Please note: Mention of drug addiction and experiences with addiction withdrawal are discussed briefly in this post, along with pain and recovery of heart surgery. Read at your own discretion. Thank you.
The last time I popped in for a life update was at the end of September, where I chatted about having Survivor’s Guilt, so to speak, and how I wanted to make the most of my life because of that. The vast majority of that write-up also went over how much of a struggle recovery had been for me, mostly on an emotional and mental level. Well, today I wanted to give y’all a new update on recovery and discuss some plans for the near future, both for BiblioNyan and for the Yon Nyan (me!).
It’s been six and a half weeks since my open-heart surgery. When I first came home from the hospital, I was in excruciating physical pain, which I suppose is understandable when one considers that my sternum was literally cracked open. I also ended up having a collapsed lung. My discomfort was further exasperated when my prescription pain medication stopped working (I developed a terrible allergy to it, which I strongly believe was Boss Man intervening to prevent me from becoming addicted to them; I have a history with narcotics addictions). It sucked, to say the absolute least. I was not a fun person to be around in every sense of the phrase.
These last six weeks have probably been the longest fucking weeks of my entire life. There were many nights where I woke up sobbing from pain and frustration, wondering if it would ever stop hurting or if this was going to be my life moving forward. I had read online that sometimes the pain never truly goes away, especially if the metal wires holding the sternum in place aren’t removed. Many, many people live with excruciating soreness in their day-to-day until they undergo a procedure to have the wires removed. Suffice to say that I was pretty much scared out of my wits that this would happen to me. Then about a week before my birthday, the funniest thing happened. Even though I woke up sore, the pain was gone within a few hours of my freshening up, and I felt the closest to normal that I had all year long, especially since the operation.
Every day since that unbelievable morning, I started to take detailed notes of how much my body was hurting, where it was hurting, what traits made it worse or better. I went over everything last night and afterwards, I sat in my computer chair feeing stunned.
Recovery was working, finally.
Of course six weeks is the standard period of time for things to start mending, more so if one heals rather quickly, which I suppose I do to an extent. The movement starts to become fluid and more intuitive rather than stiff and awkward. Every time I inhaled deeply, I didn’t receive sharp, shooting aches down the centre of my body or in my right lung (the one that collapsed). I could pick up a gallon of milk slowly. Only for very short periods of time, but I could I do it, dammit!
What was medically considered to the norm, was a mind-blowing achievement for me and one of the best birthday presents I could ask for. I even began driving again. Granted this is one activity I am taking very slowly and only when I can have someone accompany me, but it’s another huge step towards getting the physical parts of my life back in order and it feels fucking fantastic. Turns out, the suffering and second-guessing of whether the surgery was a good choice or not was my paranoia and Depression working overtime.
I’m glad I survived the hurdle. I never would’ve been able to do it without Madame Gabs. She was always there to hug me, or dry my tears, or even give me the swift kick in the arse (metaphorically) that I needed to keep on going and to stop thinking about the worst-case scenarios. So, thank you, Madame Gabs. However, now that the physical shite is all smooth and free, there’s the mental gig, which is a different story altogether.
Before I had the procedure, I was a workaholic who was dead-focused on becoming a published author. I had survived the trauma of a terrible relationship, which I spent five years recovering from because it was just that fucked-up. I knew who I was as a person. I knew who I wanted to be and who I never ever wanted to become. My independence and intellectual freedom meant everything to me. Yet, once I came home and was on bedrest, everything that I worked so damn hard for completely fucking evaporated. My mind was an utterly exasperating space of emptiness. This is something I’m still very much battling.
When someone is used to working all the time, particularly as a source of self-care from depression, anxiety, and a few other things, not being able to do so can be a horrifying thing. I would equate it to being an addict who has gotten so comfortable and safe with their indulgences that once the stash is totally gone, one is left scrounging for any crumb to satisfy the urges and cravings left behind. It can be so unfathomably exhausting yet maddening. There comes a point where one starts believing that they can never survive without their fix. One more hit to make it through one more tomorrow, no matter the cost. Even if the reality is different, deep down in our bones, that sense of freedom that comes from getting clean is nothing but an illusion.
That’s how I felt with not being able to work. Or not being able to do much of anything except laying around and “focusing” on healing. It was like a piece of me was dying bit-by-bit every single day and it was mentally consuming me. That’s why whenever I tried to think about the future that would arrive after recovery, I couldn’t. It was an illusion that just mocked me over and over again. Things had gotten so bad for me that I even had a few physical setbacks.
Other readings that I did while on bedrest included stories about how people who had expected to die relatively soon when given an opportunity to live much longer lives, had completely fallen apart. The prospect of having to live another ten to twenty years when they ever only expected a handful of months left them with a debilitating sense of loss and confusion when faced with an actual future. This was precisely what was happening to me.
When my heart gave out in October 2019, I should’ve died. A humongous part of me was counting down the tick-tocks on every clock in my house, just waiting for the day when I wouldn’t wake up again. When my surgeon told me that he was surprised I had lived so long, that I should’ve died years ago given the nature of my disease, something inside of me just… died, ironically. He told me that I had a full life ahead of me. My brain shut down in that moment and I have been in one hell of a mental battle ever since.
What the fuck does he mean “full life?”
So, yeah. Mentally, I’m not doing as good as I am physically. In many ways, I have to re-shape myself and re-build myself again. The identity(ies) I worked so hard in sculpting these last few years have been slammed with a baseball bat and the damages are irrevocable. I tried for weeks to fix it; looking into my recent past (2015+); sorting through what works and what didn’t; all that fuckin shite. Nothing has worked. But maybe that’s my problem.
I don’t talk about it much in social platforms, but I am pretty religious. By religious, I mean that I strongly believe in Boss Man and I believe that a person can communicate with Them and They communicate with us, just not in the convenient ways we may want. After contemplating all of this nonsense (being lost and stuff), I realised that I’m probably not supposed to use the past to figure out my future. All I’ve been hearing from anyone is “brand-new life,” “fresh start,” etc. etc. I strongly believe Boss Man is smacking me in the face with a harsh dose of reality that I either couldn’t accept or didn’t want to.
I hated my past. Even after spending all those years working on overcoming every fucked-up thing that my past did to me in the present, I still hated the sonofabitch. All I’ve ever wanted on some level or another was peace from it. I think this is finally it. Not being able to reconnect with the person I was pre-op is Boss Man’s way of saying, “You wanted a fresh, clean slate with nothing pinning you down or holding you back, you got it my foul-mouthed friend.”
Who knew that having peace would be the same as walking around a never-ending dark forest full of ominous doors with the word “OPPORTUNITY” written on them. Figuring out which ones shall take you to the shedu-inhabited rainbows versus the ones that shall rip you back down to the depths of Hell is the hard part. Then again, that’s basically what life is, isn’t it? A series of choices and decisions that shall inevitably help us to become an individual we can either be proud of, or wish never existed. Since I’ve already done the latter, might as well try my hand at the former, insha’Allah.
So, yeah. Psychological recovery? Whatta fucking ride, bruh. And it ain’t over yet…
So, What’s Next?
What comes next now that recovery is reaching a point where it shall be dust in the rear-view mirror? Well, I’ve written out a tentative list of goals that I want to slowly work on as I mould myself into the person that I want to be (again). Most of this is probably going to be trial-and-error as well as baby-steps into other aspirations later down the line. I’ve given a lot of thought and consideration into these specific items and I feel that they will help me the most in learning how to live again while also trying to figure out what I want from my future. Goddamn, it feels strange to say that. Anyway, I’ve broken them up into Personal, Blogging, and Professional categories.
My personal goals are rather straightforward and are qualities that will help me with legitimately every aspect of life, not just in my private existence. They are to become a workaholic again because working my arse off brings me an incredible amount of joy and validation; to no longer pretend to be something or someone that I am not merely to appease others around me, more so if they are toxic individuals; and to have more gumption in starting conversations with folx that I think would make cool chums, even if I am an awkward-as-fuck potato of sorts.
My blogging goals are ones I have had before at various points throughout the years since I started this gig. I think they are supremely vital now more than ever because they will help me to become more disciplined both in and outside of blogging, and they shall also help me to face my fears in terms of creative adventurousness. Anyhoo, my blogging goals for the near future are to create a relatively strict schedule and to stick with it (for both BiblioNyan and Bookstagram); to have a dedicated day twice a month were I just catch up with followers and fellow bloggers so that this space won’t be so impersonal; to not be afraid of creating posts that are different and maybe even eccentric when compared to others, no matter how silly or strange they may seem; to try and do collabs/guest posts with other bloggers; (2021’s goal) blog every single day for at least one year.
The last set of goals that I have for the near future are professional ones. When I say professional, I mean specifically for writing and publishing. I already know that one of these is going to sound supremely silly to some folx, but I’ll explain the thought process behind it after I share it. My professional goals include writing one short story every two weeks; keeping a journal of every writing idea that pops into my mind no matter how goofy, outrageous, or idiotic they may seem at the time; keep submitting to writing competitions; keep querying agents; reaching out to authors for interviews (this is under professionalism versus blogging because it would be a form of networking in the industry); and, lastly, write one fan fiction chapter per week. That last one I know sounds kind of ridiculous, but I have learned from many years of writing and then getting burned out (or even discouraged) that having an outlet for some easy, laid-back fun in one’s chosen art can be a huge stress relief. It can also help to break through writing ruts with WIPs (works in progress) while also being a way to exercise the creative muscles. I’m also hoping it will be good practise on finishing stories as I’m not the greatest at writing endings… yet. I figured it’s worth a shot at the very least. If it doesn’t work out, then at least I tried something a bit new and different than normal.
Wrapping It Up
My too-long prattling ends here. As you can see, recovery is still one hell of a ride. Even though I am having difficulties with certain aspects of it, overall, it’s going quite marvellously, and I am grateful for the fact that more complications have not arisen. While my mental state is a bit untidy, I think in the long run it will be good for me. Sometimes we need to make a huge arse mess to find the things that we are missing or have been searching for. It’s putting everything back on the shelves that can be exhausting. Even then, though, things can look better than they ever have once it’s all done.
I am happy for the goals I have created for myself in my journey of searching and shelving, so to speak. There will definitely be dark days and bright days and a mess of in-betweeners. The key, I suppose, will be in learning the art of patience, which is something else I’m not the greatest at… yet.
For any bloggers out there, if you’d be interested in doing a guest post on BiblioNyan, please let me know in the comments below. I’m mostly looking for folx who talk about like-minded stuff (anime, books, mental health). If you’ve a topic outside of the norm, send me a DM on Twitter (Yon Nyan or The Djinn Reader) or an Inquiry (must be okay with providing an e-mail) and we’ll chat about it. If we’re in any mutual Discord servers, then feel free to hit me up on Discord if that’s easier for you.
Until next time, thank you for spending some time with me this morning. I appreciate it very much! I’ll be back tomorrow with some birthday loot shenanigans. Much love to you all.