I am trying to claw my way out of a lengthy depression (any depression is too long) . However, I did not crash emotionally today and feel sad and hopeless. Although I did have to lay down after a few hours up. Did I mention I have MS? I was diagnosed in 2002 after having it off and on since I was a kid. What a long strange trip it's been. Depression often accompanies MS as part of the disease process itself and not just as a reaction to having the disease. Although it often contributes to it for me.
I have just had a really rough year beginning last April with ER visits due to MS flares that eventually got so bad the last trip was via ambulance. It was decided that the heat of Lousiana was contributing a huge amount to my flares and I went to stay with a cousin in Maine for the summer. It was healing and lovely and I spent time with family I hadn't seen in years. I got a lot better and returned home in October.
Thank the gods I got better. It was my only goal when leaving for Maine. And I should have been happy with that but I have been going through headtrips like you just wouldn't believe. Not only did I get so sick I had to be transported by ambulance but I was paralyzed all 3 times and didn't know what was happening to me. It was horrifying. All I could think about laying there on the guerney being wheeled at lightning speed down the hospital corridor "omigod, this is what it's like to be catastrophically sick like with a heart attack or stroke. I might not get out of this alive."
Truly facing my own mortality on an emotional and not just intellectual basis was FREAKY. We are all so fragile. Our hold on this life is so tenuous. It could cut loose any moment for any reason with no warning and leave us helpless and or dead.
I am making plans to go to Maine, this time in much better health and all the while knowing it could happen all over again. Same time last year. I have laid low since November and was sick for a month with a virus after Christmas, but after going on some different meds for the MS (Tysabri) I seem to be stabilizing. This is all SO GOOD....
But it is not the life I once had. I worked and did wildlife rehabilitation and hiked and canoed and had a very full life before all this came down. I had periods of sickness that came and went and this kept me from progressing in a steady way professionally...it was a lot of diagonals and switchbacks and timeouts and 2 steps forward 3 steps back kind of thing. But I just took everything in stride, hoping for a diagnosis and a cure someday.
I made the most of it. I took care of myself when I needed to. I knew enough to do that. I think it was AFTER the diagnosis that I had a hard time facing my limits and respecting them. It is how I ended up getting so sick. Not listening to what my body was telling me and denying that I could not keep up even HALF the pace I used to.
So that is what it finally took to get me to accept the fact that I have some serious limits on what my body can do and not do. An ambulance ride while paralyzed. Plus I have to live in two different places which makes it hard to do one of the things left that I had a passion for: gardening. Oh well. I am better and thank the gods I have somewhere to go when it gets hot. At least for now.
Again, the main problem, I got really depressed because of the disease flaring and in reaction to my acceptance of my failing body. I guess that is where I finally am: staring acceptance in the face. So maybe it will get better. Took me 8 years post diagnosis to come to grips with this. I guess depression could be a normal response and even a healthy one. Despair would be a natural state when faced with this magnitude of loss of one's functioning in life. I tried to outrun the knowledge, I tried like hell. But the truth will out every time.
It may be asking too much for grace at this point, or even joy in my life. But I am officially making them my goals in the coming migration next month. Some people would envy my predicament...what she has to spend the summer in Maine...poor baby....But it has all been a huge upheaval and a lot to come to terms with. In the middle of it my other half lost his job last November so we have that added stress to complicate things. Writing this has given me some hope that this is just a reaction to an unnatural state of being for me. And that I can psychically heal from this depression and rediscover meaning and purpose and joy and happiness. And maybe even a little grace.