It's been seven months to the day since my last blog post. I'm still here. Just...busy. As I said in my previous post (all those months ago), there are things besides blogging which I devote what energy I have to. It's not that I don't want to blog, or that I have nothing to say. It's just that this little corner of the Internet isn't very high on my priority list compared to other things. I've often thought about things I'd like to put here - thoughts and feelings and the like, but again...when there's time, there's no energy, and when there's energy, there's no time, so...yeah. This blog gets neglected. If I have any regular readers, I apologize to you for the long absences.
Energy is a big, big thing for me. A friend pointed out this article to me about the Spoon Theory, and we've started to use the phrase "I don't have any spoons left" in our house. It's been helpful. Things like "be sure and save a spoon so we can ______" have become a regular part of conversations. The article is worth a read, even though it's not directly about MS. The principle is the same.
There's another thing, too. I figured I would experience it sooner or later, but it really crept up on me and came as something of a shock when the same friend pointed out to me that what I was dealing with was textbook clinical depression. I was really surprised. Not because I had any delusions of "oh, that won't happen to me," but because I thought since I knew what to expect with my condition, I'd recognize it if it started to affect me and be able to stay ahead of it. Realizing/recognizing/accepting there's a problem is the first step toward recovery, right? Apparently that only works if you know something is there. I didn't even see this coming. I knew something was going on - it's not like me to want to do absolutely nothing but watch trash TV. I stopped eating, slept only when I couldn't keep my eyes open, didn't care about anything beyond caring for my pets. Feeding them, letting the dog out and cleaning the litter boxes were pretty much the highlights of my days there for awhile, because I may neglect myself with not eating or bathing (I know, ew, but hey...energy remember?), but unless I'm completely unable to move, I will not neglect my animals. I'll die first.
I talked to a few people who suffer from clinical depression and other mental illnesses who deal with what I was feeling on a day-to-day basis. They gave me some suggestions for dealing with things, and I feel myself normalizing. More than once my doctor has suggested an antidepressant medication, and I've refused, and will continue to refuse. It's not that I don't believe in them - I know they help many people and are useful tools - but I don't believe they're right for me. I've been on them before for other reasons, and I don't like the way they make me feel. Besides, I take enough pills as it is. As long as I know what it is I'm dealing with, I know how to fight it.
Yeah, it's hard, and yeah, I catch myself slipping, but for me it's all about getting around that little inner voice that puts up barriers and lies about everything. For me, also, it's about "can't" vs. "won't." Can I eat, or won't I? Which is it? If it's "can't," I tell the little voice to shut the hell up and get something to eat, even if it's just a piece of cheese or a slice of bread. If it's "won't," that's different. I'll get something later or ask my husband to bring me something home/make something. Can I not take a shower, or do I just not want to? If I can't, fine. I'll do it later. If I just don't want to, I tell myself to shut the hell up and get my stinky ass in the shower. Am I really too tired to _____, or am I just being a whiny little bitch and using my condition as an excuse not to do something? That's really what it's all about for me. With that and persistence, I'm slowly climbing out of the hole this depression shit has buried me in.
I'm very lucky to have the supportive and understanding friends and family I do. I realize that. I can't express the gratitude I have for the people in my life who help and support, but even they can't help when reality hits me square in the face. There are times - more often now than they used to be - when the reality of my condition is all too apparent.
I'm going to go ahead and put a Whiny Little Bitch Disclaimer here. Things are about to get really heavy right now, so WARNING: DRAMA AHEAD. Stop here if you don't want to read my woe. For those who don't mind, read on.