I struggle with depression. Back many years ago, I didn’t struggle with it, I just gave in to it. That’s never a good thing. Thankfully at the time I had some wonderful friends who spotted what was going on with me and encouraged me to get help. It was because of that experience that I can usually sense when depression is threatening to take over again. And thankfully I’m not afraid to be open about it with my loved ones, and I know how to ask for help.
For the past month or so I’ve been sort of dipping my toes into the pool of depression again. It’s not a game I like to play. I can drive myself crazy analyzing the potential causes, searching for solutions. It’s all a bit futile, if you ask me. There are so many factors that make me a potential victim. Family history, multiple sclerosis, recent trauma… oh, and can’t leave out living in Michigan where there is a severe lack of sunshine. I need my sunshine.
I’ve been sleeping a lot, and it concerns me that I could let that go too far. I do feel rested when I sleep, so I’m trying to listen to my body’s cues and determine when it really needs rest or when it’s just the depression killing my motivation. I made a list today of some coping mechanisms. This is based off of what I learned from my housekeeping hero, The FlyLady, a long time ago: you can do anything for 15 minutes. So I have a list of the things I can do for 15 minutes, so that when I’m lacking motivation, I don’t have to think about what I can do. I just have to pick from the list. These are all things that tend to make me feel better or motivated to stay up and out of bed, like crocheting, washing dishes, journaling, showering, paying bills (no kidding lol), and blogging. On the really bad days when I can’t muster enough oomph to do even those simple things, my short list of motivators is to wash my face, get dressed, take my medicine, and/or drink a glass of water.
Depression is real, man. A dragon that is so unbelievably difficult to slay. But one day at a time, I’ll be fighting it. And if I can’t kill it, at least I’ll leave it seriously wounded, while I move on with my life.
So, I was doing the dishes today and as I leaned over to put another clean dish in the drying rack I see that there is a full cup of coffee sitting in my Keurig. I stare at it for a second or two, trying to recall brewing a cup of coffee. No one else in this house drinks coffee, so it must have been me. Yet I can’t recall. The cup is cold to the touch, so it’s been there for some time. This worries me.
I wish I could say this is a rare occurrence for me. I wish I could say it happens every now and then if I’m rushed or exhausted or whatever. Because I know it happens to lots of people. My girl friends joke about it, reassuring me that it’s just a normal part of aging. But I don’t think that’s true. I think it happens more frequently to me than it ought to, and I have to be honest: That scares the S**T out of me.
I have multiple sclerosis, and anyone with multiple sclerosis understands that every teeny tiny symptom could be a start of a relapse, or it could be nothing. Fellow MSers understand that hovering cloud of doom, threatening to take over your body once and for all. I have the relapsing kind, for now, so if I do have a relapse I can hold on to the hope that it may not be permanent. I’ve had lots of symptoms that have popped up for a couple months and then gone away, never to reappear. But on the other hand, the damage to my nerves is always permanent and will always leave the potential for problems down the road. Take my vision for example. We’re calling that episode a relapse, but it left permanent damage that will affect me the rest of my life. I will always be visually impaired this side of heaven. I don’t struggle as much with it as I did in the beginning, because by God’s grace I’ve grown and adapted, but it’s always here as a reminder.
But memory loss? I don’t know, that one seems so much scarier to me. I mean, I can deal with losing physical functions. But losing my MIND?? I don’t know. I just don’t know. It just scares me, y’all, and that’s all I wanted to share really. That though I’ve been in the best physical shape of my life lately, feeling good and having no issues, at the end of the day I still have MS. It will always be a part of me. I just have to make sure that it knows who’s the boss around here.
This new “job” doing bookkeeping for the church has been a really great thing for me. Missing the work these past four years, and wondering if I was even still capable, really wore down my confidence level. But as I do this job, day by day, my confidence is building back up. This time, however, I’m doing the work with a full reliance on God to help me through.
The only problem might be that I’m taking it a little too seriously. As my husband said to me the other night, I’m going at this like it’s my career. True, I was up a little too late straining my eyes on balancing and reconciling. I forced myself to go to bed and get some rest, but it was too late. I had already pushed myself past my limit. The next day I had some serious pain in my left eye (my ‘good’ eye). It figures the right eye was fine, as she is absolutely useless. The sharp, throbbing pain was surprisingly more tolerable than my regular headache. I just put an eye patch over that eye, sat back with a cup of coffee and my Les Mis soundtrack, and rested for awhile. It was much better by the evening, but hopefully I’ve learned my lesson not to overdo it.
Today the kids are home for a snow day so it’s nice to have the company. They are busy playing their video games and I’ve just been putzing around the house, doing some reorganizing. It’s a lazy day, and I’m loving it. I started reading Lord of the Rings this week and I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. Humor was not something I expected, but it’s given me a few laughs and I’m only on the third chapter. I’m trying to move away from my normal genre of legal thrillers. I just finished Angela’s Ashes and Cider House Rules and they were both great books. My list of books to read is growing shorter, so if you have any books you would suggest I read, let me know.
I’m struggling to find a smooth transition to a closing, so I’m just going to leave it here. Have a happy Friday everyone!
So I’ve mentioned before that I gave up meat, dairy, and eggs for health reasons. I’ve been taking note of my disappearing MS symptoms ever since giving up dairy in June. It’s seriously amazing to me how much better I feel. No fatigue, no nerve pain in my feet, no premenstrual headaches. Two of my favorite foods in the world were always coffee with half and half and pizza. So it’s been a sacrifice, for sure. But so worth it, for how good I’ve been feeling. Then earlier this week I gave into temptation, two days in a row. I ate pizza one night, and the next night a chicken & broccoli casserole with cheese. Both were delicious, I’ll admit. I was hopeful that it wasn’t enough food to have any effect on my symptoms. But then two days ago I had a hint of the nerve pain in my foot. It lasted all of five minutes and went away, so I figured that was the end of it. Not too bad, I thought, I can handle this!
Of course, I spoke too soon. Yesterday The Headache arrived. It crept in around 2 pm and by 3 it was in full force. Y’all I am the biggest baby when it comes to headaches. I have no tolerance for them. At. All. It seriously ruined my entire afternoon and while I knew it wouldn’t last and with a couple Aleve it could be taken care of, the whole time I was thinking, that food was not worth it. Not even close. So back to the vegan diet I go. It’s difficult at times, yes, and I kind of feel like a pain in the rear at family functions or other group gatherings, but I’ve gotta keep sticking with it for my health.
My husband says I get hurt more often than anyone he knows. I’m not sure if that’s true, but I certainly get hurt more than at least my immediate family. Christmas morning I burned my fingers. I was taking a pan of bacon out of the oven when I knocked off the oven thermometer. So of course I let my instinct to move it with my bare hand take over, and that lasted all of a half second before I dropped everything where I stood and proceeded to spew fudge words under my breath as I ran to the freezer to find cold things. Burns are the most painful things ever, y’all. All dern day I had to keep my fingers on ice or they would start screaming at me. So basically I was relieved of most of my planned kitchen duties, other than putting away clean dishes with my one good hand. Thank goodness my mother-in-law was there to save the day.
Then today I went to the hospital to have my monthly Tysabri infusion. All went well with the infusion, but then as I was rushing down the stairs to be sure my ride didn’t leave without me, I miscalculated the number of steps and fell down the last one or two. I’m not sure, it all happened so fast, but I think it must have been the last two steps that I missed because I twisted my ankle real good and I fell hard. I dropped everything I was holding as I went down, of course, and just laid there, afraid to move. I was looking up to see if anyone would come to help me get up. Two people across the way just stood and stared, but then eventually I was surrounded by employees from the building. A nurse offered to have me stay and get the ankle checked out, and a valet driver brought me a wheelchair. Even my paratransit driver came inside looking for me, and was able to help me into the van. I really wish I had the whole thing on tape because I think it would give everyone a good laugh. Graceful I am not.
It’s now several hours later and I’m wondering if I should have taken that nurse up on her offer to stay and get the ankle checked out. I kept my leg elevated the whole drive home and then I’ve iced the ankle periodically throughout the day, but my it is still pretty swollen and I can’t bend it. Ah, I guess I’ll just give it a little more time and rest and hopefully it will heal up on its own.
I had a case of vertigo back in early June. That time it came on really quickly, and I went to the urgent care to get it checked out. They told me it was probably resulting from a recent head cold and sent me home with some meds for the dizziness.
I have not been sick since then, but the vertigo has reappeared. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it started, but I remember having it on Saturday and it hasn’t let up since. I have no clue what’s causing it, but I’ve read that it can be common for people with MS, so I’m not all that concerned. Annoyed, yes, but not concerned. I’m sure it will go away soon. I’m hoping. It better, because I have my entire extended families coming for Thanksgiving dinner, and I would like to be able to enjoy them without having to sit down the entire time. I’m seriously walking around like a drunk person, only without the benefit of being drunk. I have to laugh, so you can too. Just picture me hobbling down the stairs, clutching the walls as I go.
Ok, well, if you could think to pray for me I would be grateful. And I pray you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, however you spend it. If anything, spend it thanking God for all you’ve been given. Peace out…
Not that my posts are never honest, just that this one is taking me a little bit of extra courage to post. I’ve got my big girl pants on here, folks.
I went to see my doctor yesterday to talk about anxiety. It’s something I’ve been struggling with for some time now, well over a year, only I’m just now realizing that’s what IT is. So I’m getting help. And in case there was any shred of doubt in my mind that this was a real problem for me, I got worked up and nervous on the way to the doctor’s, worrying that we wouldn’t get there in time (with 50 minutes still yet to spare), and then the doctor’s office made me wait for a good 30 minutes. So I sat there, appearing completely calm, while my insides itched and twitched and crawled around. My heart was racing, my chest was getting so tight it was hard to breathe. When I describe all this to my doctor, and to friends who are familiar with anxiety, they nod in reassurance that it is a real problem and I’m not crazy.
These little anxiety attacks happen more frequently than they ought to. Very often, too often, they cause me to lash out in anger at my children. They don’t deserve that (usually lol). Also it’s just mentally exhausting to be walking around in an amped up state of mind, with your insides all twitchy and restless. Honestly, it didn’t bother me quite as much when I was fatigued. I’m not saying I want to go back to the land of fatigue, of course not, I’m just saying the anxiety wasn’t as evident. I didn’t really see it for what it was because I was blaming it on the fatigue and I could always just sleep it off. But no more. Now I am healthy and I’ve got energy to feel the things I’m feeling that need to be addressed. And now I’m addressing them. Lord, don’t leave me now. I still need You every day.
I’ve thought a lot about where this anxiety is coming from. Who knows, really, but I wonder if this is the residual effects of my vision and hearing loss. Now that I’ve reconnected with people and I’m in better physical health, maybe this is part of that grief and rehabilitation process. I certainly don’t like to give my disabilities more credit than they deserve, but it’s true that I live outside of my comfort zone almost 90% of the time. Nothing looks right, nothing sounds right. It’s all still very foreign to me. I have to believe that this won’t always be true. I have to believe that I’m going to find my new comfort zone. And when I do, believe me, I will move right in. I’ll decorate it with paisley, Wonder Woman, and maybe a cowbell or two. And all my favorite people will be invited!