Today my pain got rather intense. I am having a lot of difficulty with my left arm due to arthritis, bad posture, age, bone spurs in my neck, tendinitis in my wrist, elbow stuff … basically all of the normal stuff for a person in their mid 40’s plus the inflammation of a chronic disease.

I pulled out my big ice pack that’s the size of a thin pillow, wrapped it around my arm, lay my head down on top, then wept. In that moment I knew I had finally cracked. I gave up. It was too much.

I have been trying an increased dose of gabapentin. 100mg in the morning & another mid day. It leaves me feeling immensely heavy. I already take 600mg every evening, & that was hard to adjust to in the beginning as well. Eventually the drowsiness & despondency became acceptable. Piling onto that during a time that is already sad seems like it could be a bad decision.

I know that I have more options available to me than being in pain or over-medicated. But for the life of me I do not know what those options are.

I have been spending my days in a garden house that my friend built me in my backyard. The walls are windows. It will serve as an official greenhouse after the pandemic, if I don’t decide to make this my full-time abode. It’s quite lovely. I have a garden that needs tending, but is beautiful to look at nonetheless. My tomato plants are over 6 ft tall. I have honeysuckle, jasmine, lavender, rhododendron, salvia & hydrangea. Kale and chard stick their leaves out proudly. The peppers are producing happily. The walls walls onions look promising. It is a good garden.

It is also profoundly lonely, which is somewhat ironic because I am absolutely surrounded by people. There is an apartment building whose second story’s view is my yard. We’ve put up a privacy panel, but still. They’re right there, & their parking lot shares a fence with my yard. The family on my west side has a gaggle of children, all of whom sound under ten. In particular there’s a girl who can’t be more than 5. She has perfected a high pitched scream that makes my skin crawl. I told myself last year that she would surely outgrow the need to spend her days screaming spontaneously. I apparently do not know much about child development.

The same family likes to crank a latin radio station. I enjoy it for the most part, but I would be a damn liar if I pretended it doesn’t get to me after a couple of hours. Don’t get me wrong; mixing traditional music with modern techno leads to some catchy tunes. As it turns out, the tuba lends itself nicely the the drop in dubstep. Accordion compliments the dancehall jams. One song even sampled a rooster’s crow. It was amusing, if nothing else.

To my east, a guy & his father. The son is roughly in my age group. He & my roommate have struck up a friendship. But both he & his father seem to be the type of cis men who do not address women in conversation voluntarily. My old habits creep in as I quietly wait on the sidelines of afternoon chats to have a turn to speak – which is inevitably to offer them vegetables. But I don’t mind. I prefer healthy boundaries, & I’m exceedingly reticent to give any of my neighbors license to engage with me. I don’t enjoy feeling obligated.

It usually makes me feel instantly violated, as well, when the father pops his head over the fence to chat with my roommate, or when he barks back at the dogs. My god, I hate that. I finally got him to stop by enlisting my roommate to talk to the son. I don’t normally care to go the roundabout way to communicate, but I know where I stand in the gender dynamic with them. I knew my roommates’ words would hold more weight. It worked.

I sit in the middle of all of this, with my oasis of a garden, quite lonesome in my fancy she-shack. Loneliness feels all the more profound & painful when you are not alone. Should anyone of them try to solicit conversation though, & my bubble of privacy completely bursts. This is agony for me. The same kid who locked me in the closet as a kid also violated my privacy in the bathroom constantly. His head would pop up in the window as I tried to go pee, & he would laugh his ass off. I think I eventually started blocking his view by pulling the shower curtain closed, but let me tell you – that kid was an utter asshole. I will never, ever forgive how his specter haunts me to this day. I loathe him with everything in me. No amount of therapy will remove that. Don’t think I haven’t tried. My bank account would be a different thing entirely if it did.

I am alone in a crowd, both yearning for company & ready to strike anyone who invades my space with the ferocity of the angriest of adders. To this, I also see no solution. I am having a covid safe friend over soon. I hope to god that it helps. I honestly don’t feel like this is safe for my mental health. To be clear, I am in therapy, I have a safety plan, I am doing all of the anti-suicide vigilant things. But it is a battle. An active, ugly, weepy, snot nosed battle.

When the pain is intense, I lose ground in that battle. But I ride the wave. I look at it as it’s own creature that needs to be birthed. If I need to rest my head on an ice pack and cry, I do that. They say the erase can be cathartic. I can only keep trying.

I feel so irrevocably stuck. But perhaps that’s good, as it seems to be the kick in the ass I needed to start writing again, eh?

Ah, life can be so cruel.


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