Unfortunately health is a lot more random than any of us likes to admit

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I had a great time at my first post-quar play party this weekend. I took what I thought was a reasonable amount of Molly while there, along with some mushrooms. For some reason mushrooms make me horny, or at least don’t dampen my libido. So I thought it might cancel out any horny-dampening effects of the Molly.

Reader, it was not a reasonable amount and the mushrooms did not have that effect. I did get to play with a very hot couple I’ve been lusting after before the drugs fully kicked in. But I spend the majority of the party cuddling with friends. Which was awesome.

Anyhoodle, I subsequently got a head cold that turned into extremely annoying intermittent stomach pain. At the height of my pain I ran into an ad for a hypnotherapy app for IBS. Which I immediately downloaded and tried. On my second session I began bawling uncontrollably. Which I don’t think is supposed to happen?

It was hard to make sense out of what I was feeling. Two themes were hopelessness and shame. The session was very much about believing you can get better. I kept thinking, “I want to believe.”

My friend invited me to an intro session for a self-help conference where the point is to take action on the one thing that’s going to move your life forward. I declined to go because I already knew I needed to take more action on my IBS. But I wasn’t doing it because I wasn’t ready.

I oscillate between hope and hopelessness about my stomach. If I truly believed I could be healed I would try just about anything, as many times as it took, wouldn’t I? Wouldn’t any rational person? I feel deeply ashamed of being sick. I feel like I should have already done everything possible to try to fix my stomach. I have the resources. Who just chooses to continue to be sick?

At the same time, I have tried a bunch of things. Expensive, hard things. And they haven’t worked. I don’t know if anything will work. I might spend more money and more time and more energy and suffer more inconvenience and at the end of the day still not be well. That scares me.

Then later, in the bath, I thought about what scares me most. It isn’t being ill. It’s being sick and it being my fault. I think about how I used to judge people who would make poor choices and then get sick or disabled. I’d think about how they lacked willpower and wisdom. How they were choosing to be a burden on others. Anytime I’d get sick I’d wrack my brain, cataloging every poor choice that might have led to me getting sick and berate myself for each of them.

But I don’t judge people like that anymore, for the most part. Because none of us has as much agency as we like to think. We’re all just doing the best we can with what we have where we are.

I’m starting to unlearn that judgment for myself. I’m starting to realize that my judgment was a suit of armor. I subconsciously hoped the threat of judgement would motivate me to make better choices. Believing I was at fault for my illnesses gave me a feeling of control over my health. It’s the same reason people like to victim-blame. It gives us a sense of agency. Otherwise, if it could happen to anyone, it could happen to us.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t make prudent choices about their health. I am saying health is a lot more random than I like to admit. A Twitter friend of mine recently had a blood vessel in her brain explode. Shit is fucking random. I don’t want to admit how random everything is because it’s a fucking terrifying thought.

But the hopeful part is that maybe I don’t have to berate myself every time I get sick in order to make prudent choices. Maybe I can accept that shit is random, I have less control than I’d like, but I still have some control. Healthy choices increase my luck surface area.

I’m coming around to the possibility that making healthy choices isn’t necessarily, or most importantly, a moral imperative. Making healthy choices is also an act of love. It’s an act of love toward myself, and toward the people who love me. It’s even an act of love toward my haters, who enjoy hating me and also might learn a thing or two despite themselves if I continue to exist.

Maybe that’s motivation enough. Maybe I don’t have to hate myself when I fuck up to act right. Maybe I can work on eating, drinking, and carousing like someone who loves themselves and wants to be healthy.

I don’t know. But I like that it feels like an option.