Often I find myself wondering what can I possibly write about on this site. It seems appropriate today to just send out a reminder that no one is alone. After hearing of the death of one of my favorite actors and comedians, it reminded me of depression in MS patients. When I was first diagnosed, I thought my world had ended. Despite everything I read, and my normal half glass full attitude, as the days passed by and the doctors appointments increased in numbers, depression ensued. I went from being a healthcare provider who supported patients and encouraged them daily, to a nurse who didn't want to wake up each and every day. A mother who only thought of how bad life was and who didn't want to participate in anything. I couldn't get motivated for anything. I became withdrawn and recluse, feeling so alone. Finally, I reached out to a nurse practitioner at my physicians office. She used the exact words I had been telling my patients for years. If you break a leg,you go to the doctor for X-rays and a cast. Depression is just another condition that affects the brain and is treatable. As much as I fought the treatment, once I began anti depressant, the fog finally began to lift. I began to enjoy life again. Depression is very common as we all know. I needed the drugs for around a year and once I became more educated about MS, participated in therapy, I found that I could accept my illness and come off the drugs. Don't despair. If you find yourself feeling alone even when you have family and friends in your life, get help. This feeling of being alone and wanting it to go away is temporary. Reach out to so done. Don't do anything permanent to end a temporary bump in the road.
Someone posted some thoughts on my Facebook page that spurred me to write today's blog. Her perspective came from raising a disabled child. However, it applies to all of us dealing with MS, those who are caretakers, or those who have someone in their lives dealing with a disability. She described it like this. All your life you dreamed of going to Italy. You saved for years, you bought books, new clothes, you have made plans and dreamed about seeing the Vatican, Colosseum, and riding a gondola in Venice. It's all very exciting.
After months of planning, the day finally arrives. You board the plane and several hours go by. The stewardess finally makes an announcement. " Welcome to Holland". You are screaming " I didn't sign up for this. I've waited my whole life to go to Italy". She explains there's been a flight plan change. Holland is beautiful she says. It's here you must stay.
So, you must go and buy a new guide book, meet different people. They didn't take you to a horrible place, you are not dying. It's just different. It's a little slower and less glitzy than Italy . Once you catch your breath, don't let the bump in the road ruin everything. Open your eyes, breathe, and realize Holland has tulips, Holland has windmills, and Holland has Rembrandts.
So everyone you know is busy coming and going and talking about Italy and what a great time they had. You keep saying to yourself, " That is where I was suppose to go". Yes, being diagnosed with MS, or any type of chronic illness causes deep emotional feelings. Some feel anger, some feel sad, sometimes we get so depressed we need help. It has really interfered in your life's plans...just don't let bumps in the road take your dreams away. Activities, ideas, and dreams may need to be adjusted. If you spend your life mourning the fact you never got to Italy, you'll never see the beauty and special things Holland has to offer.
Depression can be very hard to talk to your family and healthcare providers. When we break a bone, we immediately get it set and ask for help. Depression can be treated. Our mind sometimes needs help too. Don't be afraid to ask for help. I have had many days of depression dealing with MS and or my other health issues. Reach out to someone. You need to enjoy the tulips. Life is very short . One day at a time.
A BIT ABOUT SUSAN...Susan is a registered nurse who worked in high risk obstetrics at Brigham and Women's for twenty years. She is also a certified nurse paralegal. She is currently not practicing as she is disabled because of MS. She was diagnosed 8 years ago with RRMS and has a daughter who also has MS.
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