Monday, December 18, 2006


The year is coming to a close. The days are colder, but sunny, and global warming is evident. I have been more chaotic that usual, even for me, living always on the verge of what seems like collapse from over-emotion, fatigue, stress and confusion. But somehow I made it through the last weeks without major disasters and with some minor achievements, even if they are not glaringly obvious to anyone but me.

A week from yesterday is the anniversary of my diagnosis, and a week from today I will be on a plane on my way to meet P's family in the South of Europe. I have been dead nervous about both events, building up scenarios, accumulating fears and restlessness. I have heard the voices in my head shierk a million times and in numerous ways how inadequate I am, how fat(er), sick(er), gross(er), stupid(er), chaotic(er), tired(er) and ugly I am. How I will never measure up, not only to others' expectations but to my past selves. How the drugs turn me upside down and inside out, and the binging makes me bloated and wobbly where I used to be firm and toned and together (because society equates a "hardbody" with a balanced mind doesn't it?). And when I wasn't busy being neurotic and obssessive and self-terrorizing, I was paralized with fear about the future of the World, both my own (parents, loved ones, future, lack of pension and stable employment/insurance, P's health) and in general (global warming, Africa, Israel/Palestine, the collapse of the EU economy which I am part of, the general unreliability of the Dutch when it comes to making things work better and their love of bureaucratic reorganizations that end in chaos and confusion which add to my own - whether the insurance system or the train system or anything that requires automated billing). So I fretted and feared, every day more, and it was an iterative process in which each day's panic was a factor of the previous day's plus some.

Then I went to see the psychologist at the hospital that I see every few weeks. i had just discovered that I have a tapeworm living in my intestines, and I was repulsed beyong belief (I still didn't get rid of it, because my doctors will not authorize giving me a one pill prescription until I go through the usual phases of sending a bunch of samples to the lab a week before Christmas, when they will probabaly take weeks to process the thing). I felt so low and lowly that I just sat in his room and cried and rambled on about killing myself. The psyhologist reminded me gently that every time I experience happiness, I have an overwhelming urge to self destruct, to create chaos in my life. Of course, he is 1000% right, and this is, in essence, the story of my life (although, I did not unprovingly infect myself with HIV through a medical procdure, and I did not even "get myself" pregnant, because I was using a contraception that was taken off the shelves while I was actually still pregnant and waiting for the abortion because it was deemed insufficiently effective by the Israeli health authorities, a device that was PRESCRIBED BY A DOCTOR). But to go back to the psychologist, he was completely correct. When things are going well and smooth in my life, I flip out and lose it, because I am used to chaos and havoc, not to peacefulness and serenity and acceptance, because with the first I know that I need to do: hang on for dear life, clench my teeth, and struggle, whereas with the second, I just have a growing sense of impending doom, a shadow creeping behind my back like in a cheap horror movie, where everyone but the heroine knows exactly what is going to happen according to the conventions of the genre. I have never been proved wrong in this hypothesis, but many a time this was not just a self-fulfilling prophecy but a self-destructing malignancy that brought about the expected disaster. Although, again, when I was happy and in love and telling people about it last year - although, evidently, with the wrong guy - I didn't expect to be accidentaly diagnosed with AIDS - but then again this saved my life and brought me to where I am today, and who I am with today, so maybe there is a bigger plan to the scheme of things. But who am I kidding, what role do the millions perishing in Africa and the billions that have perished worldwide over the centuries have in this larger scheme? I cannot afford to have this arrogant, self-absorbed New Age view any longer, even if I never completely held it, but I always thought that if I tried hard enough I would be able to adopt it, and that it would cleanse and purify my life, and rid me of the havoc and fear and senselessness.

The psychologist also mocked my habit of worrying, saying "but what could be a better, and more helpful, way of passing the time than worrying constantly about things that you cannot change, the past and the future, anything but living the present?". And in this he was right too of course. He also said that i was smart and aware and read the power relations at my workplace correctly, when other people might have said that I was over-paranoid or at least oversensitive.

I didn't change after that conversation, although it was a load off. In fact, I continued to spiral downwards, but something did click in the old engine, else I wouldn't be able to write this.

And so this year comes to a close. I am still scared. I didn't yet kill myself, like I planned to do at the end. But hey, last year my world turned upside down 3 days before the end, 3 days before I was supposed to go back to the Netherlands from my homevists and move in with Z. (and what a nightmare that would have been, WHAT WAS I THINKING?). Maybe I will write more in the blog before it ends (like on Christmas, when I will be alone right before my flight). Maybe not. Maybe I will be stuck with my tapeworm into 2007. Maybe not. Maybe I will get my act together workwise. Maybe not. Maybe (I sure hope so) me and P. will grow even stronger and closer. I will be happy if we stay as we are, in this blissful equilibrium which is nothing like I have ever experienced, but I know that life never comes to s standstill like that. I have to be prepared for the possibility that it won't work out, but there is no way that I can prepare for this kind of pain, so I won't even try. I am not even going to write here about things that I am more afraid of like the fate of my parents. I hope in any case to be able to accept that this life is just transitory, a cycle of change or a seesaw of elevation and depression that we all have to go through, regardless of our serostatus. I can try to set acceptance as a goal, but when I set goals in any realm they tend to get further away from me, so I will not attempt to break out of any ruts anymore. After all, any wisdom is retrospective.

No comments: