This time last week I sat at my computer and decided it was time to open up and tell you all about the Depression I’m dealing with at the moment. I didn’t consider it a brave decision to do so, I just wanted to be honest to anyone who reads this blog but more importantly, I wanted to be honest to myself. I wasn’t myself for a good while recently and I’m certainly never going to be 100% again, I’ll just have to accept whatever percentage I can get to.
There are two things that I need to acknowledge and say thank you for before I continue. I so appreciate the fact that even one person will take the time to read my posts. For someone struggling with self-esteem issues to know that people read my ‘Let’s Talk Depression’ post got me through a lot last week so thank you.
I’m always thankful that anyone reads the blog, but if they then take the time to comment on what they’ve read as well, then that’s even better. I have loved every comment, like on Facebook and conversation that the post has provoked. I’ve been genuinely overwhelmed by the response and it’s been a real support and comfort to hear from people who have gone through Depression themselves or helped a loved one through it.
It’s taken me a week to follow-up on that post because it took a hell of a lot out of me to share that information. I would love to be able to post every day, or at least more often, but the concentration it takes to write a post drains me so much, I can barely even look at my computer for a couple of days afterwards. The tiredness brought on by this concentration is my excuse for spelling errors or typos that you may come across. So to the person who reads this with a red pen in hand (you know who you are!), I’m sorry that sometimes even the spell and grammar checks make mistakes!
As I said, unloading some of my thoughts last week was really cathartic and lifted a little weight from my shoulders. Unfortunately anyone who has fibro will know that can never be the end of the story. Every single day pain and fatigue are there to be overcome, some days I feel a little better, some days I feel a little worse but they are constants in my life. They are always the starter symptoms to which different mixes of all the other symptoms are added.
Every morning brings the symptom checker. I wake up, if I’ve been lucky enough to actually sleep, and perform a quick body scan. For starters I rarely feel refreshed after the sleep so I’m exhausted most of the time and I think it’s more often the pain and not my alarm clock that wakes me up. I start with my toes and move slowly up my body. Just as an example I’ll take you through this mornings’ check-up;
Toes like icicles, throbbing pain in instep, ankles cracking and have very little mobility at the minute. (Luckily by the time I’ve gone through my body, my ankles should be warmed up enough to take my weight when I stand up out of bed) Next my shins feel like I took a kicking last night and my knees are stiff and really sore.
This means two things, firstly I’m going to be walking a little funny until they loosen up but secondly, it also means it’s a cold but clear morning outside. How do I know? Well my knees have developed into the most accurate barometers I know! Hips weren’t too bad this morning. They were sore but not any more than the usual, my lower back however was a different story.
If I thought my lower back was sore and stiff, then I ran out of words for my shoulders and neck. Stiff doesn’t seem strong enough, I certainly wouldn’t be driving anywhere until they relaxed a little. My hands were as cold as my feet, due to the Raynauds, and felt swollen and the base of my thumbs were killing me. By the time I reached my head I was even more exhausted than when I woke up but I kept going. My head felt like Ali in his prime had given me a box and I’d a horrible migraine, but that’s only the physical symptoms.
When I reached my head there was also a battle going on. My Depression was niggling at me saying ‘why bother getting up today when you’re so sore?’, ‘you won’t achieve anything today anyway’, ‘it’s lucky no one is relying on you to work today because you’re worthless in this state’.
Fighting thoughts like that over and over again, every morning is draining but today has had a decent outcome. I took my time, did some stretching in bed, loosened my joints a little, swung my feet over the side of the bed and my ankles were strong enough to bear the weight.
You see my fibro symptoms haven’t gone away just because I’ve got Depression and vice versa. Fibro and Depression along with my sleep apnoea, my irritable bowel disease and everything else are all screaming for attention each and every day. Some days one is louder than the other but they’re all there constantly.
To everyone who read my blog last week and saw something of themselves or a loved one in my writing I’ve a little message. Just as Depression is an invisible illness and hates to be discussed, so too is fibromyalgia and a host of other illnesses. So let’s keep the discussion going and help each other over the hurdles we all face each day.
Good luck, I know I for one will need it.