Adventure, PCV

What Medical Separation Means to Me

It’s been heavy on my heart all day that I need want to post an update.  I never made time for it, but the time was made tonight anyhow.  I was just getting ready to shut my computer off for the night and lay down to go to sleep when my precious little Valentine, River,River snow

 

woke from her slumber and proceeded to throw up all over our bed.  Rest assured: the bedding was taken off and thrown in the wash and new bedding was promptly put back on.  She is snoozing away on my foot now.  It’s clear to me that River knows the REAL meaning of Valentine’s day –> Loving someone so much you don’t even mind cleaning up their puke.

I’ve gotten a few e-mails from people about my blog and a few e-mails from peace corps friends unrelated to my blog.  I haven’t responded to any of them, really.  I apologize for that, but things are just sort of a struggle right now.  I can’t remember the last time I posted (memory issues are a side of one of my meds and I’m too lazy to go look it up) but as is obvious by the fact I got a puppy, I will not be returning to South Africa.  I was officially medically separated on January 4, 2014 and am working on getting all of my Peace Corps doctors appointments taken care of.

Speaking with Peace Corps staff has been really helpful to me in terms of dealing with the enormous guilt of not making it for 27 months.  I was SO SURE that Peace Corps was exactly what I was supposed to be doing.  And it was, just not the way I thought it was.  Looking back now, I can identify that there were only a handful of days where I really even behaved remotely closely to myself.

It was a good learning experience, It broadened my worldview further, and it forced me to get the help that I so desperately needed.  Now, Asheville is a small town, so I’m not going to post too many details about the medical condition that got me medevaced and medically separated on here because there’s a whole lot of stigma that goes with any and all mental illness.  If you are curious, want to talk about it, or just want to know, there is no shame in you sending me an e-mail and asking what the details of that medical separation were.  I will most likely eventually start some type of anonymous blog about that at some point.  cdcottam1@gmail.com is the best way to reach me as it goes straight to my iPhone.  I can’t promise that I’ll get back to you in a timely fashion, but I do promise that I will get back to you.

To me, being medically separated from Peace Corps Means:

  • I got to get a beautiful, intelligent, amazing Airedale Terrier puppy
  • I get to live at home while I figure things out for a while
  • I get to be close to my support system when I need them the most
  • I get to see my parents every single day
  • I get to drive myself to and from the grocery and doctor’s appointments
  • I get to see my friends
  • I get to eat the foods I like
  • I’m getting the help I need
  • I get to bake at least once a week

But it also means:

  • I’m missing out on many months of my commitment for service
  • I’m missing out on Tlotlego’s first year at primary school
  • I missed out on the twins’ 21st birthday
  • I’m missing out on making a positive difference in my small South African community

 

There are many more, but here’s the other thing about me right now.  I’m not sure if it’s a side effect from the medication or a symptom of my illness itself, but I am tired CONSTANTLY.  I never feel like I have enough energy to get anything done and there have been a couple things that have happened over the past few days that were very anxiety provoking, which has made me exhausted by the time I get settled in my room and calmed down from the anxiety.  I love and care about all you people out there, but it’s time for some rest now.

 

<3,

C

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1 thought on “What Medical Separation Means to Me”

  1. I want you to know that I completely understand what you’re going through. I had the same sort of situation when I was in the Marine Corps and had to have a medical discharge before I could graduate boot camp. twenty years later, it still weighs heavily on my soul that I couldn’t complete that training, couldn’t make it as a Marine.

    If you want to talk about what you’re going through, any time, please don’t hesitate to contact me, sweetie. I’ve been dealing with mental health issues for almost thirty years and I know how important proper support is.

    Also, if you’re still feeling that tired and depressed, you need to let your doctors know. It’s possible that the meds you’re on aren’t the right ones for you. The right meds make all the difference in the world, trust me!

    I love you and understand. Please know that you are not alone in your struggle and that while this is something you’ll have to adjust to, there IS light at the end of the tunnel… you can still have a full, meaningful, happy life. It’s all a matter of putting coping mechanisms into place, realizing what your triggers are and knowing when a downward spiral has started, so you can take steps to stop it before it gets too bad.

    And if it does get bad, you should have someone (or several someones) in place that will listen, remind you of everything good that you have without condemning you for ‘feeling sorry for yourself’ (yeah, I have gotten that a lot!), and will love you through it.

    My heart and support are with you. *hugs*

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