Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Perfect Storm

I met Chad on Twitter a little while ago. He's a great, funny guy and I'm happy that we had the opportunity to connect. I'm so thankful to him for agreeing to write this post today. If you'd like to share your story, you can send me an email.

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It's been at least a couple of years now, but it seems just like yesterday: I had been working away on a piece of long form fiction. In my mind, it was vibrant, living, the characters weren't my creation, but real people. For this reason, though I'd never submitted before, I decided to query an agent. With little to no knowledge of the industry. (Looking back, I see that my query was a joke--it screamed "I'm nowhere near ready to be published!").
Reject_2127photo © 2008 Justin Taylor | more info (via: Wylio)

The letter (well, email) I got back wasn't harsh, or critical--it was kind in its own form-letter kind of way. In fact, it was the literary equivalent of the infamous "it's not you, it's me" break-up line. Only we were breaking up before even getting a chance to know each other. I put on a brave face, replied to the agency, thanked them for my first rejection letter. But honestly, it stung more than I was willing to admit. 

It would be disingenuous to call a 45-minute daily writing session a river of words--so let's call it a faucet, instead, shall we? Well, that faucet slowed to a trickle. Then dried up altogether. 

For some reason, I owned that rejection letter. The agency wasn't rejecting just my work, but me personally. And rejection was just something I was ill-equipped to handle. Coming from a broken home, with a very sarcastic, caustic, dad, I'd felt the sting of rejection all of my life.  That stupid form rejection letter put me in a tailspin, a funk so deep, that I was blocked. 

All of which lead me to reengage with some old familiar friends ("besetting sins") again. (Of which I shan't say anything here). Fortunately for me, God wasn't at all interested in leaving me in that place, and was faithful to clue my wife in. And I'm so thankful she drew her line in the sand, confronted me, loved me enough to not allow me to continue down a self-destructive path. This allowed some much-needed moments of clarity.

Those times when I was on a more even keel emotionally--akin to trying to balance solo on a teeter-totter--I became increasingly aware that I hadn't felt well physically in quite some time. I had been having night-time palpitations, bouts of nocturia, and according to my wife, apparent trouble breathing at night during sleep. 

So I scheduled a sleep study--which determined that I had sleep apnea (an airway obstruction which causes one's body to stop breathing during sleep; consequently, the body wakes itself up enough to start breathing again. The net result of which is one doesn't rest), for which I was prescribed an assistive breathing (CPAP) device. And for my palpitations, the doctor put me on Atenolol (a beta blocker). These seemed to work. I wasn't feeling great, but somewhat better, I guess.

But the Atenolol had a particular side-effect, which for someone of my--or any--age, was rather disconcerting. So back to the doctor I went. I even changed doctors. Had more extensive testing, including the glorious 24-hour urine collection (if this is on your list of things to do before Jesus returns, cross it off! I've done it, and it sucks!).

Turns out, my blood pressure was fine--but my Thyroid wasn't. All this time, I'd had undiagnosed Thyroid disease! 

It was the hypothyroidism that had precipitated my:

Sleep apnea
Heart palpitations
Wait gain
Lack of energy

And...

My depression

My own body chemistry worked against me, around the same time I got that rejection letter, to create a perfect storm of ick. Which took me tumbling down into the depths.

I'm still not 100%, but more in tune with my body, more aware of my symptoms. I still use a CPAP, and get about 5-6 hours of sleep per night. It may not be great rest, but thank God I'm alive! I will be on supplemental Thyroid hormone for the rest of my life. 

Thank-you for reading! May God bless you as you reach for healing and wholeness. You are not alone!


Chad Jones hails from Erie, PA, but has lived for over 30 years in the Arizona desert. He has been married to his wife, Lisa, for 20 years, and has two children, a boy and a girl. They being 12 and 4, respectively, keep their parents busy. Toughest job they've ever loved! Chad has always wanted to be a writer, so he started a blog in 2004, but didn't use it. He has been actively blogging at http://blog.randomlychad.com since last October. He would be happy if you would read his ramblings there. This is his first guest post ever, anywhere. Many thanks to Alise Wright for the opportunity! Remember: You. Are. Not. Alone!

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