I know I go through long periods of time between blog posts, and I completely admit to it being my own fault. But here’s the thing:
Having an illness is lonely business.
I have spent a lot of times in forums, groups, and therapy sessions having people inform me that either they, or I, were going to go through massive depression. Being sick ostracizes you. You spend your days in silence, waiting for someone to come home. Your friends won’t understand and eventually you get left behind, but if you say something they try to make up for it and you have no way to muster up the energy to deal with socializing. Then they get frustrated and its like a terrible cycle. It’s depressing and demoralizing.
And if you actively have a healing part of your body- say a foot long scar on the back of your head and neck that’s taking more than six months to finally heal, and hasn’t yet- your body won’t even want to leave the house to get food, let alone do something fun.
Too much time has passed since your surgery so your mother in law doesn’t understand why you still need help with laundry and cleaning. Your dad keeps mentioning your weight, telling you its mind over matter. So when the doctor finally tells you its time for physical therapy you want to scream and avoid it because it reminds you of how much you hate yourself for not being able to function. Your meds make you sleep too much but if you skip them you feel like a broken marionette doll, so you drink too much coffee to stay awake and it ends up giving you heart problems.
You’re scared of going into public places on your own. What if I get hurt? What if I get into a car accident? That’s what started this whole mess in the first place. March 10th, 2014. Four years ago. I was diagnosed because a huge truck slammed into my tiny sports car and I needed a scan of my brain.
What would happen to my brain if it happened again?
And these thoughts swirl around, making it hard to get out of bed. The depression takes hold and all you want to do is be quiet and safe in your house until someone comes home and you can finally speak to another living person. The plans you had made for yourself with such exuberance don’t exist anymore.
Recipes, birthday parties, photography, blog posts? What power could those possibly have against the might of depression fueled fear? The feeling that what you do doesn’t matter because you’ve ceased to feel like a human being. Everyone else seems to just be functioning fine without noticing that the floor no longer exists beneath your feet.
Surgery was supposed to help me. I knew that it was going to be tough, but I had this vision that it would be a breeze if I just applied myself and kept my eye on the goal of recovery. I had always been able to ignore tough situations and pull through pretty well. A skill I learned from having a pretty terrible family and having to figure out how to survive on my own merit. No one but my husband would be there for me, even though everyone basically lives a 20 minute drive away from me, and I was prepared to deal with it. Like I have my entire life. But this time the lack of a supportive family destroyed my heart. I needed this surgery so I wouldn’t die and my own mother couldn’t come to the hospital to make sure I woke up from surgery. Or inquire about me for another month. The lack never bothered me before. It fueled the demon of my depression now and I’m ashamed I allowed it to happen. I know better.
It’s not my intent to ramble on and complain about how hard this has been for me. It’s taken me six months to really come back from the nightmare I subconsciously imprisoned myself in, and I’ve learned a few things about myself I may not generally like. But I know I’m not the only person going through this. This isn’t unusual. Anyone can fall into the abyss, and the climb back is a victory. I’m still climbing.
So anyone else having to deal with this, I salute you. And I support you. I truly had no idea that choosing to live was so hard.