I think my biggest issue these last couple of days has been that things have been flying by me at such a high velocity that I haven’t really had an opportunity to sit and think things through. One day, I think about how much I miss my kids and how I can’t wait to spend time with them, the next I’m fretting over how on earth I’m going to be able to make my payment on my storage unit that’s due in about 9 days now, then I’m wondering where I should even begin looking for another job. I worry that my car is on the verge of death, that my health is slipping, that I can’t sleep, that I can’t eat, that I just feel sick. I find myself filling my life up with all of these distractions from the current problems that I’m facing, and I think at this point I may just be causing more harm than good by doing so.

Every day poses a new challenge. I have been struggling with a regular sleep pattern and I’ve been having a lot of issues with my digestive tract lately. It’s weird to me, because I’ve been steering clear of gluten entirely, but I’m beginning to have new issues. Issues that are similar to the celiac issues. I made the mistake of googling my symptoms and it told me all sorts of things from “you may have crohn’s disease!” to “it could be giardia!” and I can tell you that it’s all pretty terrifying. The main thing that I kept seeing, though, was that I should see a gastroenterologist… which has been the story of most of my life.

I remember when I was a kid, I began to get sick all the time I believe in 2nd or 3rd grade. I remember going to the doctor, constantly. I remember having my tonsils removed, battling strep throat on a regular, I remember having to get what felt like a million allergy shots, getting a tumor removed off the back of my neck, fracturing my knee, getting what we all thought was the flu constantly.. It wasn’t until I was twelve that I started to get extremely sick. I was throwing up 90% of the things that I ate, I was missing so much school that they had me put on the “Becca Bill”, which basically means that every day of school that I missed I had to go and get a doctor’s note. My parents swapped my doctor because my original doctor said that I was faking.. After almost a year, they found out that I had Celiac Sprue.

Those of you who don’t know what Celiac Sprue is, I envy you. Those of you who do know what it is and who suffer from it, I pity you because I know exactly how much it sucks.

So, for a few years while I lived with my parents I had to go on an entirely gluten free diet. There was a lot of experimenting with different foods, a lot of trips to the health food stores because those were the only places that provided gluten free noodles, there was a lot of learning and reading labels on literally everything. I remember reading labels on my favorite candies and wanting to cry because I couldn’t have them, I wanted to die each time I was hungry and I just wanted some motherfucking macaroni and cheese, I remember missing pasta immensely. I remember missing cake, pie, all kinds of luxuries in the food world. I think a lot of people take these things for granted. I think a lot of people have no idea.

When you don’t stick to the gluten-free diet and you have celiac disease, it can literally kill you in the long run. Celiac basically makes it so that you can’t absorb the nutrients from food containing gluten. There’s something wrong in the stomach lining and the lining in the intestine and it just screws everything up. While we were trying to figure out what was wrong with me, I was skin and bones. I was starving, my body couldn’t figure out what to do.. Everything made me so sick. I remember curling up in a ball with my dog and crying from the pains in my side, the pains my stomach… I was absolutely miserable. I am so grateful for the amazing doctor that wound up actually sending me to a specialist and that specialist discovering that this was my issue… even if this issue sucks immensely.

When I was 17, I moved out of my parents’ place and my diet was up to me entirely. I started eating things that contained gluten. I was tired all of the time, I was sick-feeling, I was miserable. I lived with my boyfriend and his mom, I don’t think he ever believed that I was allergic to gluten. I don’t know if he really understood what it meant for me to have this disease that’s literally killing me inside every time I eat it, maybe because there was no actual visible evidence? Who knows. I just know that throughout the 7 years we were together, I’d tell him I want to go back on the gluten free diet and he would scoff.

Towards the end of our relationship, the stomach issues worsened. I wound up getting my gallbladder removed, which helped some of my issues but not all of them. I wound up going to see a gastroenterologist again, going through the loops of what to do, etc.. They told me that my pancreas was enlarged, that it could be a sign of pancreatic cancer, I panicked and I stopped going. I didn’t want to know what was wrong with me anymore beyond that. I just wanted to let whatever it was be a silent killer. It was better not knowing, right?

Anyhow. So he and I split probably a year after all of this. I kept on eating gluten, clear up until just last year. Since stopping it all over again, I have gotten my energy back for the most part. I don’t feel nauseous all the time. I feel like I can semi-function, again, and it’s great.. except that it’s near impossible to go out to eat *anywhere*. It’s impossible to eat at a friend’s place. It’s impossible to do anything outside of cooking for myself at home, and those of you who know me should know I’m constantly “on the go”. Not only is it inconvenient, but it’s also very expensive. It’s really difficult to stick to gluten free items because they average at least $2 more than your normal gluten-containing items. That’s a fucking arm and a leg and it just adds up reeeally quick. Because of this, there have been times where I just *don’t* eat. I can’t afford to eat. I can hardly afford to pay my bills… I can hardly afford to feed my kids when I have them, let alone myself. I know that not-eating is terrible, but sometimes I just can’t help it.

Which brings me to today. Today, I have come to the realization that I am a starving artist. I have been drawing portraits like crazy, trying to get money, trying to figure out how to pay all of my bills that are looming over my head, trying to figure out *all these things* and I just can’t seem to figure any of it out. I feel like I’m slipping into a black hole and that terrifies me. I know that if I go too long without paying my tickets, I’ll lose my driver’s license again. I know that I need to find a job, but I don’t know where to start. As far as working goes, all I really know is that I don’t want to go back to being a CNA. Ever.

I feel like my life is a financial sink-hole. I feel like all of the money I acquire literally goes to bills and I’m starving. I’m losing my mind. I miss banana bread. I kind of just.. I kinda just want to go to sleep, but every time I lay down I can’t sleep. My brain is running a million miles an hour and I just can’t keep up. I keep wondering what I could do, where I could go, how I can distract myself.. I keep contemplating selling all the things in my storage unit and just removing that bill from my life entirely. I mean, fuck, it’s all been in there for a year now anyway.. Why should I even bother keeping it? It’s just stuff. Stuff I’m obviously not even using at this time.