Something happened to me at acupuncture today.

I realized I’m doing the thing I do: going backwards when I’m starting to head forwards. Goddammit.

So, I’ve been going to acupuncture for about 4 months now. It has helped my double vision. It has given me insight into what I need help with, what I need to pay attention to- my blood, my digestion. It gives me a solid hour of meditation that is usually useful. A month ago I was in a good healing place. I realized today that I’m on a steady slow backslide.

I wasn’t happy with my earlier post- but it was about things I’ve been thinking about and I have been pressuring myself to get a post out there. It makes sense that it was about slowness, and about my body, but the part that feels bent is that I can feel myself sliding into old comfy behaviors not after I’m way back into it but as they are starting. And it feels good and sucky and oh. Awful.

It’s hard for me not to sugar coat everything. It’s hard for me to be honest about the way I feel because I don’t want to seem weak or even worse to burden anyone. This always puts the world on my own shoulders- me lugging all my own heavies around afraid to ask for help. Afraid everyone will think I’m stupid. Or that I’m a fake. Or that I’m lying to get attention, or that there are people with actual real problems in the world and I should just be quiet, please.

My acupuncturist is insightful and quietly curious. He put all my needles in and asked me a question before he dimmed the lights and started the chime-y music. “What’s different now?”

I almost started weeping right then and there- but y’all. I just couldn’t. Instead I said the thoughtful thing instead of the feeling thing. I said I thought I wasn’t going all in- that I was backing out at the last minute like I’m prone to do. We talked for a minute about slowly bankrupting yourself, and then about how I’m around people who drink a lot a lot of the time. He said, “That’s difficult.” in a statement-y way that comforted me. I mentioned that I was worried now that my husband is out of school and looking for a job. He said, “That’s hard too. Not to mention kids, and life, and marriage. Tell me if you need anything.” Then he left me on my own.

My dear friend Sherry wrote this amazing post that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. It was so honest, and upfront, and truthful. It made me start to look at how I’m really feeling, and then today I just had to face all the things I’m afraid of and let it be hard.

I am dying for a sober/recovery outlet. I have got to get myself into another group, or find a good meeting to go to. I need some more like minded people around me. I won this giant bottle of wine at work and not one person thought it was a strange thing to give it to me. Um…hello? I am an alcoholic. Holding out a giant bottle of fabulous wine is not the best prize for me. I do not have enough people in my life that understand where I’m coming from. At all. Even my husband is insensitive to what it feels like for me to not be able to drink, for what it feels like for me to serve wine and watch everyone I work with drink every night I work. People still come up to me with terrific wine and best intentions. “Taste this?” they say. Then “OH, I forgot. Want a smell?” Being around half drunk people at work is annoying. My husband is working at the restaurant again while he job hunts. Staying after work for a glass or two of wine and to “hang out”. It feels like because  I am successfully sober he has forgotten that it is actually still a struggle, and he feels resentful when I say it bugs me when he drinks.

I feel like no one notices or cares about all the sacrifices I make to stay on top of my health. I don’t drink alcohol or use any other substances to take the edge off. I handle all my shit just as me: no prescriptions illegal or otherwise. I’m still working two jobs. I’m still handling the bulk of the housework, caring for the dogs, and sharing care of the kids. Plus dealing with both sets of our parents when it comes to those logistics. The kids’ social lives, plans for the summer. What kind of vacation we want to take. Can we afford it. I have to quit caffeine again because as un-fucking-fair as it is I can’t have it if I want to get good sleep. Not to mention the fact that I can’t eat pretty much everything else because it aggravates my MS-ish symptoms. So no dairy, or gluten. No grains, no beans. No sugar. But then I get bratty and eat a biscuit. Or we get a fire pit and make s’mores and I just want to be a regular mom that can eat a fucking toasted marshmallow on a graham cracker for gods sake. Or I have all these strong things come up for me at acupuncture and while I really just need a good cry and some support I instead have to pick the kids up at after school and make dinner on my own because my husband is at work and I don’t see any other support except to hold on tight and write when I get the kids to bed. My youngest has been in twice already to be scared of a knocking noise and to remind me that he finally has a loose tooth.

And although I love him to pieces I just want to be left alone. I feel like there’s the part of me that needs to just cry and pout and shout and wallow and heal and then there’s the me that I am in my day to day life: holding on for one more day. Being all I can for all my people and keeping it together so no one can say I can’t handle it or see that I’m kind of falling apart. I sometimes fantasize about having a nervous breakdown or almost hope that I do have MS or something else definable wrong with me so that people with be more tender with me, that people might recognize that even though I might make it look easy I am fighting mightily under here and then they could offer me a blanket and a break. That instead of my mother saying things like, “Oh, you’re so worn out, so stressed out.” or “Yeah, you’re handling it” with that unsaid “not so gracefully” or “I’m not going to worry about the MS thing until it’s actually true” that she might call me and say “I know you’re worried. It’s OK. You should worry some. That could be scary. I’m here for you.”

Lying there in the dim and the chime at acupuncture I thought about how I need to take things more seriously to be taken seriously. That I want to and need to be all in. Then I came home and ate my proper dinner, and then promptly ate half of the kids’ unfinished chicken and cheese quesadillas and almost a whole bar of chocolate telling myself the whole time that I might as well since the liverwurst I had earlier had a little surprise dairy in it and so whatever, I’ll get serious again tomorrow. And then I broke off a big piece of easter bunny and ate that. I’ve been doing so well for 34 days now, and today I finally broke and ate all the feelings that came up.

We all struggle. And here I am: struggling. I’m tired of doing it alone. I’m tired of always being fine and never being weak. I’m afraid. What if I have a disease that could put me in a wheelchair? And why won’t any of my people feel afraid with me? Why do they all blow it off like it’s nothing when it may well be nothing but I need someone to sympathize with my fears that it could be something?

I feel a load better just writing all that out. I’m so grateful to have this blog, and people out there to read it, who give me kindness and support- it helped to know while I was writing this that I would be heard. That I am never alone in the world. Thank you.