Hey, I'm Jason. I'm a chronically-ill-super-freedom-loving-medical-self-journalist.
So here’s the thing about managing chronic disease … it ain’t easy. It’s not. You’d think a guy with a degree in writing and enough medical experience to last several lifetimes would be able to keep up with a simple blog. I mean, they do all the work for you on these sites; all you have to do is sit down and compose.
And yet, here we are – practically strangers now – years later. Now where do I start? There’s been so much to report. Many stories to share with others. Countless lessons. I’ve decided that, against my nature, I will save some of the information for later posts. Let’s start where we left off: an idyllic Southern California day in September, sun shining, earth quaking, and a guy at the top of his game …
That’s where all that ended. There’s no easy way to say this, my eyes are watering at the admission before all of you: I fell apart. Now, in the middle of a nervous breakdown, you don’t really think, “geez, I’m having an actual nervous breakdown.” But I was.
I had begun peritoneal dialysis (much more to come on this … trust me) feeling like my health was often times a tenuous thing, it was never something that I had a good grip upon. I was fathering two daughters, was job hunting and negotiating, all the while working 50+ hours a week at a job I didn’t like at a craft that I never really, truly identified with. And then mom came to visit.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom as much as any son. Mom and I would agree, the visit was a bit stressful. Freaking stressful. I was desperately wanting to show mom how great life was out here. “My, what a great life I have out here,” I kept telling myself.
The precipice that is the moment before understanding you’re severely depressed is steeper than you’d imagine. I stood at it’s furthest edge, my toes scraping along the edge – as though that were a safe place to be. The weekend my mother came to visit, I fell.
It wasn’t my mother’s fault. It was mine. Well, let me rephrase that… it wasn’t anybody’s fault, but I was to blame for standing out there on the edge for so long.
Poor chronic physical health is very hard to live with, extremely hard to manage. But, Depression? Depression, she is a mean, nasty, covert disease. You know that black symbiote thing that takes over Spiderman and makes him act unlike himself? It’s like that, but without any of the cool spider stuff.
Depression is summarily dismissed by most of our nation as a “mood.” But I am here to tell you, she takes over everything. Like any illness Depression has symptoms. I quote the following from WedMD.com:
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:
You’ll have to excuse my language, but those symptoms are painfully fucking real. And, yes, I had them all (as I do, I generally exhibit all the bad symptoms of any disease I acquire). There are those who would tell me, “get over it.” I shamefully admit, before I knew better, I had uttered those words about others. What a schmuck. Depression is a disease. It’s a disease that we ignore, dismiss and deny.
Fortunately, there are answers and treatments. I have been getting treatment and searching for answers since the day I last wrote in this blog. Am I cured? Definitely not. Am I finally happier? You bet your ass.
So, for those keeping score: I am now disabled; cannot work; have End Stage Renal Disease; have Clinical Depression; do my own dialysis at home; suffer from Cluster Headaches; help run a household and fight with the government and my private insurer for the money I have already earned.
So, there must certainly be something to write about somewhere in there! I am changing the nature of this blog. I want a kidney, yes. But wanting a kidney doesn’t help anybody. I would prefer to help. I will be writing about Peritoneal Dialysis, the savior of my life. I’ll be writing about my Depression, the, uh – well, I’ll be writing about it anyway. I’ll write about the way people who are disabled are screwed to wall financially. Maybe I’ll even write about how last week, UCLA’s ER department tried to kill me – twice. It’s a tough life, living with disease. But the living, oh, the living!
New look, new content. I’m happier already.