Saturday, March 28, 2009

Update: Depression, Suicide, Happiness

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated, and I’m sorry to leave everyone hanging. The past two weeks have been pretty hard for me, and every time I remembered to update I found myself too tired/dizzy/light-headed/achey to sit down and write. And even though I am currently exhausted and in pain, I think 2 weeks is too long to go without an update.

So, let’s see. In the last two weeks, I have been suicidal and depressed, started my Avonex injections, attended my first MS social group, felt incredibly happy, and started contemplating going on disability. Yes, it’s been two LONG weeks.

It’s hard to say when the MS-related depression started, because I have been somewhat depressed my whole life. I know that once the extreme leg pain started, pretending to be happy became harder and harder. Nothing is more depressing than be in so much pain that you can’t see straight and there’s nothing you can do about it. It was so bad that I would take melatonin each night and cry myself to sleep. In addition, the pain and stiffness in my legs got so intense that I couldn’t care for myself. I have always been very self-sufficient and suddenly I was a 24-year old woman who couldn’t even shower without assistance. On the days when I was home alone, I would sit on the couch weeping until my partner came home.

This is when the suicidal thoughts came in. Not just because of the pain, but because I felt that I was not living the life I’ve always wanted to live. I’ve never wanted to be stagnant or needy and all of a sudden, that’s what I was. All I could think was, “What kind of life is this?” I’ve fought so hard to get a good education, find a good job (that I’m really good at), find my soul mate, and find happiness, and now it’s all changed. Because of MS, I can’t enjoy my life. And I sat on my corner of the couch, drenching the arm with my tears, when Oprah came on. It was the episode with Montel Williams. No lie! I dried my eyes and started watching his tearful confessions. He is very open about his struggle with MS, depression, and suicidal thoughts. I looked at him describing the exact situations that I experienced and thought, “If he can do it, I can.”

It was as if an old light bulb in the back of my head started to flicker on and I remembered all of the things I had to live for and the promise I made to myself. When I started college, I told myself that I would never try to take my own life again. And I mean it just as much as I did 7 years ago. That’s why I started this journal in the first place. I know it may seem cliché and silly to have a “best life” blog, but I need this space to sort out the bad and remind myself of the good. While the crying hasn’t stopped and the depression still comes and goes, I am generally happier. And I count that as a victory.

Moving on… I have started the Avonex. My first independent injection was Thursday, March 26. I hesitated a bit, but I did it. Phew! The injection site is a little sensitive, but I didn’t have any major flu-like symptoms like I did the first time. I am counting this as a victory and I look forward to doing this every Thursday from now on.

Last Saturday, I attended the East Bay Lesbians with MS group. (There are groups for everything!) It was actually a lot of fun. I’m not usually a social person, but I had a good time talking with the ladies and learning about their ways for coping and managing symptoms. I was the youngest there by 20 years (I’m used to it), but they were hilarious women who all have a huge grasp on life.

I’ve had a lot of moments of happiness in the last two weeks. Yep, intermingled with the suicidal thoughts has been happiness. Other than meeting other EBLs with MS, I also bought a new cane, got “married,” and found a new place to live (with a pool). Yay!! I will post pictures of my new cane when I get a chance and take some decent photos. I purchased it from and I love it! I plan to order another one for our Big Ole Fancy Wedding in July.

I’m sorry I didn’t say anything when it happened, but my partner and I filed the Domestic Partnership Paperwork and were legally joined on March 17, 2009. YAY! I took her last name and have been busy doing all the official name change stuff. It’s super exciting for both of us. We’re still having our big celebration in July and will count that date as our wedding date.

My finally happy moment is finding a new place to live that doesn’t have stairs or neighbors who smoke. The place we chose also has 2 pools which will be great for exercise. They also have a gym and I can’t wait to use a stationary bike to keep my knees strong. Our apartment is on the first floor and even has a patio. This should be really great.

This has gotten really long, so I’m going to end it now and write a separate entry about working and going on disability. This is a very new development and I may need to ramble a bit on the subject.

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