Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I am not my illness, but I could go there so easily...

“It would be so easy to sink into my illness and hide.”

When my Psychiatrist asked me how I knew when my depression level was high and asked me if I ever had thoughts of suicide and self-harm, that was my answer. I know what depression is. I’ve had bouts of it here and there, mostly in response to stressful situations. It shouldn’t have surprised me that for most MS patients, depression is a symptom. Not only is it depressing to have an incurable disease that many people don’t understand, but it is a disease that causes damage to the brain. Yet I was surprised how real it was. 

Sclerosis=scars; Multiple=many
In my Brain and Spinal Column

(Just take a moment to process what that means and could potentially mean over time. No, I can't just stop thinking about it and just get over it.)

I really don’t know how to be sick, to tell you the truth. I’m ambitious. I have goals. I’m a runner. I’m a business owner. I have political aspirations (you have NO idea how big…well some of you do, don't you? πŸ˜€). I want to be supermom. I want to play with my kids. I want to have a financially stable home.  (Yes I have my GoFundMe up because we're not out of the woods yet. I'll be shutting it down soon though.) I want a clean, organized house. I don’t want to rely on others to do it for me. I hate the fact that my working fewer hours at a job that is very physical has put financial stress on my family. I don’t like asking others to take care of me no matter how desperately I might need that. Asking people to do the things I used to do just sucks.

Having to remind people, having to ask multiple times…kills me by inches. It tells me that I am a burden to those around me. I’m sort of the brains of this operation, as in I keep the schedule, the books, and the duty roster. And I keep getting reminded that I’m not always equipped to do that, not when I’m responsible for keeping all the other plates spinning at this circus too. Not when I physically refuse to stop because my surroundings will be depressing otherwise, am under a tremendous amount of stress while I try to compensate, and I then begin to have cognitive issues as a result.

I’m in a hell of my own design.
Just because there’s a smile on my face doesn’t mean I’m not struggling.

I didn’t raise my younger kids to “pitch in” as much as I should have. And teaching them what is expected makes every task more exhausting in some ways. I want people to know that I have a very loving family who helps me whenever I ask. And we’re working together to find a system that will make all the above easier. It’s just that getting such a thing together takes time, planning and growing pains. Success doesn’t come without effort. And sometimes I feel like my energy is wasted on keeping track of all the plates even when someone offers to take over a couple of spins here and there.  Because the moment I take my eyes off them, plates start to fall and it's more work to get them started than if I’d just kept them going. Sometimes the loud crash as it happens sends me into a fit of giggles. Come on, the human condition is funny when it comes to how imperfect we are. 

The truth is, I feel like a failure.

For the most part, I can see the humor in it because my frustration with myself and the situation is greater than my frustration with anyone around me. However, humor takes energy too and sometimes the struggle threatens to overwhelm me. It really isn't about them, it's about me and what I was once capable of on my own compared to now. 

Let me be perfectly clear: No, I don't want to die. 

Life is hard but I do have a life worth living. However, if I said I didn't struggle with the temptation to give up on a daily basis, I'd be lying. Because it would be so easy to sink into my illness and hide. 

And here are the reasons why I don't. 

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