WARNING – Depressing post. If you’re not in the mood to be sad or remember being sad and sick, you might want to skip this one 😉 Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
I have had a tough few months health-wise. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve slipped into depression and I’m struggling with my faith (something that I struggle with anyway, but throw in chronic pain and depression and that faith gets tested real easy). I am struggling but I still find a way to smile despite the inner turmoil. Most of the time it’s a fake…it’s achy, but a smile nonetheless.
Why smile? That smile keeps my attitude in check, even if I’m feeling blue inside. It’s not easy to do, but I’ve always naturally been a very positive person so I’ve had a lifetime of practice. It’s sometimes easier to smile on the outside than frown because no one will ask me what’s wrong and I won’t have to tell them. I’d rather say, “I’m good!” and go about my day. Even with chronic illness, I don’t normally stay depressed. I’ll have a depressed day here and there, but for the most part, I did pretty good. I still had a life that didn’t include staring at my ceiling in the dark, alone, all day for days or weeks in pain.
But that isn’t the only reason for my depression. I hold a lot of guilt because I’m sick all the time. I feel like a failed mother and a failed wife. I can’t do my part, and it makes me so sad. When I try to clean or walk through a grocery store, it triggers my HM. So I don’t attempt it very often at all anymore. I had to quit my part-time job in October due to my inability to leave my bed, the pain, and the cognition issues. In November I had to drop out of all my college classes, taking a medical leave so it did not impact my GPA. I was a full-time student on the Dean’s List (all A’s & B’s in a semester) and President’s List (all A’s in a semester). I worked hard and I studied harder. I worked in the computer lab as a part-time lab assistant in my college’s computer science lab, where I was also a student studying computer science.
I love learning, but with the migraines and seizures I was no longer able to concentrate or retain new information. My degree in computer science was suffering. I went from straight A’s to failing a class and B/C’s in the others within two weeks. I have 4 courses. I couldn’t even leave my bed. Pain was what I concentrated on instead…still is. I’m hoping this is a relapse like my past relapses, but this feels different. It feels final. It feels like I won’t be the same and I won’t be going back to school. And if I do, it will be a long time.
I don’t know what’s in store for my future, but I do know I’m tired of reaching for a goal that keeps get kicked up the road and I can’t seem to catch it. Optimism seems to be escaping me these days. It’s still within me, but it’s light is fading. It doesn’t burn brightly anymore. It’s more of a night-light than a disco ball, like it once was. That makes me sad, loosing my career makes me sad, loosing my status as a student makes me sad. I have lots to be happy about, but right now, I just can’t see it. It’s hazy.
What I do see is a disability filing in my future. I see concentrating on me, who this new me is. I’ve been her for a while but I’ve been in denial. Is it time to accept her? If I accept her does that mean I’ve given up? The fight in me doesn’t accept that, but this fighter is getting tired and ready to put up the boxing gloves. I’m feeling defeated. I sometimes don’t even want to be on my diet anymore and I don’t want to take supplements anymore. I just want to stay in bed, binge watch movies, and do that all over again tomorrow. But I know that’s my body aches and body pain talking. When I feel no pain (which still happens now and then) I get up early, I make my kids lunch for the school day, I put on makeup…MAKEUP!!! If I wear makeup, you know it’s going to be a good day! If you see me out and about with no makeup, just keep walking. I really don’t want to talk to you. But if my eyeliner is winged out and I’m wearing mascara, stop me and tell me how nice I look, because I don’t hear that as often these days since I walk around looking like a “Walker” from The Walking Dead!
I value my life, I value my commitments I’ve made to my husband and my children, I value my illness in a way. Despite all the depression and guilt, I also feel I am going through all of this to help others who are in the same situation. Maybe I am supposed to suffer and learn so that the road is smoother for someone after me. Who knows! But that’s what I’ve chosen to take away from all of this so that smile on my face is genuine. This blog gives me something to look forward to, it keeps me going. I hope if you are feeling like me, you don’t feel you are alone. You definitely aren’t!
Have a pain-free day!! Much love ❤️
Erica Nicole Carrasco is a blogger sharing stories of life with Hemiplegic Migraine and Non-Epileptic Seizures. She takes you on a journey through life’s ups and downs, smiles and frowns with chronic illness.
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