simply because I can’t get out of my head.

I just want to be normal. I just want to be at baseline and STAY THERE ALREADY.


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