It started with a call
The call that would change my life forever, “The test results came back,” my doctor said solemnly, “You have sarcoidosis of the lungs.” I remember my body going numb, my knees buckling as I crouched down in the middle of the beauty aisle at Target. All I knew of sarcoidosis is that Bernie Mac died from it four months earlier.
I remember having lunch with my husband; we sat across from each rehashing the test results. Making plans about “the next steps.” I remember feeling my left eye throbbing as he spoke. My eye becoming so heavy that it closed on its own accord. I remember the fear in my voice as I said to him, “Honey, I can’t open my eye.”
I remember the night before our first big doctor’s appointment, the one that would get the ball rolling. It was a beautiful evening. Laughing with the kids, wrapping up the day’s real estate deal although I was physically uncomfortable, my chest ached with every breath I took. I felt optimistic, I would get through this. We would get through this. I have a loving family and an awesome career.
I was the “Spirited Strategist.” You see, it’s been said that meeting me is the equivalent to a day at the amusement park. It’s exciting. It’s dynamic. And you simply can’t help but have a good time. I was a marketing/sales-savant, while my clients were busy catching my energy, I was strategizing a fool-proof plan to meet their business goals, and then some.
I remember feeling off the next morning. By the time we were at Piedmont hospital for my appointment, my hands were shaking so badly I thought I may have developed Parkinsons in my sleep. My head throbbed and I felt a dull pain in my lower back just before I lost the ability to walk. I remember so desperately trying to disappear as my husband pushed me in a wheelchair. There I sat, shaking and twitching while strangers took a wide birth around me. I remember the shame I felt when I saw the pity in their eyes. The looks of disdain as they stared at my enfeebled body in the wheelchair. I wanted to scream at all of them. “I was just like you last night! I was fierce and strong and normal. I woke up like this and I don’t know why.” I opened my mouth because I was going to say something and what came out chilled me to the bone.
My once commanding voice; the voice that mentored, instilled confidence in others, that negotiated contracts, and sealed deals. The voice of a ruthless panther now sounded like a newborn kitten. It was then that my brain became slower as my speech transitioned to the state of a child just learning to read. I developed an accent and the amount of words, simple words, that I can’t pronounce anymore increased. Words like “school.” I stopped taking calls after a certain hour because people would find out, they would hear, they would judge and they would know that I am no longer me.
I am not strong, I am not courageous, I am deteriorating from the inside and no one can tell me what I did to deserve this.
Fast forward 10 years, I am in remission. However, little by little, my fierceness continues to be chipped away. The trauma of those years caused me to develop an anxiety disorder. I’ve been told, “Don’t worry, you’re just stressed out.” I laugh because I would love to be “just stressed out” because stress is situational. For instance having bills is stressful but having more money can change that; kids getting your nerves is stressful but naptime can fix that. I have anxiety and normally a quiet evening at home should fix that, but my anxiety is fear based. When I am faced with a situation the “what ifs,” consume me until I’m terrified. My anxiety attacks me physically. I’m haunted with running thoughts that literally shatter my skull in pain. There are times when thinking is agony.
There are two doors in my life.
Behind Door #1 is depression. It’s an appealing room, there’s a bed, a heavenly bed with a white down comforter, soft Egyptian sheets, and fluffy down pillows. The room is dark and safe. No one is there but me. I don’t have to pretend. I don’t have to explain myself, I can be left alone in peace. I don’t have to eat if I don’t want to. I don’t have to do a thing.
Behind Door #2 is faith. I question this room with its bright pretty lights. There are people in this room. They rely on me, they cherish me. They urge me not to forget them and not to forget myself. They remind me that I am useful, that I still have more to give. I can’t hide in this room where all eyes are on me waiting for me to do….something. Expecting me to evolve into…someone.
I almost called it quits in August of 2019. My uselessness consumed me to the point I reached out to Door #1. A funny thing happened as I twisted the knob, my phone rang.
“The world is changing and I don’t know where I fit anymore.” She cried into the phone. It was then I realized, I’m not alone in this overwhelming feeling of depression and change.
At some point in our lives, we’ve all felt lost and unsure of our place as the world spirals around us.
So many ups and downs; so much effort being unnoticed or taken for granted; things happening and we can’t seem to catch up. The hopeless feeling of being left behind.
There are times where you just need to stop and regain control. I have taken my passion for soapmaking to transition bath time into a “Me Moments,” a personal time out to reflect, regroup and remind.
Our products may not save the world but if they save your day by providing you a moment of serenity and joy, then we’ve done our job.