Existential Crisis: Day 15

CRISIS ALERT!  Things are not going well.  Okay, I exaggerate; things aren’t terrible, but I have not been thinking rationally lately. For the first time in my working career, I am sick. I am unable to focus, at most times I feel an impending sense of doom, and I feel like I have nowhere to go.  Actually, I’ve had these feelings for awhile now, but never in such intensity nor at the same time.  It seems my health was the last sanctuary for my sanity, and now that that has been compromised, I am resigned to wallow in anguish and uncertainty.

Perhaps I should illuminate the history of these events.  In the first week of July, I began to prepare for my summer vacation to New Hampshire.  I had been waiting months for this trip since I booked it in early May.  On July 4th, I went to San Francisco for fireworks.  It was fine and I got a good walk in, but there was a slight dull pain in what I thought was my chest that bothered me a little.  I had just worked out a few days before so I thought nothing of it.  Fast forward two days later and the pain, which I discovered is actually in my back, is so strong that it hurts to breathe.  I take pain meds and apply IcyHot to limited success.  I fly out to New Hampshire on a red-eye from San Francisco (during which time I was delayed, missed my connection, caught another flight to Maine, lost my luggage… it was not fun) and upon my arrival in Maine I’m once again in agony after sitting upright for 5 hours.  My ability to enjoy my vacation is limited.

The next day, thanks to my so very caring family (seriously, thank you), I get a massage for my back.  Massages are awesome and wonderful, but I felt no immediate relief upon leaving.  I’m also exhausted from…something. My flight maybe.  So I take a nap and wake up even more sore than before. Yay!  The next day I wake up dizzy, with no appetite, with a headache and a sporadic cough, weak, and with what seems to be a fever.  My ability to enjoy my vacation is further diminished.  What about the back pain you say?  Yeah, it was actually gone.  Hooray!  However, I’m still exhausted and can barely eat solid food without becoming nauseated. I take another long nap to get rid of my headache.  I just love missing out on vacation.

Wednesday rolls around and I feel better in almost every way.  I go to play golf, which was emotionally devastating in another way, but my back felt fine.  My hands hurt though, but I attribute that to the fact that I was only wearing one glove.  Flash forward to dinner and my hands still hurt, but now they’re covered in a rash and lots of tiny blisters.  Surprise! You’ve got Coxsackievirus!  I must have caught it at the airport or something.  Now I’ve got itchy rashes in annoyingly random places.  Fun, but thankfully not too debilitating.  The next morning I go out on a kayak trip with my brother, which was fun, but a bit longer than I had hoped for.  My back and legs were dying inside the kayak from being stuck at a right angle for an hour.  Upon loading the kayaks onto the trailer afterward, I am immediately gripped by sharp lower back spasms and collapse in a heap to the ground.  I can barely stand up straight and walk.  Being the last day of my vacation, I was determined to do everything I wanted to do that I couldn’t before.  So I went on a 3 mile hike, I played a few intense games of ultimate Frisbee… I felt pretty good, actually.

Then I lost my mind.  Depression seemed to float over me like Pacific fog.  I was exhausted and despite previous experiences, I felt like nobody seemed to care about me.  Whether that’s true or not, I can never figure out.  I guess there are just some people that folks with my personality type just don’t mesh with.  Oh well.  So I left and went home to California.

Remember that cough?  It came back.  Actually it never left, but only happened at night time.  Well now it happens whenever the hell it feels like for minutes at a time.  It happens at work, and all I can do is close my door and lock myself away from the world in a quarantine to keep my coworkers from catching whatever it is I have.  I’ve been pumping myself full of NyQuil, DayQuil, and cough drops to limited success.

Last night after work I went to the supermarket to grab dinner.  Upon arriving at the checkout station, I noticed a shiny shimmering line curving through my vision.  I was having trouble grabbing the items from my cart.  It took me a few minutes, but I noticed that my right peripheral vision was gone.  Just, not there anymore.  When I get home, it returns and the visual obstacles disappear, but my head hurts.  Upon research, I discover that these shiny lines are called scintillating scotoma and are a symptom of migraines.  Wonderful.  All I can do after dinner is take a nap and hope I wake up symptom-free, as per my usual headaches.

I wake up and it still hurts, so I go to bed.  An hour into my night’s sleep I wake up completely drenched in sweat.  It’s so bad, I migrate over to the futon in the other room where it’s dry.  My body seems to be completely unable to regulate its temperature.  I wake up this morning with dull head pain, the cough still there.  Turns out my head now hurts when I cough.  Great.  And that’s where I am now, with no end in sight

With my health compromised, my life seems so very bleak.  I haven’t been able to focus at work, I haven’t been exercising, which sure as hell doesn’t help my depression, and I just seem to drift by day after day.  Far too many intrusive thoughts are popping into my head, and I’ve been getting very good at rationalizing potentially horrible decisions.  I’m just glad that I am aware of myself when I’m being irrational, and I can just tune my stupid brain out.

But seriously, aside from the obvious reasons of family and friends, there are a million reasons to keep living.  Think about these few for a second:

  • I haven’t seen the Buffalo Sabres win the Stanley Cup
  • There are still 2(!) books yet to be released in A Song of Ice and Fire
  • I sure as hell don’t want to miss the last season of Breaking Bad. No way.
  • I still can’t do 30 pull-ups
  • I still haven’t run a marathon
  • There are still songs I need to learn to play on the piano
  • There are still songs that don’t exist that need to be written
  • I haven’t even been to Europe… or to any country whose borders don’t touch Niagara Falls.
  • Uh, Unreal Engine 4 looks pretty doesn’t it?
  • The fact that just over three weeks ago, I was overflowing with hope about the future.

So it seems that while everything appears to be awful at the moment and my life seems to be falling apart, it’s actually just fine, more or less.  In fact, despite my apparent lack of motivation and energy, I’ve been doing numerous things to help correct and fix the numerous problems in my life.  For example, I’ve (finally) successfully registered for the FE Exam and have begun studying, I blew through three German lessons yesterday because why not, and while my career seems to be going nowhere, I’ve been taking steps to advance professionally, and I’ve recently discovered options that I didn’t know existed and ways to get out my frustrations (ie. resume).

In conclusion, despite what my irrational depressed brain is trying to tell me, I’m fine. Things are a pretty solid ‘meh’ at the moment, but who knows what’s around the next corner.  Freakin’ life, man.


2 thoughts on “Existential Crisis: Day 15”

  1. Jake, these symptoms sound all too familiar… she may dispute this, but from where I sit, Sal’s displayed just about all of them.

    A chest X-ray told us she had a lung infection. See a doctor, ‘k?

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