by Jeannine Czop
When people ask me how I’m doing, like many people, I always reply “fine,” or “good days and bad days, but I’m doing good.” Those are my default answers, for my friends, family, and doctor. I don’t think they want to know how I really feel.
In light of the tragic news of Robin Williams passing last week I wanted to write on depression and multiple sclerosis. Depression is a common symptom of MS. I have been having a hard time though, because I really didn’t know how to write about the subject without coming off as some kind of expert, which I’m not. I don’t want to say here’s what I have been through and I came through it swimmingly, because I didn’t. I only know my experience.
If I were to be honest I’d say:
“Well, today I’m feeling an overwhelming sense of dread and self loathing, but it’s better than the anxiety attack I had two days ago when I took the girls across town to the mall for school shopping.”
“I pretty much hurt everywhere and live on ibuprofen and coffee.”
“I have been crying since I dropped the girls at school today, and I don’t really know why.”
“I feel like a failure.”
“No one really cares and I don’t blame them. I don’t deserve it.”
“I wish I could just live by myself so I don’t infect others with my mood“
“I live my life in a haze, never really seeing anything clearly.”
“I’m a terrible mother. My girls deserve someone so much better.”
“I’m a burden, and it will just get worse.”
“I can’t do anything right.”
“I feel like someone dropped me in a pit, and every time I try to crawl out of it I lose my grip and bring more dirt down on myself.”
I feel like my body has completely betrayed me. I run, I eat fairly well, but I just cannot seem to get any control over my body and brain. Control. So much stems from that one word. I feel like I lost control the day I was diagnosed 23 ago, and I have been scratching and clawing to get a little bit back every day since then. I want so badly to have control over myself that I end up having control over nothing. I go about my life every day, all the while this dialogue of negativity and self-hate runs in the back of mind. Sometimes it’s just a mosquito buzz; other times it’s a raging, screaming concert, and my brain is the mosh pit.
While all this sounds very dire it’s just a fact of my life and I have learned to live with it. I sometimes reach out when I feel like I’m slipping too far under, but I admit I don’t that often because I know people have their own life dramas. My husband doesn’t really know what to do with me during these episodes. He claims to never have had any of these thoughts or feelings. I’m jealous. Makes me feel like I’m less in his eyes because I can’t snap out of it. I take my Cymbalta religiously every day and wonder what I would be like if I were not taking an antidepressant. I have tried meditation, but my mind just spins too fast to really slow it down enough. Running works like meditation for me. I look forward to my girls getting home from school and Keith coming home from work because then I can immerse myself in their days. I don’t have to think about me. Writing this blog helps greatly. It may not be written eloquently, but it’s written from heart and is a purge for my soul.
I know reading over this it doesn’t sound like I have things under control, but I do to an extent. In my darkest days I know in my heart what would happen to my family if I were to give in and hurt myself and I can not do that to them. I won’t do that to them. I will keep going on and doing my best as a wife and mother. I will give them all the love that I want to give myself. There is always going to be colder weather for me, but sometimes the sun shines through just enough to warm me.
Know you’re not alone. Maybe hearing my words echoing your own with prompt you to seek help and guidance.
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