Depression Archive

18

The Funk

sad

“Sad things happen. They do. But we don’t need to live sad forever.” ~ Mattie Stepanek

Have you ever been mad but really can’t figure out why? I can’t explain or understand the reason, but for the last couple of weeks I have been upset at the world. I am in what some people might call a “funk.” This is where no matter what you do or what good happens you can’t seem to be happy. In my case, if I won the lottery right now I would be mad over paying the obligatory taxes!

This space is not new to me, but I always have a difficult time handling it. Unfortunately, it causes me to watch life pass me by. The worst part is I have been slapping my new-found frustrations in the faces of those around me–i.e., my husband. I receive his hints on ways to conserve energy as insults. I take his suggestions of traveling when the sun is down as belittlement. My responses to his ideas are often aloof and abrupt. Sometimes I don’t recognize what I am doing until it is too late and we are both mad. The “funk” makes me want to sit at home and do nothing. The last thing on my mind is going out in public and mingling.

But despite how I treat him, my husband still tries his best to keep me involved and interested in the world around me. In order to push through the” funk”, I have been halfheartedly agreeing to venture outside of my four walls hoping that an outing will snap me out of it. So far it has not helped. Going out actually seems to be making it worse. Being among a bunch of able-bodied people bothers me. Jealousy? You bet!

When I see individuals walking around in the mall or jogging at the park I wish I could join them. I become envious and bitter just by seeing people enjoying themselves. I can’t do what they are doing because of my body’s heat intolerance, lack of balance and my biggest nemesis, fatigue. My resentment makes me blind to having fun. This reality ruins the purpose of the entire outing. Again, I seem to play a mere observer.

I try to focus on the things I am able to do, but that trick can only take me so far before I begin to reminisce about days of old. The measures I used in the past to stop the “funk” aren’t as effective anymore. My attempts at outside excursions have fallen short and thinking happy thoughts seem more like a cliché than a remedy.

To be honest, I think this particular “funk” is because I’m quickly getting weaker. Every time I sit on my scooter I feel as if it’s sucking the strength right out of me. Everything is hard. My “new normals” are coming faster than I can accommodate; faster than I bargained for.

In the end, all I did was let loose a healthy little cry. Seems like every now and then that’s all I can do.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Original article appeared on -The National MS Society Blog

18

Run Away

tightrope

“We don’t create a fantasy world to escape reality. We create it to be able to stay.” ~ Lynda Barry

I’ve been thinking.

I hate MS!

I know what you are saying. That’s pretty obvious. Who in their right-mind likes MS?

But you don’t understand. I mean I really hate MS. I hate writing about MS. I hate talking about MS. I hate every part of having MS. The hate is so strong it consumes me.

I use to just want to run away from everything and everyone. But now I know I just want to run away from my illness. Just breakout and leave MS behind.

But I can’t.

My friends always say they need a vacation to get away from their jobs, their kids, their spouses. I tell them to do it, just run away for a little while. Everyone needs a holiday from their problems and troubles.

Too bad I can’t take my own advice. It’s impossible for me to escape my problem. It goes with me everywhere I go. It’s a MonSter that lives inside of me. He makes my body tingle. I can feel him in my feet. Like a tyrant, he controls my hands and makes me drop things. He constantly laughs at me and my confusion makes him bold.

Some days are so bad; I begin to feel like a trapped animal. On those occasions, when I just want to crawl out of my MS cage and be free, I close my eyes and fall into my dreams. My dreams tend to rescue me from the beast. They keep me alive. I just bow my head, clear my mind, and run away.

13

Savior Of Hope

hope_photo

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” ~ Maya Angelou

During a recent emergency room visit, a battery of test produced no results to why I fainted. The doctors concluded, the event was due to multiple sclerosis and I was released from the hospital.

On the drive home my husband was talking to me but I barely noticed what he was saying. All I could think about was the emergency room doctor’s words, “You are going to be discharged, because there is nothing more we can do for you”.

While my husband navigated through traffic, I sat on the passenger side of the car watching people walk by. I began to tear up. I just kept wishing I had their lives. They looked so happy. Some were laughing and having fun, while others were busy shopping. Not a care in the world. But most importantly, they all looked so healthy.

“There is nothing we can do for you”, is the definition of a chronic debilitating disease. But when I heard it live, out-loud and directed at me, the reality of it crushed my spirit. And the circumstance put me in the mist of one of the saddest moments I have ever experienced.

As we continued home, I hopelessly gazed out the car window at all the happiness around me. It was like being haunted by ghost from my past. Watching a poignant reminder of better times. My veins ran red hot from my fear I would never achieve such joy again. I was trying to smile but something inside kept the pain running through my body, depressing every part of me. Sending hollow thoughts throughout my head. My hopes had been shattered and I felt trapped by my situation.

When we approached a red traffic light, 4 blocks from my home, I made eye contact with a woman. She was sitting in a wheelchair parked on the sidewalk, clutching three grocery bags filled with clothes. The lady was visibly dirty and appeared homeless or at least in dire straits from the way her hair was matted to her head and how she was dressed.

We stared at each other for the entire light cycle. Right before it was time to accelerate through the intersection, she must have noticed the sadness on my face and gave me a big smile and a brief wave.

Hope

That simple act of kindness, felt like a whisper in my ear saying, “Everything is going to be ok.”

In return, just as the light turned green, I quickly smiled back at her. Then we zipped away. Over the next 5 minutes, I continued to think about the woman. I began to feel so ashamed of myself for having a personal pity party.

I can’t believe, despite her own trials, she was still able to recognize my pain and offer me some compassion.

Once we got home, I felt so bad, I told my husband to bring me back to the spot where I had seen the woman. But by the time we returned, she was gone.

I’m not sure what I would have done if she had still been there but something was drawing me back. I think I would have at least said thank you for being so nice or offered her something she may have needed.

Throughout our lives, we give and receive help and never know where it will come from or when it will be needed. I guess this was my turn for someone to help me and I am so glad she did. She renewed my belief in faith, hope and happiness.

16

Hope Killer

hope

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Last week, while at physical therapy, I fainted and was unresponsive. As a result, my therapist called 911.

When I regained consciousness, two EMS paramedics were standing over me checking my pulse. After a quick analysis, they found my blood pressure had dropped low enough for them to insist I be taken to a nearby hospital.

So off I went, flashing lights and sirens blasting, for the second time in two months. My husband, who by now is a professional at this, followed behind the ambulance in our car.

IMG_0770

Once I got to the hospital, the staff ran an array of test on me. After four hours of observation, all of my vital signs were back to normal but they still had no idea why I fell unconscious.

The doctors came into the room and told me I could go home and suggested I follow up their exams with a visit to my primary doctor. They concluded, the incident was do to multiple sclerosis.

I was told, “You are going to be discharged, because there is nothing more we can do for you”.

When I heard his declaration, it cut through me like a knife. I never knew words from a stranger could hurt so much. It was so strong and powerful; a deep wound was put on my hope of ever getting better.

16

Guilt Ridden

Love

“Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.” – Gretchen Rubin

Physically, I’ve been feeling okay, but emotionally I’m ridden with guilt.

I’ve come to realize, the more I have trouble accomplishing task, the more it leaves my loved ones around me, picking up my slack. And that deficiency makes me feel guilty, grateful and sad all wrapped up in one.

When I’m tired, my husband literally has to dress me. He also has to feed me and help me use the restroom. To be honest, from time to time, I lower my head in shame when he’s helping me in public because it makes me feel like a dependent failure.

I know, I should be celebrating I have so much support in my life. But instead, I sometimes spend my whole day grieving over all the things MS has taken away from me. I just get caught up in dwelling on my old life and career. I get so engrossed with my problems; it causes me to dismiss other people’s issues as trivial as compared to mine. I’ve never been a fan of running from difficulties but the pain from MS sometimes has me wanting to hide away from the world. The disease consumes me and all the independence I have lost because of it, rings in my head.

So when I’m feeling sorry for myself, I sometimes forget how much my husband has to give up for me. He use to jog in the park but doesn’t do that anymore because I’m afraid to be left alone. That sucks for the both of us. Especially, since he always makes sure I make it to all my workouts and physical therapy.

The problem is, I don’t know how to show him how much I appreciate him. So, what can I do to express my immeasurable love and gratitude? I need ideas.

What are some small things you do to show your love?

11

Living On The Edge

ID-100157813

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I feel as if I’m slipping into depression. I know the signs. Not only because I’m a nurse by profession but also because my own father has dealt with it the majority of his life. Over the years, he’s come a long way. Of course, if you ask my mother, she may have a different story to tell. She’s the one who has to live with him everyday.

So, I have been proactive about this slide down hill into that unforgiving black hole. I returned to my psychiatrist. I’m trying to avoid sleeping all day. And I started reading again.

What made me even realize I may be having a problem is my support group leader asked the question to everyone, “What do you do to improve your quality of life?” I personally had a list of answers, which included therapeutic horseback riding and visiting the local gym as often as possible. But these things don’t always work because when it’s raining there is no horse back riding. And here in Louisiana, it’s always raining. Plus, sometimes I just cannot make it to the gym because of other obligations or I’m just too tired.

And although I have my husband, I just get plain old lonely. It seems as if the lives of my friends are rolling along smoothly. While I’m stuck, stuck in the muck of multiple sclerosis. And it stinks.

I haven’t been doing the things that I usually enjoy. For example, it took a lot for me to even blog today. I spend a lot of time resenting those around me that are physically able-bodied. This is wrong, selfish, and unhealthy for me. And I know this. But that’s how my mind works when I’m living on the edge of depression.

31

A Friend Indeed

10344810_10203952650524600_3357282192268339255_n - Version 2

“Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone”
– Maya Angelou

Lately, I have been feeling down. Unfortunately this is nothing new. Two to three times a year I go into a “funk”. Not sure what it is but I really hate when it happens.

I mentioned this to my MS support group and after hearing about my troubles, a fellow MS group member, invited me to hangout with her for the weekend.

Sue, who has become a good friend and confidant, recommended we attend the New Orleans Oyster Festival. I agreed and we set a time and chose Sunday as the date.

Once the big day came, I was so excited. As soon as I woke up I began getting ready. As I was putting on my clothes, I could hear the patter of rain on my bedroom window. I looked outside and sure enough it was raining. I felt like crying. Then the phone rang. It was Sue. I just knew she was going to cancel. I answered the phone with a melancholy hello. She ecstatically answered back, “You ready?”

I said, “Sue, it’s raining.”

She replied, “If MS can’t stop us, how we gonna let a little rain stop us? Girl, put on a hat and let’s go!”

10380766_10203952651164616_3517746788913367644_n

So we met on the Riverwalk in the rain. We were able to find some shelter and settled in to eat our charbroiled oysters and shrimp po’boys. The sun even peaked out and gave us a thirty-minute reprise so we could see the bands play music and watch an oyster-eating contest.

On the way home, I just felt so happy. Yes, my issues were still present but for a little while I was able to escape the worry and tension that always accompany my problems.

It’s funny how friends and family can come through just when you think no one cares. Yes, a friend in need, is a friend indeed.

unnamed

unnamed