Saturday 10 May 2008

I remember in the first year or so of having chronic fatigue syndrome, not knowing what was wrong with me, and feeling desperate to have some sort of diagnosis. What was wrong? Did I have cancer? Was I about to die? Had I flipped over into insanity? I had begun the journey into ill health with glandular fever, but this seemed slightly different. And yet it was hard to pin down what was wrong because ... oh, how to explain this? Everything seemed kinda surreal and distant, it was hard to tune into my body to be able to decipher whether what I was experiencing was in my head or in my body. Oh, I hate not being able to explain this. The reason why I felt this way is because my HPA axis was playing up and so it was basically starting to feel to me on a deciphering level that my body had started speaking Swahili and hadn't clued me into it, and so it was very easy for me to sit down at the end of the day absolutely bone-tired exhausted, the marrow having seeped out from just having a normal really ultra low-level day, and wonder if it was all in my head. Now that's what I call creepy.

So being in that kind of state and having all this really weird stuff going on and not having any idea what the problem was, I was absolutely desperate to get a diagnosis. I needed someone to tell me that it looked like I had X because then I could go about trying to fix it. But to not know what the problem is? Well, I spend a great deal of my life these days not knowing what the problems are and growing in the ability to sit tight in God without having the answers - despite glitches in the matrix that send me into a spin, as evidenced on this blog this week and in my heart and mind on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. I think part of the ability to sit tight in God is pure necessity, knowing how little I really do know, but part of it comes from experience. I know that in that horrid, horrible experience of not knowing and of having to throw myself onto God because there was nothing else that I could do, just how good losing your life to save it feels.

I think for someone who is not a control freak with other people, I'm a bit of a control freak with myself. I think we all are. We are so desperate for diagnoses to our problems that we grab hold of them with both hands and squeeze so tight that they become distorted out of shape so our diagnosis will be inaccurate anyway, wrought out of our fear.

The words of Jesus came into my head yesterday about how it is that hearing of wars and rumours of wars should not frighten us. And it was the final seal on the haranguing I've been doing within myself this week about what I can do in the midst of all the suffering in the parts of the world that are way less lucky than we are. And I have finally come back to the conclusion that all that I can do is go on in my own life, focussing outwards on others, praying, sticking closer to the one who sticks closer than a friend - because I need to, because if I walk too far away from him I walk into my own anxiety and stress and brokenness, and there is too much of it there at the moment to walk very far away without it sending me reeling around like some kinda jack in the box on a crystal meth high. I'm so grateful that I can't walk too far. I'm grateful.

Anyway, what was I saying? That's right. Diagnostics. So getting a diagnosis of my condition was an absolute necessary step towards beginning to know what to do. But still, in another way, it was probably absolutely unnecessary except for my own mental health. Because God would have directed me to what I needed to do anyway. I am convinced that if I was of a stronger mind, or faith, or vision, I could have gone about fixing my problem purely out of following what resonated for me, or, in slightly less creepy terms, of what was speaking life to me, of sensing the Father's voice as my rudder. But of course, to do that, I would have had to have gone down roads that seemed counter-intuitive, perhaps even wrong. I certainly would have had to go against the conventional wisdom held to so strongly by the medical profession.

And this is where diagnostics fall down. The medical profession contains a great deal of corruption within it, because of the absolute power that pharamaceutical companies hold. I also believe, without a skerrick of evidence necessary, that many of the things the medical profession touts as absolute truth is probably absolutely wrong. Because that's how history has gone. A new piece of God's 78 billion piece jigsaw puzzle emerges, and the frail humans realise that while they were seeing reality in very real ways, this new piece suddenly makes this piece over here obsolete in the light of new knowledge. It's surely the heart of science to continuously discard old knowledge in the light of new evidence.

Which is great. But unfortunately, it's also at the heart of systems like the medical one to garner corruption, to be ruled by pharmaceutical companies, to give the impression that they know it all and there is no new knowledge to be had. Because that's another human trait. We don't know it all, but we can very easily be fooled into thinking that we do. Surely we must. Otherwise those six years plus at university and that massive, massive debt that's taking years to pay off for the prestige of calling ourselves general practitioners would all be worth far less, wouldn't it? It would start to feel a bit lurchy, a bit less certain. And the world is lurching so terribly, and many hearts along with it, that surely there are still pockets of safety we can take in those things that we know to be true?

Well, yes, we can. I did. My diagnosis was a great thing for me and gave me a great deal of comfort, and gave me a battle plan of sorts so that I knew what new things I needed to try in order to get well. But for all I know, I could have sat there and done nothing and got well anyway. Because I'm not into controlling other people, but man, I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to myself. And I am really only starting to realise the extent that that runs down. (Which I guess is cool, 'cause it probably means it's gonna get itself blown to smithereens sometime soon, or at least part of itself. Cool).

So diagnostics. Even knowing things, and getting a frame of reference, we still have to hang on lightly to knowing them, because diagnoses change. I have to keep reminding myself now that I am well, because I suspect that part of me, the part that hung on so desperately to a diagnosis, is maybe finding it hard to let go of that diagnosis, even though I know now that I am well. I'm not sure if that makes much sense, or even how much of it is true or informing me, if at all, but I think it's probably got something to do with the reason why Jesus asked the dude by the pool if he wanted to be well. We get so stuck in our diagnoses of ourselves that sometimes we can't see the fields ahead.

If I had framed my life so tightly when my marriage broke down that this was a marriage breakup and when that happens X happens and then Y happens and then Z happens, then I wouldn't have been able to tune into the (I believe) God-infused, quite amazing process of two broken-down people with a great deal of love and respect for each other being able to go through such a painful, awful, horrid situation for both of us, and coming out the other end with a friendship that I value so highly that it's almost priceless.

Hold on loosely to everything, except God. This is my mantra for myself.

My glands are standing up on the side of my neck because it's overcast and I still don't really understand what that's all about, but anyway, Happy Saturday, bloggers :)

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