“Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be… a prudent insurance policy.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert
“Faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe.”
~ Mitch Albom
What is there to say if we cannot be honest with each other?
Let me show you something.
Saturday morning. Sitting in a Byron Bay cafe, unbidden tears rolling down my cheeks. I was there with my ever-patient and supportive husband Ben, who had managed to rouse me from my coma-like state long enough to get me out of pyjamas and into some street clothes that still somehow resembled pyjamas.
So there I was. Weak latte at one elbow, a pile of unread weekend newspapers at the other. Harry the cafe dog lying on my feet, while I drew strength and grounding from his reassuring presence.
These new drugs I am on are a nightmare. I count every day that I must take them. Two weeks, four days to go.
They are my sweet poison. I can literally FEEL them working from just after they enter my body. For the first two weeks I experienced massive body pain, insomnia and complete exhaustion. My brain was numb. I was numb. Couldn’t read. Couldn’t think. Couldn’t connect to anything during the day. Couldn’t sleep at night, when all of that disconnect would dissolve and leave me stuck in this misbehaving body.
I was so not like my usual self. Empty headed. No ideas, no ability to converse or articulate my needs. I would get one good hour, sometimes less, each morning between when I struggled out of bed and when I began the regime of drugs and herbs that are making me well. Thank god for that one sane-making hour. Then it was back to the place of disconnect.
At least in that space of disconnect I was feeling the pain, but often from a distance, during daylight hours anyway. Anyone who has taken Valium or other such drugs will know what I am talking about. If the house had been burning down my thought process would have looked something like this:
‘Oh, look. Flames.’ Observes them licking across the bedroom ceiling. Observes them set the curtains alight. ‘Boy, it’s really taking hold.’ Turns over in bed and readjusts the pillows.
At night my bed was burning, and I was still in it. But this time I knew it, and I couldn’t make it stop…
So after the trauma of no sleep and endless pain Thursday and Friday brought me two straight days and nights of sleep. Sweet sleep. Sleep with rich lucid dreams.
One good thing, though. My brain is waking up and kicking into gear although I don’t yet recognise the landscape.
I wake long enough to drink some water, take some tablets, go to the toilet. All in a shuffling half-awake space, like a turtle breaking the surface for a sip of air before returning to the depths and those crazy seem-real dreams.
It was in one of those cresting moments of wakefulness on Saturday morning when Ben magically transported me down to Byron.
Sitting there at an outdoor table with my coffee, music in the background, soft rain falling and friends stopping to say hello, I was overwhelmed with sensation almost too much to bear.
The muted sunlight seemed too bright. The background music so loud. Conversations washed over the top of me and I struggled to catch those shining bright words one by one in my clumsy fists. By the time I had captured enough and threaded them into some sort of meaningful order the friends were on their way, their questions unanswered, their faces kind and perplexed. Sorry, I want to shout after them.
But already I was forgetting what for.
On Saturday morning I sipped my latte, holding it carefully in both hands as a child would do. I am shaky and weak, and my spatial awareness is awry. I find it challenging to get food or drink neatly to my mouth. I hope no-one I know saw me as I put my breakfast toast in my nostril and fed coffee to my chin.
At meal’s end I insisted on paying, shuffling into the cafe to hand over my money. My balance is poorer than I remember and I lurched forward like a drunk. This was not one of my better plans. Cafe Friends who we met through our mutual dogs, looked up in alarm as they watched me surf on wobbly legs to the counter. They do not know I am ill. I am aware that I am walking like a Thunderbird puppet right now – all jerky clumsiness and startle reflexes. It’s not just my friends who were staring that day.
They whispered to themselves, shocked, and although I would have liked to go over and have a quick chat, assure them I’m okay, that this is just a bad patch on the way to being well, I knew it was too much to explain and anyway, there were so many steps between me and them.
Home again, to pyjama land. But not to sleep. Not yet. Someone had shoved a pitchfork in my skull and they were twisting it for all they’re worth. The pain? Exquisite.
I slept away the rest of Saturday and much of Sunday.
So how is my Monday? If I were a pirate I would make pain walk the plank and feed it into the grasping maw of a giant shark.
Meditation is the only thing that gives my waking hours real relief. Sleep is better. Sleep is pain-free, and my dreams entertain me better than any book or movie. I like to think that while I am sleeping I am also healing. That glorious battles are being fought in my name and that good work is being done. That these wretched bacteria inside me are dying in droves and my cells are bringing out the dead as the meat wagons travel through my veins.
I wish I could feel normal. I would like to be baking something. I would like to be walking my farm or going for a swim, or working on a book. But sleep is clawing at me, and I can feel myself turning to sand beneath those insistent fingers. Am I even awake? Was Saturday’s breakfast real or just a dream?
Please, when I finally wake properly from this, let me have morphed back into myself. Meanwhile, I’ll keep taking my sweet poison. I’m planning to kill all these bacteria before they kill me. It’s the best plan I’ve got, and anyway, I’m winning.
It really is true. That which does not kill me makes me stronger.
So my question to you is this: What medicine do you need right now? Even if it doesn’t taste good, if it’s what you need, chug-a-lug babe! This is our year of making things better.
26 thoughts on “My Sweet Poison”
Reblogged this on dreamsofmyfava and commented:
I’m a little stuck with my own blog at the moment. For whatever reason, I just don’t feel like writing. But I’ve been reading this one. Which is completely inspiring. Honest and present. So I thought I’d share.
Hmmm. What do I need right now? I came to your blog hoping for an answer to that question. Because really I do not know. I suppose it lies within. I will meditate. Hope my heart will open. Try to receive love in order to feel, and be able to participate fully in the world. Aspire to be more like you. Thank you for sharing your soul so openly. May you be well. –Debbie
I repeat many times over everything everyone else wrote here. Your writing is exquisite.
Nicole, your writing is exquisite….Even when youre in agony you can still make us smile with your wry humour.. May you get much sleep and write less until you are well…. unless writing is also easing the internal battle! Much love, Joey xoxoxo
Thank you, Nicole, for remembering we are here. Not for what you give us, but for how you can draw on our love to aid your healing. This community you have created is here for YOU. You are so worth it. Here’s a big, gentle hug.
One of my medicines is when I allow myself to feel things deeply. It doesn’t always taste good, but it is part of what makes me tick and is integral to my role on this planet right now..
WOW ….. Thank you for sharing your powerful words, journey, strength and soul, I truly wish you health & healing and the abundance of love that arises from embracing darkness.
I feel ooodles and ooodles of what every one is saying up above . Even though, I have never met you, I feel I know you and care for you . You have made me think about life in a magical way I want to blow a little magic back so you will heal …here it comes .<3 <3 <3
I wish you didn’t have to go through all this pain. I want you to be well xox
Nothing I can say to make any difference, but I do know that random well wishes somehow ease the soul, just a tiny bit, so am sending you hugs and well wishes and cool crisp views from Nepal!
This really choked me up, your pain and your strength dealing with the pain are so inspiring
Great writing Nicole, even with the ordeal you’re going through. Meditation. Yes. More of that. Or less depending on what’s needed. Meditation is my medicine.
Oh Lordy deary me – for Heaven’s sake (& yours) stay in bed and stop worrying about this blog!! – we WILL survive without you for a while – truly ruly – but YOU my dear need all the help YOU can give yourself. So I for one give you my FULL permission to stay in bed and do whatever you need to get through this and NOT sit and agonizingly try and let us know – we know now so get back to bed and stay there!!! Let us all keep vigil and hold the light and the Fort until you return PLEASE. We rejoice in your ‘resurfacing’ and not before! With MUCH (tough) love XXX
You are the gutsiest woman I know. And yes as Suzie says above…..it is truly amazing that you continue to inspire and even think of the rest of us while you are going through your own personal hell. I am not alone in wishing a big cloud of loveliness to envelope you and heal you…..the sooner the better. If their was an award for the Planetary Woman of the Year…..well, I would award it to you. Thank you for sharing your sorrow and your triumph with us Nicole….it makes us all better people. Much much love for you, Pamela
Each day you continue to inspire me, especially that you can write this blog post with so many images, truly amazing and that’s you Nicole one truly amazing healer of you and so many others. I have you on my daily prayer and meditation. Hang in there I can feel you will come out of this with so much strength and compassion, not to mention courage
All my love soul sista xx
Aaah Nicole – although I have been absent online; your pain & suffering has impacted me & you have not been far from my thoughts. What can I say – just that you are important to me & have such special talents. & powers. Just sending u huge love. & hugs xx
Thank you for sharing the raw truth of how you are feeling. It’s important. Healing yourself is the most important work of all. October. I’ll be there to celebrate with you. I’m proud of you. You know the rest! Hugs to you and to Ben as well xo
sending you oodles, buckets, streams, rivers, showers of soft LOVE filled healing light…Sweetheart U are very loved, so strong and inspirational to the maximus…much love to U & Ben…XOXO
You are so brave dearest Nicole….and such beautiful commitment to being well…..and YES, you can still write….bravo!!! Lotsa luv to you dear one…xxxxxx