I have a good life. MS is under control (just about) and no longer scares the living daylights out of me. I sometimes struggle to remember what life was like before it.
So why do I have moments when I plunge into a deep, black depression? Just like MS, there is no way of knowing when it will strike. I can have had the best of days, life is on track and the future is looking a shade more defined than before. Then suddenly the shutters come down, blocking out the light.
This sensation is like a relapse of the mind – a sudden, catastrophic descent into despair. I’m aware it’s happening, just like physical relapses when there is a period of disconnection before the symptoms flare up, snatching control of my body away from me.
I know people with MS are more likely to experience depression, whether due to our circumstances or from our brains playing havoc with our minds. Whatever the explanation, I need to find ways to cope with this. Perhaps it’s been around since MS started but I was unable to distinguish it from the shock of the diagnosis. Now life has reached a happier plateau, maybe I can see it in unsplendid isolation.
When it happens, I want to retreat, hide myself away and wait until it passes. But life gets in the way. I have a Teenager to raise and a house to run. I have a life.
My friends and family are unfortunately becoming used to helping me pick up the pieces. They catch me and hold onto me so I don’t fall any further. They don’t try to cheer me up or tell me how much worse it could have been. They are simply there for me.
If I knew how to fix this, I would. It’s an unwelcome visitor in the new life I’m constructing for me and my little family. It lifts as suddenly as it comes. Colours burst through once more and life is shiny, exciting and vibrant again.
I am trying. I can’t retreat, but I can sit out the storm.