Rum & Ramblings: Anxiety, Chronic Illness, and Absence

Bottle of Kraken rum, with a red lipstick print on it.

Grab a drink, and let’s get personal.

My drink of choice: Kraken, cranberry, and a squeeze of lime … it’s perfect. What’s your drink? Let me know down below!

A bottle of Kraken, with a red lipstick print on it.

I haven’t figured out how to talk about some of the things going on, without them being much of the same. So, instead of a bunch of tweets where I still can’t fit everything into 140 characters, I decided to write a blog post. Here it goes.

First up: Anxiety & Health

I’m physically ‘ill’ a lot. It’s just a fact of my life, and I’m pretty used to being ill a lot. Mentally, I struggle. I think everyone does from time to time. But, I’ve struggled more with my mental health recently. Let’s delve a little deeper …

Up until the last half of 2016, anxiety was only something I experienced in small concentrated bouts. I had it mostly under control. Sure, it would rear it’s ugly head if life events took a turn or my stress levels were ridiculous. But, it was never a constant. Then, as always with me, my health took a turn for the worse. Late last year thanks to Labyrinthitis I was on body enforced bedrest for around a month. In short, Labyrinthitis is basically when your inner ear doesn’t know what it’s doing anymore, so there’s near constant dizziness, and nausea because of the dizziness. It took a month to get over the worst of it, but I still experience ‘spins’ as I’ve taken to calling them. Now, with my body it might be something else causing it, but I’ve always had inner ear problems, so I think it’s just lingering a tad.

I didn’t realise it then, but anxiety crept up on me silently. At first it would be thoughts at the back of my head. Then, I’d avoid going out for fear of something going wrong, and as the months got on and more health issues cropped up, my anxiety shifted focus. It started latching on to everyday things like going out, work, and doctors appointments.

Chronic Illness

Now, I’m no stranger to chronic health issues or mental health issues related to chronic illness. In a few years time I’ll be a decade into dealing with chronic pain, stomach issues, and allergies – most of which are officially still undiagnosed. But, for years, I’ve publicly denied problems with depression, and anxiety. I don’t just mean online within this ‘Ruby’ persona. Basically, no matter who I talk to I down play the mental effects of chronic illness. I talk more about my physical problems than my mental ones, though both are invisible. The reason being? Mainly, the medical profession. I’ve had so many doctors attribute my chronic pain to depression, when at the time I wasn’t depressed. That came later. For me, chronic pain isn’t a symptom of depression, depression is a symptom of chronic pain. I mean, how could it not be? Chronic pain sucks, but doctors don’t seem to get that.

To this day I won’t talk to a doctor about how I’m feeling because I worry they’re going to attribute current symptoms to my mental state, and ignore something. It’s a testament to the changes in regards to mental health in the UK that I feel I might be able to talk to a doc in time, but I still don’t feel comfortable. Mental health does impact physical health, the two go hand in hand. But, I’ve never experienced a doctor that’s talked to me about chronic pain without offering anti-depressents, therapy, or classing symptoms as psychosomatic.

Absence

What does this have to do with my burgeoning blog? Well, the past month has really sucked in terms of my health. I have a few different strands of my life not working well together, alongside bad health, and it’s made me feel more anxious than usual. That’s the long way of saying I kind of disappeared from the internet.

I had plans to work more, blog about a few topics near and dear to my heart, and produce more content. But, what I want to do, and what my body (and mind) allows me to do are completely different things.

Why am I putting all this out there?

What I don’t want to do is tweet every so often saying I can’t make it online. So, I’m trying this communication thing. Heads up, when it comes to my health I am terrible at communication. So, here’s me saying I’m trying my damnedest to do everything I’ve planned, but I’m falling short more often than not. I do hope things will settle down soon, but at the moment I’m fighting to finally get a diagnosis (for the tenth or so time), which means more tests with more side effects/aggravating symptoms.

But for now, I’m just going to sit back, enjoy my tipple, and wonder if Kraken will ever sponsor me one day.

Cheers. 

  • Veni Vidi Vixi

    For me, the perfect drink starts with eating some bronze fennel fronds with dark chocolate, and then washing that down with a swig of tequila añejo.