Saturday, 26 November 2011

Return of the Waterproof Mascara

I’ve been away. Away from this blog, away from an easy pattern of sleeping in my own bed each night, away from peace. If anyone knows where my joy has gone, I would like it back please. Some things are back already. I am here. Not for long but here today. So is the waterproof mascara.

As comebacks go, it has not been eagerly awaited. There has not been the joy of anticipation reserved for birthdays and other celebrations. Tears roll down my face with the unpredictability of an erratic bus service and woe betide anyone who asks me how I am. Fragile is my common answer. Accompanied by unexpected water falling from my eyes. I don’t wear much make-up on a daily basis but I hate to go out without mascara. Recently I have made sure it is the waterproof stuff otherwise I may end up sporting the panda eye look.

Often there is no ostensible cause for the tears. Sometimes they are justified. The other day I was staying in a horrible hotel. It was more like a hostel and I was miserable. I cried.

I got over it. MyMan cheered me up on the phone. I had a job to do the next day so I pulled myself together and did the best I could. The best was pretty damn good. I was exhausted by the end of the day and unbelievably happy to back in my own bed. I have had three consecutive nights at home. I have been able to bag up some things to take to the charity shop. Getting rid of things I don’t use/want/need is always good. I wish it was that easy to get rid of the MS, get rid of the tears.

Today I am fine. I will still wear waterproof mascara though. I never know what may happen to trigger the MS mood changes that blight me. Now, excuse me whilst I go and put on some waterproof mascara before going out to face the world. I will be back.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

That way madness lies

My mother was a psychiatrist. I remember one ward in her hospital where I felt if you weren’t mad before you stayed, you would be by the time you were supposed to leave. There was always someone crying or shouting. The doors were locked (I think), handles turned the wrong way round.

I sometimes worked in Occupational Therapy there. I remember, during a cookery session, asking a patient who was stirring a bowl of yumminess “What are you making?” “Oh, I’m not doing any cooking today.” Her reply was accompanied by an uncertain smile and bewildered eyes. She kept stirring with the wooden spoon and later produced some excellent biscuits.  

Recently, I received a letter from my GP surgery: “Having a long-term health condition or chronic illness, such as diabetes, pain, or a heart or lung condition, to name just a few, can really impact upon your life…” – no kidding! It offered me “a FREE programme, choosing Self Management for Life, that can help you understand how your condition impacts on your life, your job or even your relationships with family, and how managing these effects can help you take more control of your life and your health… excellent opportunity… runs over seven weekly session, with each session lasting three hours…”

I won’t be taking up the offer. I fear that way madness lies and I’m not afraid often.

I went through a stress management Mindfulness Wellbeing course at a time when I felt no stress but was very sad about my DX. And I was probably still grieving for my father who had died the year before. I felt braver doing that course than jumping out of an airplane (which I also did!). Mindfulness practice seemed to lead to me being more distracted than normal. Everything was thrown off kilter by having to attend the sessions when I was still only just adjusting to a regular routine of taking meds.

At the same time I was having counselling. I would be asked if the Mindfulness course helped. I couldn’t be sure one way or another. I found it very hard to be told I was depressed. It was even harder to admit it to myself. Positively depressing in fact. Or should that be negatively depressing.

Not long after DX, a consultant put forward the possibility that I had the capacity for clinical depression. This was totally alien to me and my BFF who was with me at the time. We rejected the potential as I was ‘normally’ such a positive person. Of course, ‘normal’ no longer existed.

Later, when the idea of being depressed was suggested by my MS specialist nurse, I accepted it.

At the time, I hated being dictated to by routine – meds, injections (I was still on Rebif), the stress reduction clinic, counselling sessions – I didn’t recognise the person with a regular pattern to her days/weeks. I am glad I had admitted to my GP that I wasn’t coping. That I needed help. Needed anti-depressants.

The latter work though I do think it’s strange that, with serotonin levels raised by the anti-depressants, it became harder to write. Perhaps some writers are miserable because they write better when depressed. Is writing therapy for or a symptom of depression? Oh, that way madness lies.

P.S. I googled 'That way madness lies' to check the quote source. For some not-entirely-KingLear viewing, you can watch this: Slings and Arrows - Season 3, Episode 3: That Way Madness Lies

Sunday, 6 November 2011

This is my plan

I don’t do plans. Not really. Just over seven months ago I started this blog. I didn’t have a plan for it. I had been jotting things down as they came to me in a notebook given to me by a fabulous friend.

I’ve been looking back on stuff a bit lately. Dangerous I know when you’re supposed to be living in the moment. One of my earliest scribblings was “where did it all start?”

I wrote it was there at the birth. Not fully there, more of an idea, a possibility. Like a pen which still has ink in it but hesitates mid-flow because it is held at the wrong angle.

I was a home birth. The third child so I expect my mother felt she knew what she was doing by then. Every child is born with possibilities. I expect all parents have hopes for their child. Pre-birth ideas of what they might be – boy, girl, tall, short, scientist, athlete.

As we grow up the possibilities change. Whether through nature or nurture, we are shaped and formed. Ever growing, Becoming whoever we are but not in a finite way.

There are always the multiple possibilities. Like the many different symptoms caused by the myelin scars in multiple sclerosis.

I doubt if any parent would have the idea their child might be an MSer. I am glad my parents didn’t live long enough to find out I am. I wouldn’t want them to share this journey. I want to be less serious. I am failing. I want to recapture my positivity. I think I had it but it was a fleeting butterfly which, if you touch it, will leave powder on your fingers. Every so often I net it and marvel at the beautiful colours.

For the most part I get by. I have not slipped back to the bad times I see mapped in my ‘really rather naughty’ notebook. I may quote from my rock bottom pages in the future but right now my plan is to jot down quirky thoughts if they come to me. To blog when I can. To live each day.