Hi, my name is David. I’m a 60-year-old (male) Spoonie from California, now living in Connecticut. The List: a heart condition (H.O.C.M., an enlarged heart with leaky valves), ulcerative colitis, osteoarthitis (both hips were replaced in 2015), high blood pressure & obesity (both under control), and vision problems (eye surgery for a detached retina earlier this year).
Oh, and high-function autism, alcohol dependence (2½ years of sobriety), depression (I was first diagnosed as clinically depressed at age 12), anxiety disorders & panic attacks, and, most recently, insomnia (I’ve sometimes gone 3 nights without sleep).
Jeez, I’m a real mess, aren’t I?
My family background is also a mess. My sister and I were abandoned by our father as infants – we *never* had contact with him. Most of the information we have about our father came off the Internet. He was replaced, for a while, by an abusive stepfather. Our mother was in-&-out of hospitals (5 cancer operations in 10 years; I was ages 8 through 18). My mother’s mother was in-&-out of mental institutions throughout much of our childhood.
Unsurprisingly, I’ve spent many years in therapy – I’m lucky that most of the medical problems only developed after age 50. I wouldn’t call myself a happy person, but I am reasonable content. I’ve accomplished a lot in my life – although very little of what I wanted to achieve as a young person. At different times, I was going to be an investigative journalist, a playwright/actor, a classical musician, &/or an evolutionary biologist. I turned out to be a book nerd, an editor/proofreader, and a bookseller – and a decent human being. I had to learn how to let go of people I that loved – and that, no, the pain never really goes away – but it’s possible to tolerate the pain, and go on.
I’ve learned that others do love me (despite all my doubts and frailties) and that I love others. Over the years, I’ve acquired social skills and lost the squeamishness that stopped me from getting the help I needed. It has been a rocky path to travel, and a wearying amount of work, but I don’t regret it.
Hang in there, fellow Spoonies!
Spoonies are not always women! Want to read another Spoonie Male story? Read Marc’s story here.