Of Sleepless Nights and Anxious Messes

It’s four in the morning. I have been in bed for four hours, now. I can’t sleep. My anxiety is approaching an all-time high, and it feels like there’s a hole inside me that’s sucking up all the air I am trying to breathe before it gets to my lungs.

I’m exhausted, but not sleepy. I want to rest and forget everything, but my brain is buzzing. The only things contaminating my mind are the memories that remind me of all the reasons my life is so hard. And unfair. And just painful.

And I realize how juvenile it sounds. It’s as if I am a fifteen-year-old drama queen. I have so much to be thankful for–I know that. I know that I have so much to be thankful for, but that doesn’t make all the terrible things more bearable, and if you don’t believe me, I will list them for you. I will let you form your own opinion, as you read on.

I have Type 1 diabetes. I am epileptic. I wear flats in the dead winter, because shoes induce seizures. My memory is slowly wasting away because of my medications. I am fat. I am not pretty. I am not particularly smart. I am aromantic and asexual in a world that does not accept asexuality as a reality. I’m being dragged in the direction of marriage, and I am too deep inside the closet to protest it at all. I am alone in this, because not one person in my life has any of these problems. Not one. It’s just me, myself, and anxiety, and I’m struggling more than I can possibly explain.

I can’t breathe. I’m losing my mind. Even the things I’ve been told my entire life that I am good at have just led me to fall flat on my face. I’m a student at NYU. I’ve got that going for me. Hurrah for plan C, since A and B failed so tremendously. I don’t really want to be a therapist. I just failed at being a journalist, tanked my chances at becoming a writer, and needed something to do with my life.

And the worst part of all of this is, I am alone in a way that I can’t possibly explain. I am an anxious, depressed mess who covers it poorly with humor and sarcasm.

And for once, I’m not just being melodramatic. I’m quite literally seizing my days away.

And to fix this, I wrote a book loosely based on these experiences in a fictional story-line. Of course, my self-esteem is far too low for me to try to publish it.

I didn’t want to keep whining on here, but I can’t seem to stop.

Hend Salah–fucking up everything since 1991.

The Egregious Effect of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition that is too often misunderstood. A person writhing on the floor is not what a seizure looks like. It disregards the pain; the feeling akin to pins and needles after numbness, intensified so that it feels more like jagged knives digging into soft skin forcefully and repeatedly for long periods of time. But you see, the body doesn’t bleed, so it must not hurt.

But it does.

It is among the most obscure things in the world. You cannot see it. You can only feel it. You never stop feeling it. It is in your daymares and your nightmares. It is in the back of your mind during every single conversation, every joke, every laugh, every comment, every moment of every single day. It is omnipresent, looming, watching, waiting for the right—or wrong—moment to strike, because it knows that you have no way of fighting back.

It’s like being on an airplane. You are on a plane and you are the only one in the aircraft. It is wonderful, having no noise, no nuisances around you. You begin to fall asleep.

Then suddenly, it isn’t so wonderful. Just as your body dissolves into an effortless comfort, there comes a loud explosion and you are suddenly falling at break-neck speed toward whatever it is that is millions of meters below you. Your ears are popping like mad, and your screams are dying in the back of your throat, and you are only managing to take very short gasps of breath to keep yourself from suffocating.

And then, seemingly out of thin air, you are handed a parachute. You don’t know who it is that gave it you. You did not see them. They do not matter. All that matters is that you have this parachute, and you have the opportunity—however slim—to live. The plane slows down ever so slightly and you trip over your own feet trying to get to an open door; You put the parachute on, and you jump.

You jump, and you pull the ripcord and you look up, and your heart sinks, because there is a gaping hole in the very thing that was to save you.

You are still barreling down to what you now see are unforgiving tides of raging black ink lit up by a stifled full moon. The cold air harshly assaults your skin and your lungs have already begun to fail you, and you begin to recognize that you have reached the final moments of your life.

But just as you are about to hit the surface, you wake up. Everything fades away. There is no parachute, no water, no crashing airplane.

But you are still falling.

When Sickness Rears its Ugly Head

So I just discovered that I’m getting my head cracked open in May. Yes, I’m going to have an operation in which they’re going to dig into my skull.

I was trying to avoid telling anyone about it, but my dad came last night and told me he’s scheduling it for right after graduation. I have five months to anxiously wonder if I’m going to live through this thing. It feels like a death sentence, like I know exactly how I’m going to die and I’m speeding toward it like a bullet from a gun.

I was looking forward to May, because I’m graduating with a Master’s Degree in Applied Psychology. Blood, sweat, and tears went into this degree.

Now I want December to be as long as it possibly can be.

They keep saying it’s a simple procedure. I don’t believe them. Nothing is simple about opening up somebody’s fucking head. Nothing is simple about surgery.

Nothing.

My blood sugar is also unstable, again.

And I’ve been having many, many panic attacks, much pf them because of this.

And of course I can forget about publishing any books.

I haven’t told any of my friends or cousins or uncles or aunts.

I don’t plan on ever telling them.

Lol @ my life.

A Seize, A Seize, A Public Seize

I have yet to tell this story, because it is probably the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me, very easily surpassing my mid-concert, smart-phone recorded, seizure of 2012.

I was going to class last Tuesday mind my own special type of business when I had an “aura.” An aura is something someone with epilepsy has that makes them aware that they are about to have a seizure. I was not in the most ideal place for a harlem shake; I was getting off the subway at the Broadway-Lafayette station, just steps away from being above ground, when I took the hit.

I lay down on the floor, and then came my partial seize, creeping up my left leg, not caring where I was or who was watching me. A crowd was drawn and I was the center of a very unwelcome attention, once more. Someone called the hospital, and they carted me off to New York Presbyterian Hospital.

My cousin came from New Jersey, and they discharged me, and just before she came, I got the feeling again. It was coming back, and I had to pee. I was dying to pee, but I couldn’t get out of the car. I couldn’t take another public display of bodily dysfunction.

I could not seize out there in the world, again.

We made it back to Brooklyn, and we sat outside my house, me shaking off the feeling of needing to pee and trying to push away yet another seizure.

I couldn’t get out, and I ended up having to pee in a cup in her car.

Side note: I seriously don’t know what I would do without her. I would have been beyond screwed. She drove like two hours just to make sure I got home safely. We decided to never speak of it again, but I owe her so damn much for that.

God knows what would have happened to me if I didn’t have that bitch in my life. I didn’t even ask her to come.

But I still vote worst day of my life.

My life is hell.

But that’s cool. Hell has cookies.

Oh wait, my blood sugar is unstable. I can’t even eat them.

Here’s a carrot, instead.

Personal Experience is Never a Rule

I can’t bring myself to use a silly and random title, here, and that’s because this is not a matter I want anyone to make light of.

First and foremost, I am sorry. I am sorry for all of the times I said that epilepsy and diabetes are nothing. I am sorry for every time I claimed that they were just a day in the life of a person; a struggle like any other. I am sorry for not realizing that what I have is not the same as everyone else.

To anyone who is confused, I have epilepsy and Type 1 diabetes. That means that I’m prone to seizures and that my pancreas is lazy. I have had the former for about nine years, and the latter for going on two.

I have always just dealt with it. It brought me down sometimes, but it didn’t really get in the way of my life. That’s what medicine is for. I could take care of myself, and though it was a little harder than most people, I led a (nearly) normal life; save for a few limitations here and there.

I joined these diabetes and epilepsy support groups online. For diabetes, I was really uneducated about it. I knew very, very little, because I was diagnosed only a short time ago.

And after I joined, I discovered that my life is absolutely perfect compared to many others with these disorders. There are people in the hospital every other day, people falling down in public and ending up with stitches on various body parts, people who blood sugars rock out of control despite healthy eating and correct insulin dosage, people who have thirty-minute fits and much more.

Me? I can’t wear shoes sometimes and have to avoid carbs.

Boo hoo.

Don’t take this the wrong way. My life is by no means easy, and having both is kind of a struggle sometimes, but it’s not more than I can chew.

For those of you out there who are having difficulty even living day to day, I hope that one day, you will be able to take it as lightly as I do.

I try not to, I swear, but seizures are my personal exercise. How could I ever do without those night time harlem shakes?

Dammit, Hend.

Jason Derulo–Strobe Lights (Trumpets)

Every time that you get turned on
I start seizing up on my own
I wrote this song just looking at you oh, oh
Yeah the bulbs they stay low
But the strobe lights they go

Bam, bam, ba ba ba ba, bam, bam
Wham, wham, wa, wa, wa, wham, wham
Bam, bam, ba ba ba ba, bam, bam
Wham, wham, wa, wa, wa, wham, wham
They go

Is it weird that I shake
Uncontrollably whenever you’re on?
Whenever you’re on
Is it weird that your light
Reminds me of a Screamo song?
Screamo song

Is it weird that I have
Fits at the second you start?
Second you start
Is it weird that your flash
Reminds me of a Kanye West song?

Every time that you get turned on
I start seizing up on my own
I wrote this song just looking at you oh, oh
Yeah the bulbs they stay low
But the strobe lights they go

Bam, bam, ba ba ba ba, bam, bam
Wham, wham, wa, wa, wa, wham, wham
Bam, bam, ba ba ba ba, bam, bam
Wham, wham, wa, wa, wa, wham, wham
They go

(Damn) Is it weird that I see
Clearly when you get turned off?
Get turned off
Is it weird that your pain
Reminds me of a Taylor Swift song?
Taylor Swift song

Is it weird that I run
Every time I’m told you’ll come on?
Is it weird that your effect
Reminds me of an Eminem song

Every time that you get turned on
I start seizing up on my own
I wrote this song just looking at you oh, oh
Yeah the bulbs they stay low
But the strobe lights they go…

*Note: I have controlled epilepsy, and I wrote this because I like to poke fun at my problems. If that offends you, find a sense of humor.