Every day with a chronic illness is like fighting a new battle. You never know what to expect when you get up in the morning and you never know how your day is going to go. You just have to roll with the punches and continue to fight through and make do with the cards you have been dealt. As I recently posted, I was just diagnosed last week with Major Depressive Disorder secondary to chronic illness. You can read my posts about it here and here.
I feel like my life has been very overwhelming because every time I turn around it is something else. First I was diagnosed with the ME/CFS, then came the Fibromyalgia, next came the IC Disease, the tremor disorder (BET), and other issues along the way, and now this MDD. I have felt like with my health that everytime I make one step forward, I end up taking two steps back.
I was always so proud of the fact that I had such great support at home but lately the stress and pressure to be well has made me feel as though that support has started to fade and turn more into blame and resentment. I believe that is another piece of the MDD puzzle – the continual stress and pressure to try and be something I’m not is just an unattainable goal. I am who I am – I can’t pretend to be something I’m not.
I’ve had some time to reflect and I also realize that some of what has been said to me is not true. I feel that I am not a negative person because I DO continue to try and fight and I DO continue to try and push through despite every obstacle that has been put in front of me. I’m not saying I’m perfect or have done everything right. I know that is not true and I have had my share of pity parties. But I feel that I have always turned things around and have done what needs to be done to make my physical and emotional health and well-being better.
For example, right now during this major depression I have been forcing myself to get out of the house – and I mean I have to really force myself to do it – it takes me hours sometimes to talk myself into it – but I have been doing it because I know that getting out, doing things and seeing people is what I need. Isolation is only going to make things worse. I have been having to force myself to take walks outside when it is sunny because I know that the sunshine will help and the exercise will do me good also. I have been getting to the gym when my physical health allows me to go as well.
I’m fighting this just like I have fought every other health problem I have – I don’t give up. Regardless of the crap anyone says to me, I know this is something that can never be taken away from me. I am a fighter, have always been a fighter, and will continue to be a fighter. I knew I was having a problem, I went to the doctor – I knew I needed help.
I think that as chronically ill patients, whether we suffer from ME/CFS, Fibro, or cancer, or something like MDD, we are not in control of how our bodies respond and what happens to us emotionally. This is where our families, friends and support systems seem to lose empathy. They feel that we should “feel” a certain way, “act” a certain way, “respond” a certain way to everyday life because it is what makes it easier for them. We can’t do that. If they went through what we did, maybe they would get it.
I often want to remind my husband of what he was like after having open heart surgery. During his recovery, my husband was very difficult, depressed, resentful, impatient, angry, fearful, lonely and negative – all of the things that us chronic illness patients experience during our flares. The difference is that he recovers from his and the episodes are few and very far between. Mine aren’t. But we both knew what we were getting into when we got married. I haven’t forgotten that.
So I will keep fighting, regardless of what is said to me and about me, and I am determined not to let it further ruin my emotional health and physical health. I am who I am – accept me and love me as I am.