In recent months and several times a week I “feel” healthy enough that I slip into thinking “I could work!” Then unceremoniously, the thought is slammed into the ground by the reality of my disability.
Is the phantom nature of Relapsing/Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) the lessening of some disability followed by a different and heightened disability followed by improved ability and so on? Maybe it is just one major disability such as not being able to walk that sometimes improves and sometimes worsens.
Do we cry about any of it?
It is my contention that American males tend not to cry. Although I have come close many times and I certainly wanted to, I do not generally come to tears.
Derick Whitney’s posting “Why is it so Hard for Men to Cry?” in the blog, Psych Central, stated “It is ingrained in many men that masculine identity means holding back the tears except during times of extreme grief.” Pseudo Bulbar Affect aside, guys DO benefit from a good cry at least a couple of times in life! (See the July 21, 2010 “Emotional Freedom” article by Judith Orloff, M.D., in Psychology Today.) Sadness becomes a concern when any of us – male or female – stay depressed for an extended time with or without crying.
MS is a big source of disappointment, discouragement, sadness, and grief.
I lament the loss of my most productive income-earning years and find I am perhaps overly concerned about someday being within the Federal Poverty Level but I consciously distract myself by doing as much as I can for myself, my family, and as a volunteer. It is less important how others see me than how I view myself and without feigning humility, I do very little in comparison to most people in a similar situation.
For all (I’m relatively sure all) people, life comes with disappointment. Life also brings immense joy. Irrespective of how these truly weigh-out, I have chosen to dwell on the positive experiences. This approach to life has evidently been at least moderately successful since I have not experienced depression for any significant length of time. Sure, my mind wanders into the glorious past but I only conjure up the good times. This is certainly a more healthy way to look at the past than dwelling on the negative things in my life. The danger is in the potential for delusion and the tendency for my mind to create revisionist history. Sometimes I even believe I can still perform in the same way or better! A deluded positive slant still seems far better than wallowing in self-pity.
So, I do what I can and do not concern myself with what I did and can no longer do — at least in the same way. I look forward and up instead behind me and down. I see what I can do rather than what I cannot. For the most part, banging my head against a wall will simply produce a headache or worse!
Contrary to popular thought, MS has me and I have MS. It is not something to be ignored but to be dealt with and worked around as much as possible. Much like the value of π (pi), for practical purposes, my potential is infinite. Denying it is much like denying living.
Now what do I do with my life?
You might also want to read Laurie Clements Lambeth’s MS Connection blog entry “Crybaby” of March 14, 2014. [Part of the above posting is a comment to her blog.]