They of course include, Sleepy, Happy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Bashful, and Dopey. There's even a few new characters added to the troop- Spazzy, Itchy, Dizzy, Thumper, Achy, and my arch nemesis- Whadafug-the king of the dysfunctional dwarves.
SleepySleepy is not my favorite of the dwarves, but he is definitely one of the more tolerable to share a body with.
Fatigue - I have the energy levels of an 80 year old woman. I have been known to fall asleep in odd places (like in the shower), and chasing the cat around the house is equivalent to the Tour de France.
Constipation- Sometimes I think my bowels just go to sleep all together. Sometimes I wish I was capable of doing jumping jacks just to try and wake them up.
Poor Circulation- My extremeties tend to fall asleep quite often, unless I remember to move them around. I've developed a few interesting little shakes that counteract the pins and needles, as well as give a good laugh to anyone who might be in the same room.
Lazy Pupils- There are a few reasons why I get blurry vision and headaches; one of them being "lazy pupils". Basically, my pupils are slow to expand and contract to changes in light, so sometimes I get too much light and sometimes too little. This makes it very difficult at times to focus when I'm doing important things like, say, driving a car!
HappyHappy is my most favorite of the dwarves. When he comes out, I do my best to make him so comfortable that he will want to stay longer. Unfortunately he tends to get overpowered pretty easily by his bully brothers, but I always know he's there.
Euphoria- Sometimes I will fall into a sense of euphoria. Life will seem kind of unreal, but not in a bad way. I will feel very lofty; like as if I'm floating around on clouds. Even though reality seems so far away in this state, it really does come as a welcomed break.
Laughing Spells- These are great, although many times inappropriate. I think that my wires get crossed sometimes and I will just get the urge to laugh my ass off at nothing, or at things that really aren't supposed to be funny. I'm sure that the people around me think that I'm absolutely mad sometimes. Maybe I am just going crazy :)
Energetic Bursts- These don't come very often, but when they do it's always out of nowhere. They aren't the same as the horrible adrenaline bursts. These little bursts usually coerce me to spontaneously dance to a jingle on television, or to actually get some task done that I've been repeatedly doing in my mind.
Daydreaming- This happens more than the others. I've learned to channel Happy when I feel really bad and drift off into lovely day dreams. These dreams are what keeps me going.
Sneezy and I have been going at it for most of my life. He's annoying, unpredictable, and has the tendency to make me downright miserable. He's a controlling S.O.B. who loves to play games with my head and loves making me solve his annoying riddles. He also changes his mind all the time. One day he will be ok with something, the next day he will not allow it. He's one of the most irritating of all my bedfellows.
Allergies- I've always had allergies to typical things- dust, mold, dander. But since the plague hit me, it's as if I am allergic to everything in the world. Things that used to never bother me now create a horrible roller coaster of reactions that I would not wish on anyone. Foods, chemicals, cosmetics, airbourne particles....I never know when the next attack is coming. To make matters even worse, my body goes through stages of deciding to be allergic to something and then all of a sudden not, only to react to it again weeks later.
Food Intolerances- Although these are not quite considered allergies, they still create many of the same uncomfortable symptoms.
Congestion- I'm an infinite booger ball. Clogged nose half the time, always waking up with the feeling of mucous coating my lungs. Pretty sexy huh?
Ooooh Grumpy. No one likes Grumpy at all, including me. Grumpy is the product of an old habit, combined with hormones gone haywire. I try and keep him down but sometimes he's just too powerful. That's when the person next to me night get a verbal beat down for breathing the wrong way.
Anger- I get angry. I get angry about the things that I can't do anymore. I get angry watching people do the things that I can't anymore. I get angry at my body and I get angry at the world. Sometimes I get angry for no apparent reason, or at the dumbest things.
Frustration- It's very frustrating to remember a life that once was, and no longer is. It's also very frustrating to have to put so much effort into simple things that used to be no big deal. Sometimes I find myself very frustrated and annoyed with everything.
Bashful likes to creep up on me. Unlike Sneezy or Grumpy, it usually takes a while before I notice that he's there. Then all of a sudden "Oh yeah there's Bashful again"
Depression- Although I'm generally not a depressed person, I do get waves of severe depression that will send me into a serious funk. I'll lose interest in everything, and it will take all the willpower I have just to get out of bed. Days like this I want to just close myself off to everything. There was a time that I would contemplate suicide ALOT, but thankfully those days are gone.
Apprehension/Anticipation- I have been in a state of illness for so long now it's as if my body is now trained to expect the worst. Leaving home is not only a physical feat, but also a mental struggle. I feel safe in my home, but generally not anywhere else. It's amazing the trauma that a chronic illness creates in the mind!
I wish that my Dopey were the same silly happy-go-lucky dwarf that Snow White had. My Dopey hangs around most often of all the dwarves. He makes day to day life an adventure. Sometimes it's comical, sometimes it's sad, and sometimes it's down right irritating. I really can't wait for the day that Dopey decides to take up residence somewhere else.
Brain fog- Dealing with brain fog is like a person with good vision trying to see clearly while wearing the glasses of someone who is clinically blind. It's exactly how the name sounds- foggy brain. It's hard to think straight, and simple processes suddenly become very complex. Concentration becomes poor, and normal actions that would not require much thought- like working the dishwasher- become a strategically thought out process. It's like a never ending film that clogs up thoughts and messes with the body's internal communication. Not to mention it makes you look like a dimwit to normal people.
Short term memory loss- Long term memory works just fine, it's the short term I have trouble with. I forget names and faces very easily (which often offends people even though I don't mean to). I will forget where I put things and I will forget things that people say to me. Often times we will find lost objects in very strange places- like the car keys in the freezer, or the baking paper sitting on the shoe rack in the bedroom closet. Post its have become my best friend, and I stick the little notes everywhere to remind myself of what I'm supposed to be doing.
Speech Slurring- Sometimes I will have trouble making my jaw work properly and my speech will slur. Then I will watch the "this girl must be drunk" expression that comes over the face of whoever I'm trying to talk to.
Spazzy is definitely in my top three worst bedfellows. He's spontaneous, irrational, and completely intolerable. When he comes along, he comes on strong and he doesn't quit until he's made his point. He makes everything uncomfortable and scary.
Anxiety- Hands down, anxiety is the absolute most horrible feeling in the world. Anxiety is like being trapped in a tiny box with limited air and no way out. It comes out of nowhere sometimes, and if let to its own devices, will cause complete meltdown. It makes you feel like you want to jump out of your own skin and run for the hills. If I could never feel an anxiety attack again it would be too soon.
Muscle Spasms- Sometimes my legs will twitch for no reason. It's also been happening to the joints in my elbows recently too. My face will do it sometimes, and when I'm in public people will think I'm giving them the stink eye. This is both entertaining and annoying at the same time.
Irrational Thoughts- Why my brain decides to do this I have no idea. Before I got sick I was very brave and confident. Now I find myself thinking the stupidest, most irrational thoughts. I even know it's silly. I wish someone would tell my brain how stupid it sounds. And to make matters worse, irrational thoughts and anxiety are best buds. So usually there is never one without the other.
Racing Thoughts- These can be rational or irrational, but they move very fast. It's as if someone opened up a flood gate and the thoughts just pour in without any sort of order whatsoever. It's like trying to listen to a song in fast forward, or trying to watch a show when someone is feverishly abusing the channel changer. The racing thoughts are also pretty tight with anxiety, but don't have quite the bond with it as the irrational thoughts do.
Chest Tightness/Spasms- This is also a horrendous feeling. When I first started to get this I thought I was having a heart attack. Now I've learned to recognize it and deal with it. It always passes, but it's scary as hell while it's happening. It feels like being strangled from the inside out. Feeling like you can't breathe is the worst feeling ever.
Buzzing Joints- I get this weird buzzing sensation in my joints sometimes. Like there is an angry bee in there trying to break free.
Itchy has to be the most annoying of the dwarves. His type of torture is slow and methodical. Enough to drive anyone insane.
Itchy Skin- I itch EVERYWHERE. And at times for no apparent reason. My skin is not dry, it's more of a nerve type itch. Sometimes it will feel as though there are bugs crawling under my skin. It's awful! It happens most often at night, and sometimes I will wake up in the morning looking like I got into a fight with a wolverine.
Rashes- These are usually 2-5 days of pure hell. They like to manifest on my neck, thighs, and belly but have been known to migrate elsewhere. I'm told that they are a detox reaction but they are true misery. When I get a rash, I can look forward to not sleeping for a few days, and lots of aloe vera.
Yeast Infections- Yup, there can't be a party unless good old candida is invited! These are also equal to a week of itchy, burning misery. Luckily I don't get them as much as I used to, but every once in a while candida will decide to get pissed off and send me a reminder that it's still hanging on.
Dizzy is another one at the top of my list of most intolerable. He also sneaks up on me, especially at the most inopportune times. His favorite ride to take me on is the tilt-a-whirl, and he is very demanding. He commands attention right that second, and I have no choice but to do what he wants.
Dizziness- This usually happens because of my orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure upon standing), or if I get really imbalanced in my sodium levels. The world will start spinning very quickly, and the feeling of collapse will be very strong. My body will turn to jello and I will have to lay down.
Nausea- This always comes on as a result of being dizzy. Sometimes I can puke, sometimes I can't. It's a gamble.
Thumper is pretty constant. I've learned to ignore him for the most part, but still know that he's always there. I guess I've just learned to adapt to living with him.
Heart Palpitations- I rarely get a racing heart anymore (unless I get real low on sodium). I do, however have a constant strong heartbeat. It's not irregular, it's just very strong. Da dum Da dum Da dum...all day long 24-7. I can always feel it in my chest, but sometimes the heartbeat will migrate to my fingers, feet, stomach, or head. It's not as strong as it used to be, so I believe that it is going away slowly. I have not yet met one doctor that has been able to explain why this is always here. Pretty sad.
Pounding head- I will get a painful pounding in my head that comes on very quick, and then leaves very quick. It's like some weird, fleeting headache. Perhaps the shadow of a migraine?
Achy likes to hang out mostly in the morning. He tries to make me believe I'm 80 years old. Other times he will come around at night if I've had a particularly hard day, or if I've over exerted myself (like stretching or walking for longer than 15 minutes at a time).
Muscle stiffness/aches- This is the worst thing about waking up. Every morning I wake up feeling as if I was hit by a mack truck. The pain radiates through my entire body and sometimes it's so bad that it's paralyzing. I usually have to lay in bed and try to move my body little by little to get circulation going, which may relieve some of the pain. It usually takes an hour or two for the pain to subside.
Headaches and Migraines- Need I say more? They can come on for various reasons- light changes, foods, chemicals, something in the air, low sodium, dehydration...and the list goes on
Cramps- These happen mostly in the gut, and are usually accompanied with bloating, gas, and sometimes nausea. I also get them quite severely during period time.
Back/neck pain- I'm sure that this is a result of unconscious tension, but boy is it a bitch to deal with.
TMJ- My jaw always feels tight, and sometimes I will feel the pain all the way into my ears.
And last but certainly not least.....
Whadafug - the king of the dysfunctional dwarves
Whadafug is the one who is responsible for all the craziest symptoms. It's always a surprise with him, and he is the one who all the other dwarves follow. He and I are in constant war over who will ultimately rule the body. He likes to throw curve balls, and his favorite past time is baffling entire teams of medical professionals.
Spontaneous blood pressure drops- It will happen for no apparent reason. My sodium levels will be fine, I will have eaten, and be relaxed. Then out of no where the blood pressure will drop, and then dizzy, spazzy, and sleepy will show up soon after. Doctors still have no clue why this happens
Inner tremors- It's like having your own personal earthquake. I don't outwardly shake, it's more of an inner vibration. I've been tested for Parkinson's and a few other neurological diseases that might cause this but all tests have come out negative. Leaves every neurologist scratching their heads.
Air Hunger- Picture this. You're sitting in a room filled with oxygen, but for some reason you feel like it is escaping your lungs. Air hunger is like when you take a breath but feel like you're not getting enough air. You can breathe, but you can't get a good breath. It's torture.
Hot/cold spells- My inner thermostat is totally dysfunctional. I will be freezing in 80 degree weather, and be hot when it's 60 out. My hands and feet will get cold, but they will sweat at the same time. Sometimes, one side of my body will be hot and the other side will be freezing. My friends are very amused when I ask them to hold my hands and they witness this phenomena for themselves.
Hypoglycemia- Low blood sugar is one of the worst experiences a person can go through. It makes traveling incredibly inconvenient, and also makes getting a full night sleep nearly impossible.
Jelly limbs- Sometimes I will be walking and my legs will decide to become more like jello, making it very difficult to keep walking. This also happens to my arms, and to my jaw when I'm trying to speak.
Burning Chest- Sometimes it's heartburn, sometimes Whadafug decides to set my chest on fire.
Random tingling/burning- At times I get random tingling and burning sensations throughout my body. They come and go.
I look forward to the day that these unwanted guests will finally get evicted for good.
I hope you've enjoyed reading my list of strange bedfellows. Do you also share a body with some of these dwarves? Do you have different dwarves than I? I'd love to hear about them.