I wish I could say that since starting the steroids a week ago I’ve been imbued with superhuman strength, stamina, and energy. I wish I could say I’ve gained ten pounds from the constant and all-consuming desire to eat. I wish I could say my veins feel electric currents flowing through them at a cellular level, and like Frankenstein’s monster, I live again. I wish I could feel mania, spreading like a warm hug, caress my brain.
I am not experiencing a dramatic change in my physiology. It’s more a subtle shift than a full 180. I am walking uphill, instead of climbing.
I felt the shift dramatically on my last round of steroids. The pills and injections made it feel like I had reached up to heaven and grabbed Thor’s hammer to receive the full force of divine lightning. I didn’t feel mortal. Now for a few hours each morning after I take the pills I feel a slight boost, but it dissipates. I’m probably on only about a fourth of the dose I received last year.
When I feel the faint breath of energy stirring within, my fist impulse is to break out an ambitious plan of Things To Do, and then inevitably run out of steam halfway through, accomplishing nothing fully but creating more of a mess than I had to start with. I’ve set myself up for failure before and I’m very much trying to stop. When I feel this energy I am trying to let it run through me carefully, taking on activities at a measured pace. Doing the dishes, making snacks, folding laundry–slowly, slowly. Those goals are lofty enough for now. I can gain satisfaction from completing a simple task that I can do well.
I am adjusting the yard stick I use for measuring success.
I keep trying to retrain my thoughts around the mantra of focusing on what I can do instead of dwelling on the things I can’t. Some days it’s quite easy for me, while on others, it’s impossible. There’s rarely a middle ground. I think of my friend Stefanie, and all the things she’s gone through and all the slights from life she’s endured. No one has more reason to be bitter and angry, and while she no doubt has those feelings from time to time, she does not let them define her. They are not at the core of who she is. I think about her when I’m stuck in a rage spiral and she helps me find my way out.
I want to spend my summer taking my kids to swimming lessons and reading class and the library. I want to plan activities and make crafts and have adventures together. One thing at a time. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breath in. Breath out. Disappointment with life, out. Recognizing ability, in. This has gotten us through the hard times before–the surgeries, the bad news, the layoffs and unemployment. It got us through then. It will get us through now.