Killing the Zombie

I have a major problem with motivation.

I can motivate and inspire others with the best of them, or so I’m told. I love doing it, providing that spark for another person is rewarding and feels fantastic.

My biggest problem is motivating myself. I used to be a person who had an idea and had the drive and energy to implement it and not stop until it was the best I could make it. Now, not so much.

I have excuses, legitimate ones, but they are still excuses. I lost my mind and heart for a long time. I am just now, well in the last year, striving to regain them. It’s hard to do.

Let me explain. Around February 2001 I started experiencing a lot of pain in my legs, and as I was in Basic training it was expected. But, the pain was different from any other I had ever in my life dealt with. I hurt all over but the pain in my legs was different. So long story short, a year later I received a much contested Medical Discharge after being warned by a Orthopedist that if I continued to try to train I would end up in a wheelchair, but they weren’t sure why. Their tentative diagnosis, permanent soft tissue damage.

Yeah, not very helpful, huh. So eight years and much research and tested later, I finally have a diagnosis, Fibromyalgia. I thought , Wow, now I can get to work on fixing myself. Wrong, that was just the beginning of my decline, the entire 8 years of suffering and searching meant nothing. I guess I should mention that at the time of my diagnosis I was homeless and living in a Veterans Transitional Facility.

I’m going to pause in the story to tell all of you that as broken as the system is, the VA is doing their damnedest for their homeless Vets, But they need all the support you can give them. If you can, give to a Veterans association in your area. If your worried about charlatan charities contact your closest VA homeless office for info on credible Charities. Just call the Main line for a VA hospital and ask for the homeless office.

Alright back to the story. If Fibromyalgia had been my only problem, then things may have resolved fairly quickly. My biggest obstacle turned out to be a traitorous mind. It’s broken. okay, not broken, but not working right is close enough. I have Bipolar Disorder 1. We went the usual treatment route of therapy and meds. I don’t do well with therapy, I just can’t open up and none of the people I saw clicked with me. Their supposed caring seemed phony to me. I could have been wrong and the VA therapist are overworked and underpaid but you have to mesh well for it to work. Then there were the meds. At the time I really needed them. The side effects thought,  after 2 years of the meds, I had no will to live. I was in all but physiological sense, a corpse, severely malnourished, morbidly obese, dirty. I was a zombie with no motivation to eat brains. On top of that, I was in a lot of pain, the meds for the Fibromyalgia they had me on, no longer worked even at the highest dosage. There was nothing else they could do, and I didn’t care.

So, I started an experiment. I stopped the meds, all of them. Now, it is my right to do this, but I did it the wrong way. I stopped going to the doctors and I told no one I was off the meds. Six months later I finally started to care about myself and take care of myself. I started a diet with fruits and veggies, walking occasionally, but getting some exercise. Still telling no one. Then I made a very fateful decision, I joined an online writers group. It gave me a purpose to my days. I finally told my social worker about my no meds experiment and we discussed it. No meds is working for me but there are consequences and I in no way condone anyone to take the same route I did. Just because it is working for me now does not mean it will work for anyone else or even myself forever. I have to constantly self monitor; every thought, emotion, impulse and action of every moment of every day. I have a supply of meds on hand for emergencies and 4 plans of actions if and when I have either a manic or depressive episode. I have no doubt that a some point I will have to use one of those plans. I have had to use the meds. Every moment I am alive and feeling alive is a victory and even the pain is validation that I killed the zombie.

For me for now, keeping the Zombie dead is my motivation. I hope soon my motivation will be a success at living life after the Zombie. I’m getting there but it a hard march up a slippery hill.

What motivates you?

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4 thoughts on “Killing the Zombie

  1. laurielye says:

    Hi Jenna!

    You’ve had quite the journey with this chronic pain. Years ago I thought I had fybro, but I recently found out that mine is caused by Lyme disease. I have some terrible days but I do my best to stay motivated by coming up with ways to feel the best I can and sharing them with the world.

    Fatigue is a major issue for me and it is the biggest threat to my motivation. I sort of have to accept my “zombie” at times when the physical and mental impact of it is too much. I just know that Zombie isn’t ME, it’s the Lyme.

    I look forward to reading more from you!

    Best,
    Lauren

    • jennasands says:

      Yeah I have those days to, the Zombie I battled then was the complete deadening of emotion from my Bipolar meds, anti psychotics and mood stabilizers are designed to level your emotional range, to eliminate the highs and lows of mania and depression. They completely wiped my personality, it was like they stole my soul.

      While they worked the ones for the Fibro did great, but I quickly built a tolerance. So now I do without and some days are hell but I know I’m alive and that makes it easier to deal.

      I’m so glad they were able to find an actual underlying condition for you, instead of the all inclusive catch all of Fibromyalgia.

      I hope you wrangle and contain your Zombie. Some times you just have to live with them and sometimes you can temporarily kill them off, but like any good Zombie they come back. It’s good to have people who understand.

  2. I love this piece Great job!!!

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