The first weekend in September! Wonderful, right? Well, today I get to share with you the 36th segment of my fictional story, When Life Hands You Lymes. I hope you enjoy! And, just because y’all seemed so happy with the idea, I’m seriously making this post twice as long as usual. Hopefully it makes you twice as happy as usual. 🙂
I had gotten to the point of setting my alarm with the reminder of taking my thyroid pill first thing in the morning and I kept the bottle by my bed, along with a glass of water. That created a problem though, because I was at the place where I was taking it so subconsciously that sometimes I would take it then hit snooze and fall back to sleep. When I woke up, I wouldn’t always remember if I’d taken it or not. It was a scary feeling.
Then I’d have to sit there, trying to figure out if taking another one would be like over dosing and hurt me or if not taking one for the day would make me so tired I wouldn’t be able to function. I even dumped out the bottle of pills and counted them once, but since I didn’t know how many I started out with, that didn’t help any.
Playing my music was also becoming harder. I would sometimes be mid song and lose my place or just get an overwhelming feeling of it being so complicated that I’d never get it down correctly.
“Madalyn, are you paying attention to me?” Shaking myself, I forced my brain to focus on Darrick.
“Sorry, were you saying something?” I was surprised to find myself sitting in our living room, on the couch next to my bro. I couldn’t remember even going there which felt kinda creepy.
“Was I saying something?” Darrick raised an eyebrow. “Yeah.”
“What were were talking about?”
“What were were talking about?”
“You must be really out of it.” Darrick gave me a weird sort of smile. “Are you sure you’re ok, Maddie? You’ve been kind of distant recently.”
And he was right. There had been so many times in the last week that I’d zoned out, not only when people were talking but when I was trying to read, or pray or even play my music that I was beginning to wonder what was going on.
Guitar had always been one of my go-to instruments, the one I played when I wanted a fun time of just hanging out with friends and providing music or that kind of thing. A couple days before though, I’d tried to randomly play and I could not remember how to pick out some of my simple tunes. If I lost my music, I wasn’t sure what I’d do. Music was me. I was music. Apart from music, who was I? How could I express myself?
Looking up, I saw Darrick’s gaze was worried now. “What?”
“You’re acting really strange.”
I bit my lip. Great. “Oh dear, how?”
“Like, you’re not focusing.”
“Oh me!” Darrick reached out and squeezed my hand. “We’ve been having a conversation but you keep zoning out.”
“My brain’s felt kinda foggy recently.” I heaved a sigh. “I’m not sure what to think. I’ve just kinda been feeling weird all over.”
Several different emotions crossed over Darrick’s face, but in such fast succession I wasn’t able to quite depict what they were. “Weird all over? What do you mean by that?”
“I don’t know.” I grimaced. “That’s the problem. I can’t explain how I feel, not even to myself. I can’t figure out if I feel like I have the flu or, or what.”
“Do you think it’s your thyroid being out of whack that’s causing that?”
I could feel pressure building in the back of my head like another killer headache was about ready to announce to it’s friends that it was party time in my head. “I don’t know.” Darrick must have seen how close I was to tears, because he shifted closer to me and put his arm around my shoulder.
“You know, if there’s anything I can do for you, Madds, you just let me know, ok?”
I nodded, knowing I would begin crying again if I ventured to speak.
The first week of Julia’s Bible study arrived. I had been anticipating the moment for weeks as I helped print fliers, spread the news to my friends, and collaborate with Julia to get snacks, drinks and a lesson all planned out. Julia had gone over her ideas with me at least a dozen times. I was pretty sure I would have been able to lead the Bible study, without notes, if something happened so she wasn’t able to.
“How many girls do you think will come?” Julia had asked me when she called at seven in the morning. Someone was too excited to sleep even though the Bible study didn’t start until six in the evening.
“Julia, how in the world would I know that?”
I could tell Julia was shrugging even though I wasn’t able to see her. “I’m not sure, but I do know that I’ve already had four girls text me and tell me they’re planning on coming. Do you think we’ve got enough food?” I thought of the brownies I’d baked yesterday (with Chad’s help, of course), the cookies we’d frozen, the cheery pie we’d bought and all the other food we’d been gathering up for the past three days. “Yes, Julia. I think we’d have enough to go out and stand by the street corner and offer it to everyone who walked by.”
“Do you realize how exciting it is that our Bible study is actually becoming a reality?” Julia’s voice was high pitched and I could tell she was working not to squeal.
I couldn’t quite peg when it had gone from “my” Bible study in Julia’s mind to “our” Bible study, but somehow, at some time or another, it had made the switch and I was pretty sure she wasn’t going to let it go back. Not that I minded. I was having fun getting to help out. People-lover here, remember?
As the day continued on though, I began experiencing a strange feeling that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It wasn’t nerves, no, I was used to being in front of people with all the times I’d performed music over the years. It wasn’t shyness. Ha! Like that word could ever describe me. It wasn’t tiredness. No, I’d had a pretty good amount of energy for the last few days. It wasn’t anything that I was used to. Nothing I could identify. And yet it was freaking me out. Then about an hour before I was going to head over to Julia’s, I found a name for the feeling.
I was peopled-out. I didn’t want to listen to anyone. I didn’t want to have to talk. I didn’t want to have to entertain. I didn’t want to have to smile. Man, I didn’t even want to see anyone. Like, not even from a distance.
Even though it was still during work hours, I went to Mom’s office and knocked on the door.
“Come in.” Mom’s voice was distracted, but when she turned around and saw me, she saved her word document then closed her computer. “What’s wrong, Madalyn?”
I sat down on the chair across from her. “I don’t want to see people.” I felt tears welling up in my eyes and then spill over.
Mom laid a hand on my knee. “What are you going to do then?”
“I’m going to go. I have to go.” I was talking in broken sentences, trying to make sense of this horrible, foreign, so un-Madalyn Emerson feeling. “But what happened to me? Why is it? Why don’t I want to be with people?” I covered my face with my hands. “I’ve never experienced a feeling like this before, Mom. I love people. I’m a people person, aren’t I?”
Mom gave a nod, “Yes dear, you are.” Somehow she had a tissue on hand again and gave it to me.
“I don’t know what to think, or how to act.” I gasped. “Mom, what if I feel this way for the rest of my life? What if I want to become a hermit and live back in the woods without ever talking to anyone again?”
“Don’t worry about tomorrow, Maddie, focus on today. Today you need the strength to go and help out at the Bible study.” Mom leaned forward. “Why don’t we pray now? I think this Bible study is important and maybe it’s importance is one reason why you’re having such a hard time.”
Ok, that did make sense. Bowing my head, I let Mom’s prayer wash over me, then I added some words of my own. “God, I don’t feel like I can do this in my strength. I don’t want to go and face the people on my own. That means I’m going to need You to help me and get me through it. I’m doing this through Your strength, not my own, because if I were doing what I wanted, I’d go up and stay in my room all night long.”
“I’m proud of you for going, Madds.” Mom stood up and gave me a hug when I got up to leave, then sat back down at her desk. “Remember I’ll be praying for you. You girls are going to do just fine, ok?”
“Ok, Mom and thanks.” And really, I was feeling a lot better after my prayer time with Mom. It still wouldn’t be an easy evening, but it was a lot better than it would have been if I had gone while trying to rely on my own strength instead of God’s.
As it turned out, we had more girls than I was expecting. I counted 16 of them, including Julia and me. I knew almost all of them, but there were a few faces I didn’t recognize.
It was hard being Madalyn Emerson some times. Everyone expected me to be a certain way, act a certain way, dress a certain way. I wished that for once I was able to just fade into the background and be nobody for a bit. Sure, I would still like to help out with the stuff no one saw, like staying in the kitchen and getting the snacks set out. But I didn’t want to have to talk and make people laugh and well, I didn’t want to have to be me.
“Oh, Maddie! You’re cute tonight!” Abbie came up and gave me a big hug, then kinda pushed me back into the corner. “Is something wrong? You look worried or something.” Leave it to Abbie to know just what’s going on. She’s so observant and she knows me better than a lot of the other girls do.
“I’m fine.” I gave her a bright smile.
She put her hands on her hips. “Come on. I’ve known you longer than that. Why don’t you just tell me if it’s something we should pray about or if it’s a personal matter?”
Ok, this girl was a jewel. “For some reason I haven’t been feeling well recently.” Julia was the only person outside my family who knew that I had thyroid issues. “And yeah, tonight I’m not feeling the best and I might be a little bit stressed out.” I shrugged. “So yeah, if you could pray for me, that would be really nice.”
“Let’s pray right now.” Abbie bowed her head and began praying in a whisper for me.
“Thanks girl, that’s just what I needed.” I gave her a hug when she was done.
“And remember, you don’t have to be strong and perfect to everyone.” Abbie gave me a wink. “We all know the real Madalyn can’t always be on top of everything.”
Of course they knew that. For some odd reason I put so much pressure on myself though. I guess that’s something I’d have to learn to stop doing. It couldn’t be too hard, could it?