Oh, I'm not Going to Die

Oh, I'm not Going to Die

By Roberta Miles

Oh, I'm not going to die or anything like that. Hopefully never if I have anything to do with it. It's just a chronic debilitating disease. Depression will kill you, this won't. Well, I've been so dammed depressed my whole life and now, there's this. Bring it on, baby. Bring it on. 

No, don’t really! This is all I can handle. Enough! I've heard that God only gives you what you can handle. So maybe I’m safe, now. Finally.

Oh, and my doctor said, the head doc, she cured me! Hooray, I'm cured! What a relief. Now I can just watch myself wither away. But at least I won't be depressed about it.

If there's one thing you can say about me, it's that I'm colorful. Have been and forever will be colorful.

So many secrets. That's what makes me colorful. Talented, you can say that about me to. Talented and colorful.

When I first accepted the fact that I have MS, I denied it every second. Just like when I first heard my therapist categorize me as depressed. Hell no, I just processed differently. Actually, I thought everyone processed differently, until I started the meds.

And you know what? I really don't believe that I have MS. I’ve seen the pictures of my brain with the big black holes in it. So?

I'm colorful. And talented. I used to be smart too. But they gave me a test, not long ago. And my IQ had dropped twenty-five points. Imagine. I'm twenty-five points less smart than I used to be. Oh and my short-term memory is shot to shit because of the MS that I don't really have. So I don't have MS and I'm not depressed. Life is pretty cool.

I want people to know that I have MS. Fuck! I want to shout it at those people who complain to me about nothing. This hurts. That hurts. Fuck you! I have MS! 

So where do I go from here? I'm talented and… oh no, I forgot. I have an eating disorder. I spent six months in the EDU short for eating disorder unit. That was after thirteen years of being Bulimic. I think it was an extended period of postpartum blues. 

Don't laugh. None of this was taken seriously. Not the blues, not the throwing up. No one took that seriously. Now they say it only happens to young girls. Bullshit, I was thirty-six! Now I want to scream that out too. But I was skinny.

When I was in the hospital all those anorexic girls, looked normal. I've been in recovery five years. I'm still amazed that anyone talks to me, now that I'm so fat and ugly. Why would anyone want to talk to me? Don't my friends see that I'm really a hideous beast? 

My parents do. It’s a hot topic of conversation.  Who gained a few pounds?  This one is too skinny.  This one is too fat. There's no middle ground. I love you, but fuck you! 

Six months in the hospital. But nobody knew. Another secret. 

OK. So I'm a recovering bulimic. I don't have MS and I'm not depressed. Talented, yes that's it, talented. I paint, I sing, I write, I perform. And I surmise from all the people who want to hang around me, that it's possible I'm not a hideous beast.

Oh, and boy can I keep a toilet clean. You know why, don't you? It's part of the secret, the bulimia secret. In the hospital every time I used the toilet they had to check it. Now that’s being thorough. They had to check it. To make sure that I hadn’t thrown up. To make sure that I hadn't squirreled away any food and thrown it in the toilet. The dammed toilet! Boy can I keep it clean. Everywhere I went I left a clean toilet. A big dammed secret. 

Well too bad. To hell with shame. To hell with secrets. To hell with other people's discomfort. Fuck you!

Some of you will say “Holy crap!” And some of you will say, “How very cathartic of her. Or, “I didn't know that.” That's just it. Everything has been a secret!

I am a recovering bulimic. It's an addiction! It's never really gone!

OK, let's reassess here. There's the MS. I hate the words multiple sclerosis. It makes me sick to my stomach. OK, MS, depression — but that's gone with the right combo of meds. I'm stupid and can't remember things and I'm bulimic. It's quite a load.

But I'm colorful and talented! I sing, I paint… Oh who gives a flying fuck?

And my poor little baby. Between all of his momma’s crap, did he stand a chance? Was I recreating the environment I grew up in? Well you know what? He turned out fabulous in spite of me. Thank the heavens above for good husbands and good therapists and finally the right medication.


Literate Ape contributor Roberta Miles will be a featured performer at the annual Gathering of Outrageous Souls, benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 4 from noon to 4 p.m. at Haymarket Pub & Brewery in Chicago’s West Loop. All are welcome, a $10 donation is suggested.

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