Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Love Me, Don't Judge Me

There is a good reason why I take it very personally when someone tries to tell me how I should feel or what I should be doing. I don't get angry easily and I don't care too much about what other think about me; but being human, I care very much about what I think about me. I'm sure you know this, but please bear with me as I reiterate some things that are pertinent to this story for anyone who may not have read my older posts. My diagnoses came as a complete shock, out of the blue, a horrible attack out of no where with very little warning. My early signs I shrugged off as nothing important -- depression, anxiety, a leg being numb from time to time etcetera etcetera. And in that first major attack I lost so much of my life that I valued: doing foster care (my neurologists do not want me to have even one kid because of the stress); working and having my own money; my general health, which had always been excellent; spending my time in the outdoors, fishing, camping, gardening. I cried for a couple of months but after a time when others were not crying as much, or were trying to show a brave face for me, I stopped sharing my pain with them, especially my family as they were just as upset (if not more so) than me. Mainly my mother because she is a nurse in a nursing home and cares for several MS patients that have had the disease for umpteen years without the benefits of the DMDs we have now, so she didn't want me to come to her work and see any of them in case it worried me more. After the first shock wore off I kept all my feelings to myself and put on a brave face for the world to see. This worked for quite awhile until my fourth round of steroids in less than 10 months. I had just celebrated (?) my first anniversary of being diagnosed and was finishing up my taper of steroids when it all came crashing in on me. I woke up that morning feeling strange. I don't have the correct words for it, I just know I felt so numb and dead inside that I wanted to take a knife and cut myself to see if I could feel it. I fought the feeling and ate breakfast and went grocery shopping, but all I could think of was writing a note to explain why I had to kill myself. I came home, wrote the note thinking it would get that out of my head and finding it didn't help and then I made a series of mistakes. I printed the note and put it on the counter in the kitchen, found an old rusty dry wall knife and a rusty dull razor blade and went to work on my wrists. Some where in the haze I was in, I had a feeling that it wasn't right so I called my mom. She in turn called 911 and my whole family, several police, firemen, and EMTs swarmed my house. I cut my wrists up and down and back and forth, crisscrossed and every which way I could. If those nasty rusty things were not so dull it would have been even uglier than it was. There was blood all over my clothes, the kitchen, and me. My memory becomes very hazy after I started cutting myself. I know I put my hands over my face and wouldn't look at anyone because I felt so worthless and useless that I couldn't look anyone in the eye. I ended up being tossed into the loony bin and had 5 days to cool my heels and think about what I had done. I had to go before the Mental Health Review Board to show that I was no longer a "mentally ill and dangerous person." They shackled me (as if I could run away!) and that damn note I wrote, that was meant only for family to see, was pulled out over and over and over again. I got so angry from always having to talk about it, I told one of the counselors to just publish it in the newspaper so the whole town could read it and talk about it. In the loony bin I decided that I was no longer going to pretend to be/feel anything that I am not. Nature has a way of healing us whether we think it will or not, and I decided that I was just going to be me and let nature do her thing. I will never, under any circumstances pretend to feel anything other than what I am feeling. I know it was the steroids combined with my hiding my true feelings that pushed me over the edge that day. That is why I don't like people telling me what to do or how to feel. I will get there in my own sweet time, and trying to force it is not healthy. Instead I am embracing my emotions and enjoying the way nature works on a damaged soul. I am intrigued by the healing process; it is such a myriad thing and so unpredictable. But in a life that is so routine I want to scream and run away some times, I welcome the ups and downs and realize that we all grieve in our own way, and it is always best to let nature do her thing and not let others tell you how you should be feeling. I wish I had known that earlier -- my wrists would be a lot prettier.

13 comments:

LISA EMRICH said...

"I welcome the ups and downs and realize that we all grieve in our own way, and it is always best to let nature do her thing and not let others tell you how you should be feeling."

You are doing so much good here by sharing your story, for yourself and for others who may be experiencing similar thoughts and emotions. The words above are spoken from a place of wisdom. That is your gift to fellow MSers right now.

BRAINCHEESE said...

Such a profound story that I am sure folks with or without MS can relate to: Finding your own voice and a place of peace with it...although I use the word "peace" loosely here.

We ALL have our stories...some, more profound than others. But hopefully in our journey's, we ALL make it to a similar place.

Thanks for sharing this...as only you could!

Linda D. in Seattle

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Denver Refashionista said...

Poignant.

harkoo said...

Well, I have had MS for many years and I can feel your words as though I had just been dx yesterday.

Stephen said...

thank you for your honesty. i would imagine all of us have felt at least something like the kind of despair you write about. i had a pyschotic reaction to my last steroid treatment, and was very close to eating my whole bottle of ambien - not so much to kill myself, but i just wanted to sleep for a very, very long time. anyway, i'm glad that knife was dull, and that you are still here.

harkoo said...

I am checking in with your blog now more frequently after reading last weeks postings--you have been on my mind-I wrote you much earlier in the year-I am the lady living with my sister-omg-alot of cats and a purple door-(I was trying to be funny but it bombed) I went psychotic on only one round of steroids--you had 4 rounds in a matter of months--I have never had such a depression after those drugs--alot of the things you are talking about, I experienced also--All I can say is that I am holding you close to my heart.