The Stress is my parasite, slowly consuming my body and mind.
My mind has become the victim of a hostile take over. The Stress crowds my thoughts. Just last week It killed off my concentration. My resting heart rate has bounced from 75 to 90– and caffeine is not to blame. These days I barely drink caffeine because the Stress keeps me wide awake.
The Parasite, the Stress, consumes my body. Down 25 lbs since January, the last five have slipped off just these last two weeks. The Stress eats my appetite, kills my desire for food, and sabotages my ability to choke down even my unhealthiest favorites. Now I’m 10 lbs skinnier than I was during the height of my drug bender days, those days when I’d go weekends without eating, subsisting on drugs, juice, and the occasional skittle.
Skinny, this kind of skinny, does not look good on me. Naturally tall and thin, I didn’t need to lose those 25 lbs. Now I imagine I look like a spider– long spindly limbs attached to an increasingly smaller body. My angular nose has sharpened and narrowed. My cheekbones, never prominent in the past, have started to jut out and add to the sharpness of my face. My pale skin is taking on an unhealthy yellow undertone and the circles under my eyes are only getting darker.
No one likes to hear someone complain about getting skinny. But skinny can be ugly. A flat stomach’s not so glorious when it’s accented by bony, protruding hip bones. Boobs start to shrink and the butt deflates. The clothes that were flattering start to hang off, baggy and ugly. A healthy weight is beautiful. But no one looks better when they drop below that line and sink into the stagnant and shallow waters of the Underweight.
The Stress is an unwelcome and voracious parasite. It slowly started feeding on me the moment I got the letter from the Bar Committee in late August. It got bigger, uglier and gained power when they told me I had to do 90 days in rehab. But It burst into Its current ugly, blood heavy weight when I learned that my insurance wouldn’t cover a single part of rehab’s overwhelming $40,000 price tag.
Already terrified that I have to spend 90 days locked away, the unbearable financial burden has dragged me to the edge of a cliff. I teeter uneasily as I vainly strive for balance.
My resources are tapped and escape seems nearly impossible. Sober and staying that way, I can’t use my old crutches to escape from the Stress. But the weight of the Stress strains my sobriety and pushes me towards relapse. This ugly Parasite doesn’t want me to succeed. Greedily, It feeds on my mind and body. It laughs as I waste away and is ready to torture a new host.
But the Stress hasn’t killed me, not yet. I’m slowing trying to poison it, to get it off my back and out of my system. I’m fighting take back control. The damage It’s done is not irreparable: my body can be taken back and my mind can be reclaimed. I haven’t let It claim my sleep. Trazadone is my armor, protecting me from the final ravages of the Stress– the deprivation of sleep that so often pulls you into madness. The Stress is no match for Trazadone and every hour I spend asleep is an hour I get stronger. The Stress is bending me but I refuse to break, to surrender to Its power, to lose all that I’ve fought for.
Soon I’ll be doing battle with the Bar, and a victory in that war would surely kill the parasitic Stress. I’ve got to fight for that moment– plugging my ears to the seductive call of the drugs, wrestling my mind from the Stress and concentrating on the moment I’m in, forcing down food to keep from wasting away, and allowing Trazadone to fight the battle for sleep for me.
I may be teetering on the edge but I will not fall. I’ll fight for the balance that will weaken the Stress. I’ll reclaim my body and my mind. I’ll prepare for the fight that’s coming. And I’ll throw that Parasite, the Stress, from my back. Because this is what I have to do, if I want to survive.
And that’s why I’m fighting, to survive.