I haven’t written about my health here for a while now. Not because nothing has happened—lots has—but for a reason that it took me until this morning to figure out. I’ll post a catch-up on the health specifics soon, but wanted to say something first…

I didn’t stop and think (much) before I started doing these posts. In the very first one, I said it was a largely selfish endeavor, and that remains true.

What I never anticipated was how crucially important the support of my tribe, my extended family, my friends and frenemies, would be through this process. Your encouragement and love have given me the oomph to keep going when things have been most dark. When I have a lousy day, you make me feel better. A sense of belonging gives me a purpose that I need. Say whatever you like about “thoughts and prayers,” but they do help. In completely tangible ways.

Having this condition has proven to be more frustrating than anything I’ve ever experienced. That’s mostly because my brain is (except for the hour twice a day after I take the pills that make me fuzzy) just fine. I make choices and decisions just as well (and, occasionally, poorly) as I ever did. It’s my heart that’s wonky.

I am incredibly lucky to have people in my life who care about my well-being. When people care, they want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, and they want to do whatever they can to help. I’ve never been someone who has trouble asking for or accepting help, and now, it seems like maybe that trait has been incubating in preparation for this time in my life.

But here’s the thing: When you’re sick, and people care about you, they treat you differently. With more care. Sometimes caution. They offer advice, and sometimes make decisions they think will be helpful to you.

Most of the time, I’m immensely grateful for that.

Sometimes, though, it’s frustrating. Makes me want to yell about how my brain isn’t broken, and I’m still capable of talking, thinking, and deciding. If I can’t do something, I’ll say so.

I was lucky enough to go to the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Yorkshire last month. It was fantastic. After I was back home, one of the authors I saw there apologized for not asking about my health. I told him completely honestly that it was wonderful to be around people who expressed care, concern, love, and humour, and it was also really nice and refreshing to have someone not ask.

Which gets me back to why I took a little break from posting. I needed to figure this out, and realize that if I decide to write honestly about what I’m going through with my health, I don’t get to do so with conditions or on anyone’s terms but yours. Because you’re taking the time to read this. You care enough to do so.

And for that I am truly grateful, even in my frustrated moments.

So I’m going to keep writing these updates. And I’ll keep trying to do so as openly and honestly as I can. And when I see you, if you want to know how I’m doing, I’m happy to tell you as much or as little about it as you’d like to know.