Hiding in the shadows
I was debating on ever bringing this up, but I decided to hold onto it for a few days to digest my emotions.
I started 2017 with a seizure that I cannot explain. I've had them since I was 10, and they have nothing to do with epilepsy. My levels of anxiety have the capability of reaching a point that my body doesn't know what to do with, so instead of doing something beneficial it shuts down all processes and I do the electric slide across the floor. I typically little more than one a year, and over the past few years, they have occurred less frequently as I have discovered what my triggers were and began avoiding those situations. There have been casualties in my social life, some good casualties that made me a better man, as well as other, less pleasant casualties. I think the easiest way it can be described is this; My fear of having another seizure was the main reason that I stopped being the kid in the front row at shows and started being that guy that watches everything from the back of the venue. 95% of my triggers are related to traditional hospital environments, and it goes back to something that happened when I was really really young. I'm terrified of that sterile smell that overwhelms the halls of a building people regularly stop breathing in.
I can remember the last three seizures I've had as vividly as I can remember the first time I kissed Hailie. We had talked about the fact that I had them early on in our relationship, but she had never experienced being the only other person in a room with someone posturing on the ground. Stepping on a rusty nail that drove it's way into the center of my foot is what introduced her to my hell. The nurse that always takes care of me at my doctor's office, Adam, experienced it while drawing blood for routine lab work, and later again when he and my doctor found out first hand how little valium works for me when they began a routine vasectomy. Most of these events last around 90 seconds. I have too many of these moments in my life that stick out because of the terror I felt in the moments regaining consciousness. I'm almost trained with muscle memory to say the words, "My name is Chris Bentley," as soon as I am capable.
Imagine you take a vacation to Hawaii. You rent a kayak, and you go to the beach with the intent of seeing an amazing view of the island, so you start paddling into the ocean. You tour the outskirts of the island, and eventually you decide to paddle back to Laniakea beach on the north shore. On your way paddling inland, you're so captivated by the view of the island that you pay no mind to the 20-foot swell behind your kayak. A seizure is like the singular moment of distraction followed by the terror of drowning because wave after wave is twisting your body under the waves, denying access to the single gasping air that your body craves.
Late into the evening of New Year's Day, maybe around 2 am, I woke up to get a glass of water. The only thing I remember after that is hitting my hip on our kitchen table, and then the ten seconds of Hailie's terrified face screaming my name before I could say the words, "I'm Chris Bentley, I'm okay." This was her second introduction to my hell, but it was my first introduction to a new terror. This seizure didn't have a trigger. There was no anxiety. There was no stress. There was no reason this should have happened. I sat in bed awake afraid of sleep until my body stopped putting a priority on consciousness. The next morning, Monday the 2nd, I spent quietly distracting myself from the reality that these were eventually going to become a reality for the hand that I had been dealt.
This realization was only further stressed by republicans taking hold of senate and the house of representatives with an entire presidential campaign promising a repeal and replacement of the ACA. I fall in the Medicaid gap because Idaho chose not to expand. I can't afford an MRI. I can't afford lab work. I can't afford all of the things that terrify me, but I want nothing more than to figure out what's wrong with me so I can have a better tomorrow.
January 2017 marks two years off of my bi-polar, depression, and anti-anxiety medication. Most days I find myself open to emotion, but other days I wish I was numb to everything. I want to turn off the world as it crumbles around me. It's like 250 days passing that say, "I'm so glad I found the real me," with another 115 days screaming for a Xanax fantasy. I miss the days hiding behind medication.
If you're hoping for a nice and tidy way of ending this update, I don't have one. I'm drunk to the extent that I can actually explore my emotion but sober enough to realize how terrifying they truly are.