Blue Instead of Yellow

Yeah, I know. I skipped a day, and promised to talk about KIY shit…but life intervened. Because of the weather, seasonal depression is on my mind.

I suffer from occasional bouts of depression. PTSD from my hospital stay, circumstances, aftermath. The interludes of depression can be long-lasting. Some have lasted months.

Others are worse off. Yeah, I know that. I’m not throwing a pity party.

But it’s like this: I have maybe 25% lung capacity on a good day. Most of my alveoli were destroyed by fluid incursion following a bout with a still-and-always-idiopathic lung-wall-destroying disease (all signs point to valley fever but there was no way to diagnose it by the time they got at me). My lungs are largely scar tissue, and don’t inflate completely anyway. Essentially, as my friend FJM pointed out, I live at 45,000 feet.

I live on generated or canned air. While I do have portable tanks, they last a couple of hours each, and weigh 12 pounds. It’s a complete pain in the ass to go anywhere – especially as any exertion taxes my oxygen-processing apparatus.

When I’m short of breath, I don’t think straight. I cannot diagnose things with my usual facility. Plus the need to breathe makes me panicky.

So I usually don’t go anywhere. I don’t have a car, and public transportation takes time, which is what I have the least of. Left cabin fever behind years ago.

I hate it. Just existing is so frustrating that sometimes I just want to ball up and cry. But I refuse to do that. The anxiety and frustration get channeled into art, and I keep on keepin’ on…just as I did with my lungs trashed and double pneumonia.

Don’t know any other way.

But this really ain’t about me, or my seasonal depression brought on by my body’s painful response to cold. It’s about the invisible diseases people suffer, and how they’re viewed by others, who haven’t the empathy or imagination or common decency to behave properly when confronted by something that they haven’t directly experienced.

I’ve had people ask me for cigarettes, smoke right in my face, blow smoke at me. I just shake my head sadly, and move away. What else? I could upbraid them, but what would that change?

Let’s think about that seasonal pain. It’s fibromyalgia. I know several other people who suffer from it. Used to be called neuralgia. For me, it feels like a cloud of below-freezing pins and needles lancing a lake of lava. It’s mostly in remission, thankfully, as my insurance company no longer covers the drug that made things bearable.

It has un-remissed. Made me more productive as I fill every waking moment with activity in order to sublimate the pain as much as possible. At least I have that mechanism. Many don’t.

But the point is, you can’t see fibromyalgia. Not with any instruments a common physician has. Certainly not with the naked eye.

Can’t see diabetes, lupus, many other debilitating disorders.

Have a care. Walk a few steps in the other guy’s shoes. You never know what’s in the rest of the iceberg.



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