Hey, I'm Jason. I'm a chronically-ill-super-freedom-loving-medical-self-journalist.
Clearly, I have jumped back into the Internet forum with both feet. In some ways, that’s good – waiting for all the perfect words and stories is eternal and fruitless. But things do work out a bit better if you take off your shoes before you’re ankle deep in the pond. Restraint is not one of my heroic attributes and sometimes this means I dump it all out onto the page.
When you write serious shit, people take that shit serious. Here I was, having lived through the last year, taking my story online with abandon, never considering that folks are actually reading my story. And people are reacting.
My post about depression was, I think, jarring for many. At first, I found that reaction, well, touching. If people are saddened or surprised to hear of my struggle, I find that comforting. Now don’t get all “he’s posting shocking stuff just to get attention” on me. You and I both know that sharing feelings with people is a great form of comfort. I stink at conversation; this blog helps.
After some thought, though, I considered that my post may have been what many people with Depression should do – wake up your peers. I don’t personally feel any remorse or shame knowing I live with this disease. People who live with Depression will understand why getting out of bed is so damn difficult. And why a ringing phone is the conundrum of a lifetime – pick it up and you’ll have someone to talk to, let it ring and suffer the guilt of ignoring a friend. We understand these things.
Does anybody else?
As a people, we can comprehend cancer and broken legs, but we lack understanding for mental diseases. I spoke with a mental health professional recently who suggested that Depression may be more widespread than we can even fathom. The search for meaning and understanding in life is daunting; and it’s answers (or lack of them) can produce some pretty serious sadness. We all struggle with living. Then, add Kidney Disease at the age of 16. Ugh.
Which brings me to the second thing I learned last week. I posted a photo of my dialysis supplies. Boxes and boxes upon more boxes. But I wasn’t complaining. I put these things online so that folks will know what it means to dialyze. I live an incredible life on Peritoneal Dialysis (PD). In-center dialysis (i.e. go to an outpatient clinic every other day and get your ass kicked for four hours) is brutal. But PD is gentle in comparison. Ass-kicking light, if you will. I am unabashed in my sharing of PD, but there is a second conundrum: how to share the difficulties of dialysis and still celebrate that it is a life-sustaining activity?
Those boxes? They are my savior. Still, how would you like to live with those boxes? Or with a tube coming out of your belly – permanently? These things I share – my feelings and my challenges – they are sometimes hard to swallow. Selfishly, though, I post them.
Thankfully … you’re reading them.