It is time to start blogging again. Writing provides a cathartic outlet for the thoughts that are continually swirling around in my mind. They are thoughts that I know others who
live in a world of illness or pain, can totally relate to and hopefully also find some comfort in.
On a daily basis ‘WE’ who are ill, wear a mask so that those around us perceive us as being strong, or “coping well”. There are definitely times when this is true, but more often ‘WE’ are masking the truth of the pain and suffering that we are experiencing on the inside.
Following Christmas this year came months of deep, dark, depression. I can only write about it now, as the darkness has started to lift and I can feel the sunrise peaking up on the horizon. This time period was a time where I have wanted to just lock myself away in the safety of my apartment. I found it difficult to be around people and I had cut off from even some of the closest of my friends. I was tired and weary of wearing the happiness or ” I’m fine, thank you” mask. My emotional banks had been depleted and the time had come to stop living in denial of my illness. Coming to terms with the words Specialists had delivered, “there is no cure”, caused me to start taking my illness seriously, which for me is spending time alone as I needed desperately to replenish my emotional bank account and locate an inner strength that I knew lay somewhere inside of me. When you keep giving and putting the needs and welfare of others first, your emotional bank, action by action, depletes this emotional account. Holding fiercely onto your independence in this situation has the ability to empty this account even quicker.
I have learnt that balance is needed in all aspects of life. Not just physically, but emotionally, socially and spiritually also. It is okay to accept help and say yes when assistance is offered. I have had to learn that it is not viewed as a weakness to own the fact that I cannot do all that I used to. I have had to accept help as required and learn to be honest about my physical limitations, both with myself and with others. I have been provided with new found strength to speak up (this is definitely a work in process though) asking for what I may need or expressing how I am truly feeling!
I am so grateful to have such an amazing support network of families and friends. To help them understand what is happening with my body I provided information sheets on my illness. The illness is rare and loved ones had found it difficult to fully understand what was happening. This information sheet saw a real change in attitudes and an ability to understand what I had quietly been experiencing. I recommend this task highly. Their love, support and acknowledgement of my daily struggle with pain has helped me to find my way through the fog and darkness of depression. I began to feel that it was alright not to wear my ‘happy’ mask all day, everyday or when the special people in my life were around.
Depression is a difficult experience. One that can come and go in waves and creep up on you when you”re least expecting it. Each of us will have different actions that we can take to improve our mood. For me it has been meditation classes, short walks with my puppy and making an effort to spend more time with family & friends. I still have my difficult moments, but try to remind myself that life throws all of us challenges and it’s how we respond to these challenges that makes all the difference to our quality of everyday life.