Head Case

I have a nightly habit of writing in a journal whatever I’m feeling at that time. It doubles as a process to pen through the stuff and write some kind of resolution to what’s going on in my head.  Sometimes I read through old entries and my thoughts sound poetic. Mostly they are just embarrassing and after I cringe and put the notebook away, I vow to never go back and reread entries. From July 14, 2014, in scrawling green pen, is this question:

Why don’t I feel well?

The words are printed in bold, whiny letters and the ink bleeds through to the next page. When I run my finger over the lines, I feel it dented three pages deep.  I remember the day I wrote it because I remember ripping the drawer from its track to take the pen out.  I didn’t have the answer.

There are some 50 million Americans with autoimmune diseases and most of them begin their illness in the dark, fumbling through protracted bouts of insomnia or depression or nerve pain, until finally, a lab comes back or an infection lasts too long and a diagnosis is pronounced.

The early signs of autoimmune disease are more subjective – they can be described as an overheated 30 year-old lamenting to her journal that she doesn’t feel well, plagued by obscure joint aches. Sometimes it’s nothing you can SEE. It’s nothing you can measure. You’re presenting yourself as a classification of person where there’s vaguely something wrong with you but you’re also kind of OK. Like Nicholas Cage.

(Sorry, Nicholas Cage).

I don’t know what happens next.

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