January 21st: I Don't Have Mono

It was a Saturday.

According to my schedule I’d need to be on the bike by 10:30, ride for two hours, and then get ready for work. I got up at 8 and read my book until ten. My normal self would be up and at it, but I’d been waking up with less and less energy each day. I walked through the garage, past my bike, and thought; “Fuck it. I won’t even bother trying to ride today.”

Upstairs I did the dishes for all five of us (myself, Bryanna, my sister, her boyfriend, my dad). I was the only one awake, apart from Bryanna who was at work. It bothered me that I was the only one who did them without being asked, but I was also grateful that there was something I could do. I convinced myself that it was more important to clean up after everyone than it was to ride. I started to vacuum as well, but began to feel panicked. I was suddenly very anxious. I left the vacuum in the kitchen with the intention of picking it up later and carrying on. I went downstairs to calm down and breathe.

I read my book for another hour and then went upstairs to grab some food. My sister and her boyfriend were now up, and they began to tell me off for leaving the vacuum out. I tried to explain that I hadn’t intended on leaving it there and that I hadn’t finished vacuuming. I couldn’t handle this minor altercation. I could no longer hold back the months of pent-up frustration and emotion. I tried to fight back tears, but I lost it. Everything I had been holding inside for months had finally become bigger than me. I overflowed. The beast that I had been hiding became too great to be contained within.

The beast made an awful noise. Not a scream and not a yell. Perhaps a groaning plea for help. As I made the noise I lurched forward and slammed the fridge. My vision became blurred and I felt dizzy. I walked into a wall and fell to the floor. I was crying and fighting for breath. My dad came in and sunk down. He held me, and asked me what was going on.

“I’m just so fucking depressed!” was all I managed as I lay on the floor hyperventilating. I got up and went outside to be alone.

I had to be at work in less than an hour. Never in my life had I missed a day of work, (or of school for that matter), for being sick. I felt that I had no choice but to call-in sick. I asked every colleague to take my shift. Of course, it was very short notice and no one could. I walked to work, crying all the way.

I arrived at my cafe and went straight to the basement, sat down on a storage container, and continued to cry. I had suddenly lost my ability to hide my emotions. Up until that point I’d done so well at keeping it all to myself. Eventually, after being handed a paper bag when I started to hyperventilate for the second time, I was sent home.

I’ve heard a million times that admitting you have a problem is the first step toward getting better. For the first time in my life, I had told someone that I was depressed. I had never even admitted it to myself. But, I did not feel that the world’s weight had been lifted. I felt, instead, that I had assumed the entire weight of the universe. I was Depressed. Not just dealing with a passing sadness. It was bigger. Heavier. Beastly.  

Despite me giving the Beast publicity, I still didn’t really want anyone to know.

Until starting this blog, I’ve just told people that I keep getting sick. My best explanation, mono, sounded better. More manageable. Almost respectable. No further explanation would be required. So to those who think I have mono – no - this is what I’m working through. And writing about it has become a part of my ascent from the hole. A big hole with scarily steep sides. I was still digging on January 21st. Then, I think, my descent slowed.

Ascending now. Drafting or pulling. This is my Alpe D’huez. This is my journey and I’d love for you to Ride With Me.

Adventures are healing. This old pipe was a cool find, and a positive memory from a dark time.

Adventures are healing. This old pipe was a cool find, and a positive memory from a dark time.

Bryanna has been the brightest light during my darkest times. (I also love waterfalls).

Bryanna has been the brightest light during my darkest times. (I also love waterfalls).