It’s raining again in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I left my precious Arizona, hot but at least high and dry, to trade in my trusty Jenny the Chevy camper for the 24 foot house on wheels that I ordered back in November.
I’ve been sick ever since my arrival last Thursday. Stress is a bitch! And for me there is nothing more stressful than moving, even if it’s from one mobile dwelling to another. I get completely disoriented with all my personal shit strewn around. Disorder breeds more disorder.
Speaking of disorder, my dear doggy is completely discombobulated. All her two favorite hangout places in our previous van are gone. Like moi, she’s having to adjust to this new space and new lifestyle, all of a sudden. There’s lots more room for her to stretch out in the aisle, but I’ve configured the bed in a way that is unacceptable to her, so she is sleeping in the driver’s seat in protest.
I’ve been in awful, unremitting pain ever since I left the lovely dry Southwest. Humidity kills me. My spine is screaming; likewise my shoulders, hands, and hips: all the arthritic places. And wouldn’t you know it, I had a Crohn’s flare-up start the day I moved my stuff from Jenny into my new rig (whose name might be Betsy). I finally got the blood stains out of my brand new plastic toilet this morning. That’s one of the lovely things that come with a Crohn’s flare: shitting blood. I’ve got a sore throat, headache, and spent last night alternately chilling and sweating. Fucking immune system, where are you when I need you? Either running hot or on vacation, and sometimes both at the same time.
My sweet doggie came to see me about dawn. She must have been listening to me shifting uncomfortably around in the bed, trying unsuccessfully to find a pain-free position. She tried to worm her way into bed with me, but she is still a puppy, albeit a large one; and in the process of her thrashing around trying to cuddle up with me, she accidentally slashed my throat with one of her claws, and razored me up pretty good.
My sleep deprived, paining self overflowed and I began to wail. Poor Atina fled to the driver’s seat, and required a great deal of comforting for the rest of the morning. She feels terrible when she hurts me. She knows I am fragile, and tries her best to take care of me. But she is large and ungainly. Accidents are bound to happen.
After applying first aid to my gashed and bleeding throat, I sat down with my new vaporizer and medicated. I felt better. I started the day.
Yesterday it rained. Today it rained. I’ve grown accustomed to places that don’t steam all the time. I intend to make my way back West, where I feel good. A friend called me a little while ago, from Glacier National Park. He is not a formally religious man, but he said that Glacier felt to him like knowing God.
God and I have been on the outs for some time, so I think I’ll head over to Glacier and see what my friend is talking about. I wouldn’t mind having a God experience. My mind needs a jump start.
This far corner of Montana is 1,713 miles from where I currently sit. And that doesn’t take account of my planned side trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The arrow is supposed to point to the Upper Peninsula. The little blue dot at the bottom is where I am now. So the whole trip will be a big adventure with my new motorhome as I learn its ins and outs.
I’m glad I temporarily have the ability to do this kind of gypsying. I won’t always. Finances and ill health will eventually clip my wings; but I’ll keep on as long as life lets me. I’ll go as long and as hard as I can, and be gentle with myself too.
That’s my spiritual discipline now: giving myself permission not to do, but to be. I get depressed. I say, OK, I’m depressed. It will pass. I use cannabis as part of my medication regimen. It works. It helps me get through the depressions. It helps me feel better. Isn’t that the point of medication?
None of the meds we take for brain pain are “disease modifying.” They don’t work unless we take them. If we stop taking them, they stop working.
Cannabis will break me out of a suicidal depression. It helps me engage with the world, with my environment. I feel creative. I can cook and clean up, take a shower, talk to people. I don’t lie around crying all day. I’m still depressed, but I’m more functional and less likely to hole up isolated.
Sometimes I’m just too sick though, like last night when I couldn’t even think well enough to pick up the vaporizer till my dog broke me out of it by slashing my throat. Well, it was over the top, but it changed my state, so I guess it was all right. Hope the wound heals. The skin right there is awfully thin.
I hate it that I’m too disabled to work. All I want to do is to be in my own office, healing the sick. But I’m too sick to heal anyone, not even myself. This mobile lifestyle helps me to not go crazy mourning my lost calling. It’s a distraction, true, and that’s what I need.
It’s interesting to see how campgrounds are places of refuge for the mentally ill and physically disabled. Of course no one you meet will say, “My name is Doris, and I’m mentally ill.” Nope, she will say she has a bad knee, or something legit like that. All the talk about getting rid of the stigma surrounding mental illness has done absolutely nothing compared to the speculation about the “mental health” of the various recent shooters. Hell, if I were to tell some campground owner that I’m bipolar, you can bet they would be fresh out of campsites. Mental cases not welcome anywhere…not openly, anyway. But we’re here. We are transient; we float from place to place. We keep quiet and don’t cause trouble. But we don’t disclose.
When will the Mentally Ill Matter?
Maybe never. We’re the Invisible Minority.