I am alive

Sometimes, I wonder about my life.  My life has been so sad.  I have endured so much, probably more than most people have had to deal with in their lifetimes.  I am 53 years old now.  Sometimes, this feels very, very old.  So much has happened.  It seems like there is so little left and nothing to look forward to.  It feels like I might not have much time left.  But maybe I’m wrong about this.  No one can predict the future.  No one.  Well, maybe I’m wrong about that, too.

I have been ill for 31 years.  I can’t recall a single moment that I have had healthy thinking about food since age 22, and I can count the number of years that I have eaten “normally” on a couple of fingers, probably just a fist when I think about it.  I have been hospitalized for my psychiatric condition over 50 times.  I have been legally disabled for my psychiatric condition since age 26.  I have taken a multitude of medications, all of which have side effects.  I currently am experiencing the permanent condition of tardive dyskinesia.  I lost all my friends very abruptly and dramatically more than once during the course of my illness.  I was abused and neglected by my mother.  I was force-fed by my mother while both parents held me in a chair.  I was abused and enslaved by a classmate and trapped in that relationship for four years in high school.  My brothers, at this time, have little to do with me.  I was raped in 2008 by a neighbor and also at the age of 18 by my boss.  I was raped at 21.  I was widowed at the age of 45.  I attempted suicide twice.  I am deeply depressed.  I am currently suffering a relapse of anorexia nervosa and see no end to it.  I am experiencing a multitude of medical conditions that are the consequences of having eating disorders for a long, long time.  I woke up this morning wishing I was dead.

But:

I am a survivor.  After 18 years of mental illness, I earned my bachelor’s degree.   I earned my master’s degree, too.  I wrote two memoirs.  One of them was accepted for publication, came out as an e-book, and will be coming out as a paperback soon.  I wrote two novels.  I wrote a collection of short works, published on-demand.  I wrote a journal I plan to prepare for publication.  I am a self-taught, competent computer user.  I write daily in my blog, the currently has over 100 regular visitors (as far as I can estimate).  I am a self-taught knitter, design my own patterns, and have knitted 17, maybe more, dog sweaters for my dog and matching hats for myself.  I can run, and ran a 5k race at the age of 52.  I can walk long distances.  I once walked the Boston Marathon route for the Jimmy Fund.  I am a two-time National Novel Writing Month winner.  As a young person, I performed in prominent roles in musical plays.  I was a whiz at linguistics, and won the linguistics contest for my elementary school when I was in the fourth grade.  My intelligence is close to genius level.  I played lead trumpet in many bands and orchestras.   I had a musical composition of mine performed by an orchestra.  I was a live-in nanny at the age of 20, taking care of seven children.  I hitch-hiked around the country with my dog in 1979.  I once rode my bike 100 miles.  I quit smoking.  I took up stand-up comedy, and performed in a bar.  I had a wonderful love relationship with a man for 17 years, and we were only separated by his death in 2003.  I am currently in a relationship with a terrific, loving man.  I have a wonderful dog, a Schnoodle, and have raised four others.  I. brush. Puzzle’s. teeth. twice. a. day.

I have experienced joy.

And:

I am still alive.

That is, essentially, what matters.

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