Longing for the Not-so-Good Old Days

This was originally posted to my blog, Diabetes Odyssey.

As I lay in bed earlier this fine evening, unable to sleep due to the discomfort of an ever worsening UTI (urinary tract infection), I found myself longing (not for the first time this month) for days past; a certain, specific time in my life when I lived carefree, no worries, no anxiety, no pain, no suffering, no responsibility…

No, I am not talking about my childhood.

This time I long for was a happy time. The happiness was a lie, completely unreal. But it felt real in the moments. The moments when I was surrounded by friends, drowning ourselves in booze, suffocating ourselves with the heavenly flavor of Hookah.

These were the worst years of my life: Unemployment, debt, lack of health insurance, worry, anxiety, stress, every week there was a new disaster to pile on to the rest of our sorrows.

But I was able to escape the horror nearly every evening by accepting the free booze and hookah from friends who just magically appeared at my door.

Natty Light, Coors, Budweiser, Shock Top, IPA’s, vodka, tequila, rum, wine, gin, whiskey, Red’s, Smirnoff, Fireball, Kinky, Four Loko, water…you name it, we had it.


A 'barrow of empties after a gathering.

We played drinking games: 3-man, shoulders, beer pong. I even invented a card game called ■■■■ Your Friends that was guaranteed to end with at least one person puking their booze-filled guts up.


A sampling of ■■■■ Your Friends

I could get drunk, fill my lungs with the cool smoke of some Lemon Chill or Absolute Zero, lean back on the couch, close my eyes, and listen to my friends laugh and joke…let the world spin with my drunkenness and tobacco high.

Total freeedooom from the world. ■■■■ you, ■■■■ you all, you messed up life, horrible people out there, the faceless tyrants, the demons who prey on us - the working poor class- the ones who work our asses to the bone for…for nothing!

No worries in this moment, no stress can penetrate the alcohol and tobacco shielding my feelings, my mind, my everything. Anxiety gone…for now.

As my life fell to pieces around me, I continued to live… as long as I had these evenings of escape to keep me sane. I didn’t completely fall apart emotionally and psychologically because I had these nights of respite from the terrors of reality.

But it was killing me physically. I didn’t care. I knew I was being utterly self-destructive. No one stays healthy very long with this kind of lifestyle, but a type 1 diabetic living this way day after day for over two years…it was a self-inflicted death sentence.

I knew it, and I didn’t give one single ■■■■.


Me chugging cherry vodka

Then times changed. Things got better, and things got worse. I did almost die, I ended up having open heart surgery. I straightened up my life, I came to my senses, I tried to be healthy.

I tried…really, I did.

For over two and a half years now I’ve tried so frickin’ hard to get healthy. But I’ve come to realize I will never get any better than I am right this moment. It’s just one thing after another. I haven’t fixed anything, and more things keep popping up. I’m working so damned hard to just stay half dead.

Why worry? Why live in stress, anxiety, pain, why spend day after day in constant battle with my health? Never a break, never being able to relax.

Why? What’s the point?!

I find myself more and more often now longing for those days. Why not surround myself with friends, get wasted, fill my lungs with glorious hookah, and just waste away in relaxed comfort?

Why not? I’m gonna die anyway, why not do it in comfort?

Because I’m no quitter, that’s why! I’m one of those dumb-asses who finds purpose in suffering! Pain means you’re doin’ it right! Turmoil means it’s working!

But, I’m tired. I’m fed up. I’m lost in an ocean of depression and diabetic burnout.

I feel like I’m done with all of this. I just want to turn off the anxiety, sorrow, and hopelessness.

I need help… or an entire bottle of Jager.

Yep you are no quitter, that’s what it comes down to! Despite it all there’s a lot to live for. I hope you find some relief in sharing, I know it helps me to read other people’s stories.

I haven’t been at the T1 thing that long to really hit burnout but it sure would be nice to have a break and forget the whole diabetes thing for a while. I had a dream a while back that I was in a bakery full of delicious donuts and pastries (including some of those Voodoo donuts with the bloody/berry pretzel through the heart) but didn’t want to eat anything because my BG was high. In a dream! That seems kind of messed up. I guess I need to learn lucid dreaming so I can pig out in my dream world.

Keep on keepin’ on.

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Tamra, I can’t walk a mile in your shoes, so I will never fully appreciate everything you’ve been through and continue to go through on a daily basis. But I want you to know how much you being here on TuD means to me (and I’m sure a countless number of other people.) I am extremely grateful for the fact that you are not a quitter. Thank you for being here!

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I wish I could just give you a hug. The truth is that life is difficult and at times we can just get really burned out. I credit my friend Mike Durbin for relating to me the idea of the Spoon Theory. Life hands us just a certain number of spoons every day to use on the things that take an emotional toll on us. You now have to use spoons on your UTI on top of everything else in your life. And every day is just relentless. And when everyday we can’t make it through the day with enough spoons we are left in a state of despair and as you say feeling depression, burnout, anxiety, sorrow and hopelessness. You know you could medicate yourself by returning to your old ways, but you also know in your heart that will just push the feelings into the background. It does really take away the need for your to take care of yourself. So I’d ask you to just sit down in your life and count your spoons. And then just figure out what you can and cannot do right now with the spoons that you have.

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I am sending you a big hug, Tamra. Namaste! :bouquet:

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I understand your longing to just turn off the world for a while – to give you some respite. You are dealing with multiple challenges and physical pain and your weariness is reasonable.

Some people can take refuge in other things that do not produce unhealthy consequences. Anything that can make you laugh is one such thing. I hate to make suggestions for fear of coming off as insensitive. I know people can find temporary relief in books and handicrafts. Anything that can engage your attention, like knitting could possibly give you some break.

Good luck and take care. You are valuable to this world!

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Oh Tamra, I feel a great sense of empathy with you. Turn the music on and listen to your fave stuff, it helps the brain waves a lot and will alleviate the extreme distress you feel at present. Your words help so many diabetics, you are a very valuable member of TuD and I send you a big (((((HUG)))))

Maureen

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