I can’t live like this: anticipating pain, struggling in life, and smashing myself to pieces because I can’t fucking win. It’s all stacked against me. The smells. The chemicals. The people. The questions. The answers. The requests. The outcomes. It’s all doomed. I can feel it sitting on my chest, this doom. (Heavy, dragging me down into a dark stagnant pit of despair.) Lately, whenever I tackle the next task on my mental list, the next task to try and secure clean air: at home, in the classroom, at the dentists, the doctors, I stutter; I fail. It. Can’t. Be. Done.
(I’m lying to myself, and you, because I know it can. Well, not all the time: exposures happen, and they make me ill. Sometimes for days. But you’d be amazed at what is possible when you ask the seemingly impossible, the absolutely ridiculous, and the extraordinary requests that chemically sensitive people need to ask just to be able to do the basic day-to-day things that others take for granted. I’ve amazed other people and myself. I’ve even shined a light showing other chemically sensitive people the way. And for regular people who have no idea that minute amounts of so called ‘safe’ chemicals can be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of people, like myself, and those unfortunate people even sicker (50 x sicker) than myself, I’ve used this light to illuminate the issue for the unenlightened, bringing them an understanding that not only benefits me, but is sure to benefit the next chemically sensitive individual that crosses their path.)
But for me, that light is no longer visible. Not today. Or if it is around here somewhere, it’s hidden in amongst this thick mist of oppression and silence that surrounds me; or perhaps, it’s hiding under the energy used up in the negotiations fraught with anxiety over a whole clusterfuck of struggles and persuasions, I’ve been involved in of late.
When I sit down to do my homework and assignments, the impeding doom weighs heavy above my solar plexus; with it’s overwhelming pressure, it pushes me to cry and break. Again.
How do I concentrate on one thing when I can’t do one thing? How do I do one thing when I keep getting sick? I’ve been excluded from classes due to fragrances and/or deodorants and/or hair products that other students have a right to wear, except when it’s making me ill because then it’s a health and safety issue. But it still happens. So I wear a mask. But I still get sick. So I stay home from classes (except for one, where the students have been amazing in the lengths they’ve gone to accommodate me) and I struggle to do the work from home. For five weeks now. And yes, I still get sick at home. It’s all doomed I tell you.
My neighbours are mowing and the fumes are throughout the house. My eyes, my nose and my breathing are affected, but it’s the pain in my back that’s the killer. My three Austin Air purifiers, and one InovaAir purifier futilely push the fumes around, taunting me with their promise to filter the air, which they will do—eventually—but not until the vomiting of two-stroke fuel into the air from the mowing and whippersnippering has stopped.
I seriously can’t, can’t live like this. The pain in my lower back is throbbing its discontent until it feels as if a person wearing steal cap boots has kicked me in the lower back, emanating throbbing pain towards my kidneys or liver or whatever organ(s) does this ‘thing’ with exposure to mass amounts (amounts that are massive to me) of petrochemicals (or sometimes but not in this instance, solvents).
So I swallow my supplements, drinking over a litre of water because—the drinking of mass quantities of fluids—it is the only thing that lessons the back pain, and I hide in the one room that I can: my Safer Room. Because my regular Safe Room, my bedroom, has the lawnmower’s two-stroke petrol fumes in it that have leaked through the cracks in this façade of a house.
This safer room is a depressing sight, accentuating this gloom and doom perception I’m locked into: Aluminium foil on the floor; a metal single bed stands solemnly alone; in contrast, an organic cotton bedding welcomes me; while a polyurethane mattress wrapped in foil threatens me with what lies beneath the foil (yes, I wrapped another mattress in foil, even though the last time I did this, it turned into a mouldy disaster, but I don’t plan on making a habit of sleeping on this—it’s for emergencies only); and an air-purifier promises me to keep the air clean. This room has windows sealed with painter’s masking tape. And I seal the door closed too. And… the air is clean in here.
But when I’m in here, I feel like my spirit is crushed. And the impeding doom is my ever-present companion. Sitting on my chest, weighing me down. And then there is the fear… the fear of what? The future? The negotiations? Yes, but mostly it’s the fear of how I feel right now, in this moment. Doomed.
I feel like I should apologise for sending these doom-vibes out into the blogosphere but this is how I feel, and perhaps by sharing it, I’ll feel less of it. Or when I wake up in the morning and remember what I’ve shared, I’ll feel like my readers (all 21 of you) will see me as a melancholic, hyperbolic idiot, and I’ll rush to delete this post.
Thanks for reading.