I Am Alive

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I am alive, but sometimes I forget it. Not literally of course. I know that I am a living breathing person, but there are times when I become numb to the world around me.

I have an autoimmune disease. I started experiencing symptoms when I was a junior in high school. I look to the future and it scares me. I have a chronic illness. There is no cure. I am dependent on medicine to keep me functioning like a normal human being. I periodically go into flare ups where the symptoms of my disease are exagaratted. I cope with chronic pain, fatigue, and brain fog.

There are days when it feels like every thought in my head is moving in slow motion. I ask the same question over and over again because I cannot remember the answer. I am tired. I am lost. I am numb.

Several years ago I made the decision to go white water rafting with some friends. None of us had ever been white water rafting before, so we reserved I time with a guide. The day that we were scheduled to go was cold. It was far colder than we had expected. We considered canceling our trip, but ultimately we decided to rent wet suites and go anyway.

I situated myself in the safest place on the raft. I was in the dead center, with people sitting all around me. I sat in that spot for the first half of the trip. I could hardly feel the turbulent water beneath me. Then the guide announced that we were approaching the most intense rapids that we would come across. He challenged one of us to sit on the front edge of the raft. I surprised myself by volunteering. As I situated myself on the edge with my feet dangling into the water I felt like a third party observer.

Before I knew it we were on the rapids, and the entire nose of the raft was plunged into the water. Clinging to the raft I was submerged. To say that it was cold is completely inadequate. Freezing water shocked every inch of my body. The intensity was almost electric. When I bobbed back up I was a different person.

My thoughts were sharper. My vision was clearer. Colors seemed brighter. Adrenaline coursed through me and I remembered that I was alive. I had no idea beforehand how dull my senses to become.

Depression, fear, pain, and exhaustion have a way of convincing us to docilely accept a grey life. I am done with that. I have an autoimmune disease, but I am alive. I am not going to miss out on any more of my life.

How do you remind yourself that you are alive? How do you wake yourself up when you get lost?