Lately, I’ve been having a lot of stomachaches.
Actually, no. Correction – I’ve been suffering with a single constant, grumbling, not-quite-there-but-still-definitely-there stomachache. We’re talking weeks now. It’s just there, roughly a 2/10 on the pain scale – a 3 after a particularly big meal – but there nonetheless.
It flares up with food, sure. To begin with it was with certain types of food: avocado is a big no-no, has been for a year or so; white pasta in big, stodgy bowlfuls drenched in creamy sauce or gloopy cheese tends to set things off. Big meals in general leave a heaviness in my stomach that I can’t actively shift.
Something has happened along the way though, as of late. Now, I can’t really eat anything without feeling the weird purring that I’ve become accustomed to. My appetite is still absolutely in tact – my stomach is appalling, rumbling every few hours – but since this nagging stomachache has settled in and nested, I’ve been less inclined to appease my appetite.
I still do, though. I’ve spent the past few weeks eating reluctantly, only enjoying my meals for the time I’m actually eating them. I hate the aftermath. It’s uncomfortable. I’m not not eating, despite all this. I’m powering through.
As much as this is all what my day-to-day life literally is at the moment – I had my dinner an hour and a half ago and my stomach is still hurting – I suppose it reads as a bit of a metaphor pertaining to my state of mind, my depression and the place I’m at currently. My depression was triggered, or kick-started, by my Dad’s cancer diagnosis. Slowly it’s gathered speed, becoming all-consumed by my Mum’s drinking, a lot of my friends being far away, my professional life not being the post-graduate dream I’d secretly hoped it would be and my self-esteem being in the gutter. Every aspect of my life is tinged by this not-quite-rightness.
Yesterday was World Mental Health Awareness Day. I was delighted to see the subject discussed so openly and frankly on social media. I feel so fortunate to be going through such a seemingly hopeless time of my life surrounded by the positive reinforcement and support of others, be they friends or strangers. It’s refreshing to know and read that, while there’s so many people fighting a personal battle like I am with myself, the way I’m feeling is a perfectly valid illness, not merely ‘who I am now’, and needs to be treated as such.
You wouldn’t leave a chronic stomachache in the hope that it would eventually just go away, would you?
Lately, I’ve been having a lot of stomachaches. I’m also depressed. I won’t be forever.
(on the stomachaches front it could be IBS which may actually be with me forever but that is *not* the point here)
(until next time etc.)