Never Stop Believing (Part I)

by Susan Pogorzelski on December 15, 2009 · 12 comments

Woke up bent and broken
Just to find that fate has spoken
And I call out, I call out for change…
I’ll never stop believing in me.

The Calling, “Believing”


I feel like crying today. Actually, I did cry, just now. Grabbed some tissues, tucked them in the sleeves of my sweater, and slipped away from my desk to go to the restroom and let it out as quietly as I could. Even the tissues weren’t enough, and I leaned against the counter, dabbing my eyes with those rough paper towels that is not at all like the soft comfort that you need. Splashed some water on my face, took a deep breath, forced a smile. Then I walked slowly and calmly back to the office, drank some water, picked up the phone, and got back to work.

Still, the heaviness persists.

I’m not exactly sure where this overwhelming sadness is coming from today, as for the past two weeks, I’d felt happier, lighter, than I’d been in months, due, in part, to finally getting answers to questions that have long kept me stagnant, in a sudden surge of belief in myself, in my future. And yet, a part of me knows exactly where it’s coming from. One step forward, two steps back. Patience and time and adjustments as I get better.

I’m stalling.

I’m writing all of this, explaining what I’m feeling all because I’m hesitant to put into words, put out there, what feels so personal. I debated writing about my health because there are things that I choose to disclose on this blog and things that I decidedly do not. I can be an open book — if you ask, I’ll answer in all honesty because this is my life and who I am and I’m still growing and learning and processing. But there are some things that are completely off limits when it comes to this platform.

I decided that a long, long time ago, and I’ve stuck with it, my own code of blogging, if you will. The things that affect me, personally, are fair game. I’ll talk about my flaws, my weaknesses, my mistakes; I’ll talk about my fears, my insecurities, and feeling lost because, for me, that’s how I overcome, become, and get found again.

I wasn’t so sure about this because it’s been such a long road. But it’s still my road, and as a huge advocate of awareness, maybe it will help others who were or are travelling in tangent, because it is such a common issue,though maybe not so much understood.

I’m doing it again. Stalling. But I want to fully explain and tell this story because it’s been a part of this journey as well.

Looking back, there’s a reason why my emotions hit such highs and lows, why an unsettling feeling always lay there beneath the surface, why I’ve acted out as I have. Blunt words would spill from my lips, frustration would grow into an emotional outburst of anger and tears, and I would become so ashamed of my actions and how I was treating others, knowing this wasn’t me, knowing I wouldn’t naturally be acting this way, that I would retreat and withdraw and be afraid to face anyone.

My mom would wonder what was going on, wonder what would cause such outbursts, such tears, and I would shake my head as my shoulders shook with sobs and say “I don’t know.” I didn’t know where it was coming from. And so I looked for every reason behind it. Life circumstances? Could be. Job search frustrations? Of course. Wanting everything so much, pushing myself so hard? That could do it.

But still, we knew that there was something more. I began asking questions, trying to find answers everywhere I could think of. Then, during the summer, when I started feeling physically ill, we realized that there might be something more going on than an emotional unsettling.

I began to experience dizzy spells and minor abdominal pain. I saw the doctor, who said it was just a mild virus and that it had to run its course. When I went back to them a month later for similar symptoms, I asked them to run a hormone check due to sudden hot flashes and what I began to recognize were mood swings. The tests came back negative. Another virus, they had said, though they sent me for an ultra-sound to rule out causes for the pain.

Changes occuring, opportunities arising as summer began to turn to fall. I was now freelancing part-time and being paid for it, I was involved in volunteering again, I was going back to work in a new full-time job at my old place of employment, and I was reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. I was happy. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was moving forward, towards something, for something good. I felt like my old self — that good person full of hope and light and life.

When I went back, again, to the doctor with complaints of familiar symptoms, however, they asked me about the changes in my life, nodding at the anxiety disorder that’s listed in my file, like a label that I can’t shake. Could be stress, leading to some anxiety, they said. I know anxiety, I told my mom in frustration. And though I began to believe what they were telling me, began to believe these symptoms were all psychosomatic, that it was all in my mind, that I should just ignore it, something inside (and my mom’s refusal to accept that answer) persisted that it was something more. More pain, more tests, and back to the doctors. Though they sounded sympathetic, they referred me to a GI specialist, not sure what more they could do for me and the symptoms that kept growing worse. Stubbornly, I ignored their referral and made an appointment with my gynocologist instead.

For all of the doctors that I have silently cursed, for all of the doctors who have lacked patience and understanding, for all of the doctors throughout the years I’ve seen having had similar persistent symptoms, who shrug their shoulders and write me off with a prescription, there are those who are compassionate, who are patient, who take the time to listen and evaluate and understand what you are saying. I finally found one of those doctors, who didn’t say I was “too young,” who didn’t look at my chart and read my history to understand what was happening now.

She looked at me, and within ten minutes of explaining to her the unbearable fatigue I’ve felt for years, the persistent pain, the weight gain, the constant-mood swings, the irregularities, she said to my mom and I, “something is going on; I can just hear what you’re saying and look at you and tell there’s something up. We’re going to find out what it is.”

I looked at my mom, looked at my new doctor, and started to cry. Only, this time, there was a different emotion behind those tears. This time, there was a smile; this time, there was relief.

And while tears are being shed today, I know the reason behind it, know that maybe it’s not my fault, know that maybe that’s just the process of healing, getting better — maybe that’s always a sign of healing and getting better, no matter what journey we’re on.

Coming Soon: Part Two

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom December 15, 2009

*hugs* Oh Susan, I hope you’re okay. Drop me a line if you need to talk or vent or anything at all. Please, feel free.


Alyssa December 15, 2009

Please keep me updated, sweetie. I think about you so much, and I hope that you’re doing ok. I know how frustrating it is to deal with doctors who don’t understand. I’m so glad you were persistent and found one that is going to try to get to the bottom of everything. Love <3


Positively Present December 15, 2009

I always love your posts, Susan! I really think it’s great that you’re sharing so much of yourself on your blog. Keep up all of the work you’ve been doing. Looking forward to reading Part 2! Keep believing!!


Mary Cowley December 15, 2009

I’m glad you’re getting some answers. If you don’t mind sharing the name of your doctor, I’d like to know. I’m old enough to be having those symptoms, but like you, I ruled out medically. Anyway, don’t give up!!! Finding the right doctor makes all the difference. 🙂


Susan Pogorzelski - admin December 15, 2009

Tom and Alyssa: I will gladly accept those hugs with lots of love and gratitude returned. I wanted to write this post mainly because, while it may not seem like such a big deal, it is a big deal because so many people can go through similar situations. The constant support and friendship from both of you is an added bonus that is so, so, so appreciated. Beyond words, truly. Thanks.


Susan Pogorzelski - admin December 15, 2009

Dani: I really appreciate that. I hesitated a few times before publishing this because it is so personal, but it’s what I’ve been going through, part of what I’ve dealt with these past few years, and something I know others have experienced as well. The more you know, the more you realize you’re not alone, the easier these journeys can become. Thanks for helping me always feel like I’m not so alone; please know that that’s always returned.


Susan Pogorzelski - admin December 15, 2009

Mary: Trusting and believing in yourself, knowing yourself, listening to your own intuition has always been something I’ve believed in. Unfortunately, there are times where you question that, lose sight of it. Being told there’s nothing wrong over and over and over can really make you believe it, make you doubt yourself. I’m glad, too, that I realized enough not to give up, and I hope you don’t either. We talked a bit via Twitter about this, but if you ever need that kind of support as well, I’d be glad to be here. Wishing you the best of luck, Mary!


Sam December 21, 2009

I am totally behind on reading and commenting, but I just wanted to say that this is beautiful. I’m so glad you decided to write about it, and even happier that you finally found out what was going on!


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