Just over a week ago, i returned from Jamaica for the 3rd time. This trip’s purpose wasn’t the fun-loving, adventuring, goodtimes i usually seek but rather to heal up and gain some vigour and physical and mental power to continue my healing journey.
In just over 6 months since i was diagnosed, my life’s routine changed significantly. And, as a social and tribal/community-minded person, the self/syndrome-sparked isolation was required as i tried to learn about “what just happened to me” … along with a litany of medial appointments, combined to really remove me from a sense of control, flow and calm.
I was accompanied on this Jamaican trip by 2 trusted co-conspiritors plus knew i was going to a familiar place where people genuinely care for me and want to see me at my former full-power mode of near invincibility and tireless creativity.
Then, 36 hours before leaving, i took a quick Vespa ride to pick up a couple little gifts and ended up in VGH Emergency Room after wiping out and crashing up my face, arm, leg the Vespa etc. Somehow the hospital felt familiar though i’d never visited before – i suppose so many hospital visits in the past few months makes the beige chaos of a hospital common to me.
Also that day, my phone was cut off so i wandered out of the hospital confused and aching. Finally made the stoopid decision to ride the Vespa home (both the machine and the rider were in no condition to do so).
Anyhow, there we were in Jamaica – my pals out swimming and exploring while i was convalescing with icepacks and my assigned program of pills. I don’t enjoy this process.
After a week of waking up late in the day, grumpy, frustrated and blue, really blue, i tried to rally and get out in the world. I tried to roll with my pals (both foreign and domestic) but was just kidding myself. My “energy envelope” lacked the capacity for anything but chilling – otherwise the symptoms of weak, weary, confused, achey, grumpy, depressed all creep in.
I dislike all of this. But I tried to meditate my way out of it, distract myself with filling my handmade notebooks with schemes and plans, sipping a bit more rum and other potions, teas and trying to eat something. Also, my meds were running out and required a trip to a clinic, a Dr visit and pills delivered by a resourceful cabbie called Pablo. All this was to much.
The meds running out made me confused and grumpy but occasionally, i could feel my “real Dave brain” wanting to talk with strangers, build community, create conversations, find musicians. I could feel the ideas, just not how to execute them. That part simply turned to mush.
During all this healing and mental transition, i realized more time was needed in Jamaica to ensure i go home feeling better than before. Not perfect, just a little bit better. I rode to the airport with passport and ticket but hugged beloveds goodbye and returned to the cabin to try to find my equilibrium.
With the help of a Rasta called Chubby and my personal assistant/housekeeper Patsy, i started on a regimen of fresh fruit, banana/coconut porridge, fish tea/soup and a powerful tea made from herbs including (colloquial names): Strongback, Guinea Hen, Sarsaparilla, Nuni, moringa, ram goat regular, irish moss and more. It was magic. I spent my days meditating and sharing stories in Chubby’s Rasta hut (African inspired stick hexagon with a hardwood fire going most all the time).
I knew re-entry could be tough in my fragile mental state so i steeled myself for the adjustments but, upon return was hit with a major dose of hassle between paperwork and medical appointments, and some potentially distressing health news about my Dad, I’m doing all i can to stay out of the blues.
Therapists, meditation, listening records and trying to make my life as simple as possible despite all these projects i dream and yearn to do (i have books to write yo!). I am trying to be social and trying to take care of me – and doing a kinda C+ job at either.
For reference and the record – and mostly for my own reminder – what follows are four wee videos which track my mental and physical healing in Jamaica.
From getting up out of my bed trying to feel some inspiration, to regrouping in a hammock discussing herbs and soccer, to a rapid recap of progress in Chubby’s Rasta hut, and a message to future-self reminding me to remember how to live.
Here’s the first with the other three to follow right behind. I’ve shared and i’m tired and a little bit scared.
Healing Journey 3: Annotations from a Jamaican Hammock
Healing Journey 4: Feeling a Wee Bit Blue in Little Bay
Healing Journey 6: Message to Future Self from Jamaica