p.s. awful



I have been feeling awful these days–really awful for the first time since the stroke. After weeks of brave optimism and pragmatism, I’ve fallen into a pit–and of course, I find it difficult and painful to describe the position I’m in.

Yes, I have wonderful moments, like when a friend visits from out of town (hello, you know who you are, my dears!) and we run all over town, visiting all of Berkeley and Oakland’s meaningful foodie sites (from International Blvd to Berkeley Bowl to the Gourmet Ghetto for starters)…but mostly, I’m biting my tongue and taking very shallow breaths, just like someone in physical pain.

I’m in emotional and mental pain. I’m lost. It’s awful.

I’m getting better much more slowly now–the first few dramatic weeks of recovery behind me. Now I’m looking at a mountain peak hundreds of feet up, with slower progress, less emotional resolve, and a broken leg. Oh, and a broken leg that no one can actually see, so I don’t get a lot of forgiveness for my deficits and instead get a lot of impatience and quizzical looks. It is a very lonely road.

It’s up to me to say “No, I can’t do that,” and that’s an overwhelming task for me to accomplish. Recognize and voice my limitations? Sheeit. And nevermind the people who like to say, “You don’t LOOK like you’ve had a stroke!” Sheeit. I feel like a stupid f*ck who can’t remember things well, and this all sucks now in a frightening way.

I still can’t remember things! I cannot hold onto my thoughts and I’m sick of being a receptacle of only the present moment. (I watched “Finding Nemo” last night and actually empathized with Dory, the fish who is dealing with short term memory loss–it was both funny and horrifying). The lesson of living in the moment is wearing thin.

My brain was the part of me I always relied on most. I don’t like the way I look (what woman really does?) and I am so not an athlete–so I always relied on my ability to THINK and REMEMBER, and rely on my BRAIN.

And now it is GONE. I’m infuriated and depressed. And will I be the same again? No.

p.p.s. Oh, and don’t try to “cheer” me up. I can’t handle it. I know you all want me to be happy but I can’t put on that show for you. I just can’t.



Filed under Life, The Stroke

12 responses to “p.s. awful

  1. No show required Jade. Just be yourself whoever that may be for the moment. Just know we are with you and listening, which is about all we can really do and maybe all you can really accept right now. You do have a brain and it is working, just not like it was. It is a change and no matter what anyone says, change is hard, especially when it is forced. If only a pill would make things better….no pill for this. It is a process to ride out.

  2. aw jade, you don’t need to be happy “for” me. I sure don’t need any kind of show. I’m just really sorry this sucks so bad. Really. Gahh!

    And: I’ve never really paid attention to “Finding Nemo.” I didn’t see it in a theater and so it was always on in the background but I never really focused on it. I didn’t know Dory the Fish had short term memory loss.

    I think you should totally deck the next person who says, “You don’t look like you had a stroke.”

    I know it’s a shitty, lonely road. It sucks. I am sorry.

  3. I just send you love and support. You don’t need to “cheer up.” You’re expressing your feelings. You know that just having the feelings you have, and not fighting them or telling yourself you ought to feel some other way – this is the only way through.

    Bless you. I know that this too, shall pass. In the meantime, I also know that it must feel shitty and that it’s not passing fast enough. I sympathize.

    And good for you, for sharing the downs as well as the ups in this forum.

    Take care and know that we are all pulling for you.

  4. I admire you for admitting it’s bad WHEN it’s bad. I can only admit after the fact (“I’m better now but I WAS really bad”). It shows how in touch with your feelings and how honest you are.

  5. charlotteotter thanks for your observation and your kind words–it’s good to see that all the “work” that i’ve done in the past years to “get in touch with my feelings” is not all for naught. believe me, i was very tempted to just subjugate my “bad” feelings and not let anyone know until it was all over.

  6. You need to work on your Samuel Jackson voice:

    Them: “You don’t look like you had a stroke.”
    You: “Huh. Well, tou will, once I get finished with your ass.”

    Seriously, Jade, I’m glad you’re not putting on a show. I will say I’m relieved that you’re also experiencing some pissed-off-ness and anger. If you weren’t, I’d be even more concerned, as those are what I imagine to be natural reactions. In fact, being pissed off and sad and annoyed by this is a good sign your brain hasn’t gone, right? Messed up, yes, but not gone.

    Small comfort, know. Anyway, this isn’t to cheer you up, because that’s not always good for someone. Keep on not putting on a show. Seriously, practice the Samuel Jackson voice.

  7. connie

    I agree with what everyone has been saying. Your recovery will happen, and I’m sorry it’s so sucky. Don’t worry about putting on a show… it’s good that you’re expressing instead of bottling it all up. And to the doubters, you should just say, “you don’t *look* like an insensitive jackhole!”

  8. Jade, I’m so sorry. I wish there was something I could do or say to help you get through it.

  9. I’m sorry you’re having such a bad time, too 😦 I love that Finding Nemo picture, though.

  10. my own struggles have been with not being able to remember things as quickly as i have been. it makes me feel quite old, even though i am only in my 30s. i am wondering if i am just being paranoid or this is the beginning of something like alzheimer’s. sometimes, i will sit there for almost a minute trying to remember what this thing in my hand is, which could be a pencil. or the name of the band that i danced to at prom, which i always had at the tip of my tongue.

    our memories are a part of who we are. when they are gone, it feels like that part is lost as well. at least, that’s what it feels like to me, is the fear that i am losing my memories.

    be well.

  11. Sometimes being sick just sucks.

  12. mel

    Sending positive thoughts (rather than risk sounding cheery). Hope you’re feeling less awful today.

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