Pour your rambling heart out, people wave and support you. Thanks. It means a lot to me. ::Waving awkwardly to you::
This is why (now) I try not to agonize over every step, but just do the next thing that feels right. And then find someone who said it much more succinctly. So, in late honor of National Invisible Chronic Illness week, here are my answers:
1. The illness I live with is: Something along the lines of Complicated Depression (also called Treatment Resistant Depression) or Bi-Polar II. I have a brilliant psychiatrist, but sometimes the label isn’t so important.
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: October 2009-but was receiving treatment on and off since 1996? for depression and anxiety.
3. But I had symptoms since: I was 7
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: being on-guard, monitoring myself.
5. Most people assume: That it must not be as bad as it feels. “Nothing ever happened to me” Or that I am fine because I seem fine.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Getting out of bed and into the shower. All the rationalizations come out for why I should stay in bed. This is 900times easier since finding the right medications.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: Grey’s–but I’d prefer some Aaron Sorkin liberal porn anyday.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: Not much. I love my time away from all the gadgets. I’m becoming more and more addicted to the net, and it’s probably a good thing I don’t have a smart phone.
9. The hardest part about nights are: Used to be falling asleep. Now, it’s that I need (physically) to go to sleep at a certain time. I can feel like an old party pooper sometimes.
10. Each day I take __ pills/ vitamins. 3 pills (2 types of medication) 3 vitamins (multivitamin, Omega-3, Vitamin D)
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: tried many for years (EFT/tapping, acupuncture, herbs…) and have some anger that I think using those delayed me getting effective treatment. Then, I was not able to eat well or take care of myself–now I eat pretty well, walk, exercise, and generally take care of myself. And sleep! It is a circle–the stronger I feel, the more I am able to take the steps to take care of myself, and the better I feel…
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I think visisble because there is less stigma and blaming of the victim.
13. Regarding working and career: It can effect my drive, and clear-thinking. My boss doesn’t know specifics, but he’s very supportive.
14. People would be surprised to know: the people close to me wouldn’t be surprised to know much. Other people would be surprised to know how much I think about this.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: that I can’t change the past. And I never know for sure that I won’t feel that bad again.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: trust other people to not judge me. But, for the most part, I’ve received very supportive responses. Also, I never thought I could NOT think about it for a day, a week… but sometimes I do. It doesn’t define who I am anymore.
17. The commercials about my illness: make me wish it was that easy to treat. It’s more complicated than that.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: staying up late! Needing less sleep.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: my control. My guard around other people. But, I’m glad I did.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Sewing. Also, I did not sing along to the radio for years. Even after I got on some good medications, I didn’t for a long time. I just wondered if I ever would, or if I would always feel a little “dulled.” I don’t feel dulled anymore and I sing along.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: I have many days of feeling normal, but it’s a new normal. I am still evaluating which changes are good/bad.
22. My illness has taught me: not to plan as much. To trust myself and trust others. Not be so critical.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: that it’s “not that bad.” Or “I was kind of blue for a month after my dad died, so I know what you’re going through.” No, you don’t.
24. But I love it when people: try to understand what parts are hard for me. Can point out positive things in a non-cheesy way. Skepticism is a big defense of mine.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: “This too shall pass” or “everything changes”
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: that there is good treatment out there, and that they will feel better than they ever thought possible.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: that when I share with someone what I’ve been through, how often they share with me something I would never have known. (My cousin, my eye doctor…)
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: just come over. Sit with me and not try to change my mood.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I think stigma persists because we only see people who fit an extreme stigma. (All mentally ill people are dirty, can’t manage their lives, talk to themselves, etc.)
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: proud of myself. And scared.
There is a clean starting ground. Posts won’t always be this long or this overwhelming, I promise.