Monday, February 22, 2010

Job Posting: Not For the Faint of Heart

I started this post last week and couldn't find the words to speak with an authentic voice. Right now, depression is kicking me in the rear end and I don't have much enthusiasm for anything. My world feels one dimensional. It is commonly misunderstood about depression that people who suffer with it will be sad and sit like a lump in the corner. I tend to put on my shiny happy face to the world and deal with it internally. I am doing all the right things to care for myself; working with a doc on meds, talking with my fabulous counselor; and most importantly, being open about my struggle. Depression is a byproduct of MS and therefore very difficult to treat.

Something I am working on is putting away the happy mask and being more authentic. Not sure yet what that will look like, but I am working on it.

To not put too fine a point on it—opting to be in the life of a person with MS takes the guts of arctic explorer Shackleton, the determination  of Joel Waul (who?), the compassion of Sister Theresa, the creativity of Alexander Calder (who?), and the humor of Gilda Radner.
What then is the role of the person with MS? My tendency is to feel obligation and guilt for the extra load of crap that this illness dumps on everyone around me. I say I am fine when I am drowning. I eat my casserole without added salt because I can't bring myself to ask for one more thing. I say I am sorry over and over to cover up the way it makes me feel to ask and ask and ask.
I am slowly coming to the realization that for those who have chosen to stay I am not in control of how they choose to react to my requests. Nor am I responsible for the choice of friends who have slipped away.
I have to stop saying I am sorry for asking for help, sorry for being in a bad mood, sorry for being sad, sorry for being sorry. My MS story includes chronic pain, pernicious depression, and cognitive and physical deterioration. And, if people are honestly willing to stick around, they are signing up for extra ordinary duty. I need help. All of the time. And it sucks to be needy.
I am trying to peel away the layers of guilt and obligation and accept that this is my life, these people have chosen to be in it and together we have a challenging journey.
So, I am not sorry - and, maybe I need to carry around a roll of quarters and ask everyone to fine me it they catch me saying it.
Thank you for choosing to be a part of my life!


Rick and Mary said...

I have to tell you IANS, your references to people and the nifty links to look them up, cracked me up so much that I got the giggles and almost couldn't stop. I especially enjoyed the big ruuber band ball picture as well as the really terrible picture of Alexander Calder.
Now really IANS, your special brand of dry humor is just the thing to help MY depression! I think you are very good at this, as noted by previous blog commentors.
I hope IANS, that you continue your search and journey toward authentic voice.
And also IANS, I love you very much!!

Stuff could always be worse said...

Yes I need those quarters for saying I am sorry, My Mother in law told me some people apologize for being alive. Thought that was me. Yes the depression seems to be for no reason.

Anonymous said...

12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want".Phili. 4:10-12
so Janine.... How does Paul do it? How can we be content with what God has decided to do with our
lives. I think I might understand a little when I remember that my life was bought at a price and is no longer mine."you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Lately I have found myself saying I am sorry too. I find I am not the super Mom I thought I was. And raising a adopted child is harder than I thought. It is hard for me to ask for help when Rich and I signed up for this gig. But I need help. Some days I regret bringing home a "hard to place" child.Ahhh it is HARD somedays! I know God never said it would be easy. Be encouraged that we will some day be healed and rewarded for all our trials if we honor Him. To God be the glory! Hugs, Deanna

Anonymous said...

Hi, I was wondering if you could just ask for the things you need and not apologize. Your situation is not your fault so why apologize? Of course, others may not always be able to help and I guess one has to accept that.But why torture yourself and others with apologies? Maybe you need to increase the amount to pay from a quarter to $20. Very best wishes