I will be back and blogging as of Tuesday afternoon – I just have to get through a linear algebra midterm that I am most definitely not prepared for, and get over having the ACTUAL flu in addition to my GP symptoms. Feeling like hell – but pushing through it. Back soon! xoxo
Exhaustion and gastroparesis tend to walk hand in hand with each other. Dealing with exhaustion on a daily basis is just that – absolutely exhausting in itself. As a full time student dealing with gastroparesis, it just makes the days more difficult to complete, and makes the act of just finishing school a challenge in itself. I face monumental exhaustion on a daily basis, especially considering my school schedule this quarter – 8am classes five days a week, and a class that involves a two hour fieldwork lab every week. Needless to say, the harsh schedule is kicking my ass and the lack of calories I’m keeping down aren’t helping my situation.
I’m lucky I have the juice plus+ capsules, I swear they’re the only thing keeping me going right now, with keeping me energized and just getting some nutrition in my body. Without those, I don’t know how I’d keep responding to my 6:30am alarm every morning. Those, along with the shake that I’m planning to make in a few hours (with VEGA protein powder), are what is keeping my body going. I can never count on my stomach to keep down any sort of solid food, so I depend upon my shake and my capsules, a long with a shit ton of coffee (I probably drink an entire pot throughout the day). I know that if I started eating during the day, I’d probably feel a lot better than attempting to shove down 800+ calories in one sitting (I try to eat high calorie foods so that I don’t have to try and eat as much, thereby making me puke from overeating). However, the fact that I am absolutely terrified of eating during the day is a constant battle that I deal with in terms of eating, and most surely contributes to my exhaustion.
I think the thing I’m scared of most, however, is when I start actually having a career job. School is difficult enough, and I still have a lot of downtime where I can be resting (even though I should be studying) – but having a 9-5 job every day, in most likely a research or technician based position, is going to absolutely kill my energy. I’ve really got to get over this fear of eating while the sun is out, and quick, if I want to have success in the career world. And, clearly, cut out the puking 3-4x a week, so that I can actually not be an angry, hungry bitch during the work day.
I’ve started meditating as a way of dealing with my exhaustion and stress, and even though I find it fairly stupid, I do believe that it will do some good. Plus, I’ve heard from plenty of other GP-ers that it’s useful to deal with the condition. So meditation + juice plus capsules + lots of coffee seems to be my current method of dealing with the daily exhaustion that comes with a chronic illness. It probably isn’t the healthiest combination, but it keeps me going through the days, and keeps me focused enough on school so that I’m actually passing all my classes. I’m five weeks from graduation, and let me tell you, it can’t come soon enough.
Anxiety is one of the worst things that a person can experience on a daily basis. Fighting anxiety certainly takes a lot out of a person, as they attempt to function normally as the feelings of panic and uncertainty eat away at them. Anxiety seems to be a coupled partner with gastroparesis, as anxiety tends to increase when one has to deal with food, and social situations involving food. In short, dealing with anxiety as a side effect of gastroparesis is one of the worst complications of the illness.
I’ve honestly developed the worst anxiety, about literally everything. It goes beyond my biggest fear now, which has, for the past two years, been the fear of eating during the day (I don’t want to try to eat, go to class, and then have to throw up. I need to do some serious learning, not puking). However, now I’ve developed severe anxiety about school, friendships, and just dealing with life in general. It’s an extremely frustrating thing to attempt to manage, even with the addition of an anti-anxiety medication, which I have been on for about a year now. It’s a hard thing, putting up a front, attempting to resemble normalcy when inside, you’re falling apart with worry of failure, with anxiety about the events of the day. My days are already difficult enough – I puked twice last night – I don’t need the added anxiety that comes with my already nearly unmanageable condition.
Of course there are multiple methods that are supposed to help reduce one’s anxiety, but I happen to be a terrible listener when it comes to my doctors and my parents (my lack of eating during the day and stuffing myself at night should be evidence enough). I’m supposed to meditate, to spread things out and not pile so much work upon myself at once, to just breathe, as the damn tattoo on my wrist tells me every day. However, when the anxiety creeps up, I can’t help but let it consume me. I’m lucky that it’s a transient thing – that I don’t have to deal with the same anxieties for hours upon hours, but the fear that grips me when realizing how much schoolwork I have to do, the fear that encompasses me when I’m about to eat diner – they’re unavoidable and incredibly stress-inducing, of which there is a direct correlation between my stress level and my puking probability. I’m chipping away at my mountain of stress and anxiety the best I can, but it clearly isn’t an easy thing to do.
I’ve tried therapy a few times for it, and after the last woman I saw told me to eat more fruits and vegetables, start fasting, and “pretend like I don’t have an illness,” I’ve given up on the institution entirely. Since that bridge has burned, I’m honestly at a loss as to what I should do. I know that stress makes my gp worse, but I can’t seem to stop the stress from piling up. If anyone has any advice for me, please let me know, because I feel like I lose my mind on the daily now. How I manage to keep it together, I don’t know, but I’m lucky I have that capability, because I hate showing vulnerability. Hopefully I keep the pieces together by graduation. That’s all I’m asking for right now.