Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Ghost of a Suicide Attempt

I have spoken of my asthma numerous times. I have had people brush off the severity I attempt to describe, until they see my asthma in action. I have been denied admittance into a severe asthma study for my asthma being too severe. I sometimes get wheezy and short of breath if I chew certain kinds of gum. I can't breathe through my nose, even if I am not stuffy.

Some of these things don't make sense for asthma, and that is because it turns out I don't have your run-of-the-mill asthma. I have a type of asthma called Samter's Triad.

I have said it over and over in my head since I got my brand new diagnosis, not even 12 hours ago. "I have Samter's Triad" I have tried saying to myself. I have imagined scenarios where people ask me what's wrong with my lungs, and I respond "I have Samter's Triad", and they would say "What is that?"

To which the only response I can think of:

"Eight years ago I tried to kill myself by swallowing 90 aspirin, and apparently I had an adverse reaction to it that has been haunting me since 2006. I have severe asthma, paired with nasal polyps and an allergy to aspirin, and other chemicals. Really, it's just like asthma with two bonus complications, and a ghost of a suicide attempt that will haunt me for much longer than I ever anticipated."

All day, the words "Samter's Triad" have been plaguing me, but it's not my "new" asthma that is plaguing me. In fact, I'm happy I have a different diagnosis. Knowing exactly what it is will help me manage everything better, and I will be healthier than ever. So why, at 4:00 in the morning, was I sitting on my couch, staring off into space thinking "Why am I so discontent about this?"

Because it's not the new diagnosis, it's the fact that I tried to kill myself eight years ago, and I thought I had shrugged the whole thing off, when really, my suicide attempt has been running my life since then. Even now, as controlled as it is, aspects of my asthma still run my life. It feels like there has been a shadow following me for 8 years, and now that I finally see it, all I can think is "How did I miss this before?"

I have never been one for regrets. I have always (ALWAYS) said that I have no regrets, because every stupid decision I have ever made has turned me into the person I am today. I didn't even regret my suicide attempt until I learned what it has done to me, my lungs, and my peace of mind. It is now the one thing I regret.

The other reason I regret it now, is because my life actually fell into place. I have a job I love, a fiancee I can't say enough wonderful things about, my paychecks are growing, my waistline is shrinking, I have enough money to do all the martial arts I want to keep me sane, in a place where I have made wonderful and supportive friends. I get to be myself every single day, and make my own decisions, and do every single thing I wanted to do when I was 17, but couldn't, and was driven to try to kill myself because of it. I tried to end it, and a mere 8 years later, everything has become just the way I wanted it.

Now, what I'm saying is not "Finally! Eight years later, things are looking up!" No, it only took 6 months after my suicide attempt for things to start looking up. I am saying it took eight years for EVERYTHING to line up perfectly. Eight years to go from not being allowed to close my door in case I tried to kill myself again, to spending everything single day wishing it would never end, while simultaneously anxious for the next day to start because tomorrow is going to be just as good, if not better. That is not a lot of time for that much improvement.

There are ups and downs, but they pass, and I have more supportive friends around me than I could ever ask for, and a brilliant fiancee who listens to me talk, and express every single one of my feelings for as long as I need him to. My overwhelming amount of emotions has always felt like a curse of sorts, and I actually found someone who can lift the curse by letting me empty my cup of emotions, even if it will be full again hours later.

It got better, even my asthma is manageable, but it made my road harder. If I had never swallowed 90 aspirin, maybe I could have gotten through the last 8 years with mild asthma (or no asthma), and no weird allergies to foods and pain killers, and maybe I would have been able to go my entire life without having to Google what a polyp is. My suicide attempt made my road harder, and my path eventually got me to the place I wanted to go anyway, so why did I put up 1,000 hurdles in front of myself, just to go down the same road and get to the same place, but with more effort and trouble? Especially for something that settled itself out a mere 6 months later.

It gets better, I promise.