I'm feeling blue and introspective this morning, so if you're not in the mood for that, feel free to leave. I just have the need to be brutally honest about what life has been like for me lately, so that maybe in some cathartic way, I can get this all out of my system and not be such an emotional basket case all the time.
Chronic illness changes you. I've dealt with chronic pain, and the depression that goes along with it, but chronic illness is a whole different animal. I didn't know that. In the past, when I've had the chronic illnesses (and you can search to your heart's content, you'll find a lot of stories here – I write as therapy) I've ALSO still had the chronic pain. So it was just another layer, oh look, it's not just snowing, it's a blizzard, well ok, let's hunker down and wait it out.
Some of you are new, so you don't know that a true miracle has found me, and I'm now 100% PAIN FREE. Never thought I'd see the day, but it's here, and has been since about January 2012, so I think it's here to stay. What changed my life is The Feldenkrais Method. I started on 10/3/2011. So three months and then I could walk and move and bend over and tie my shoes and crawl under the kitchen bench to retrieve the errant grape, etc. I was “real” again.
Wait, not so fast though. I was just getting my body back, getting active after three sedentary years (quick catch-up for the much appreciated slew of new followers – I was supposed to have a full hip replacement for my advanced osteoporosis, at age 47) and then I was slammed with asthma complications. Spent a good part of 2012 on bedrest. Am just coming off of round number two, as of 9/7. It's slow going. It's a snail like one step forward three steps back sort of thing. Good days. Bad days. No medium days.
Here's what chronic illness does to you as opposed to chronic pain. It takes away your self-esteem. I can't get out of bed. I can't nuke a burrito for my 12 year old. He is more than able to take care of himself food wise, this boy wants to be a chef for pete's sake. He can make dinner for the family no instructions needed. So can Jake, but there's something nurturing about your mother preparing your food for you, of her doing your laundry and folding all your clothes meticulously (yes, there's a post about my un-natural love of laundry) and filling the drawers once again with clean clothes.
I couldn't climb the stairs, I couldn't sit at the dinner table with my family. They brought dinner downstairs, onto my bed. (We're remodeling our master bedroom, there's a post about that. Put old carpet in the search box...) Life has been upside down. For a person who is a go-getter, a doer, an organizer, a leader, a take charge, a non-stop kinda a girl, there is no punishment worse than bed rest.
Now I'm free to do what I want, as long as I don't get out of breath. It's not a lot, but it's a start. Life is slowly returning, but not my sense of self. I'm still the girl in the bed, reluctantly accepting help from one and all. I don't sleep, even with sleeping pills. When I have a good day, I sometimes see the real Tina. On the bad days, she's nowhere to be found. Last week she was so far away she didn't even blog.
Have you ever dealt with chronic illness or pain? How did you handle the depression? Any psychiatric types out there with a few words of advice? Just don't tell me how great bed rest is and how many movies you get to watch...I'm likely to throw my nebulizer at you. It weighs enough to cause some damage...