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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

sick holidays

 After I got sick, I tried therapy. But only to be an asshole.

A month after I started my MS DMT Avonex, I fainted. Since we didn't know why, I went to the emergency room again. This time, I got a nurse who has Crohn's Disease. She decided that I fainted because I was depressed from my diagnosis and wasn't taking care of myself.

Which was news to me, because I felt like all I had done was take care of myself. So, she made me feel like shit. Here's someone who lives and works with a chronic illness, and she has been where I have been, so if anyone can spot that I'm not taking care of myself, it would be her. 

As soon as I got home, I made an appointment. I took the first available, which happened to be a very nice man, who was also an adoptive father to three children of color. 

During our one-and-only session, he kept veering back to talking about our adoption and foster care time, and about Isaiah. And I get it. This is Northern Indiana. Transracial families are hard to come by. But that isn't why I went. And after a while, he asked "Why are you here?" and my answer was "A nurse in the emergency room said I was depressed, and I didn't think I was depressed, but she said I'd feel better if I talked to someone. And guess what, here I am and she was wrong."

For obvious reasons, that didn't work out.

Two years later, I really did find myself in a crisis. 

I have noticed a pattern with my anxiety: it tries to kill me every fall.

It took me two years, but by then, my anxiety was higher than my pre-MS level. I made an appointment with my OBGYN to discuss the anxiety medication she put me on. She was happy to increase the dose, and said that if I felt like it needed increased more, she would refer me to psychiatry. 

So I followed the path. I got worse, so I decided that I needed to try counseling to work out the issues I had with never being "better".

For me, the hardest thing about chronic illness, is that I never get better. If I gained weight? Lose it. If I didn't like my job? Leave it. If I wanted to exercise? Do it. Don't want to be sick or have MS anymore? Too damn bad.

Like most people with anxiety do, I decided I had to win therapy. I went back and I found someone who was a good counselor for me. She and I worked so well together, and she even helped me through the first year of the pandemic (Jesus Christ, is that something I say now?) I graduated and everything. I kicked therapy's ass and I became the most well-adjusted sick person ever. Just kidding, I was still a mess. 

I asked my OBGYN for a referral to psychiatry, and I got myself a new doctor. First time ever that I got one because I wanted it and not because it was given to me. 

With all of the skills I've obtained over the last four years, I am a well-adjusted super hero. Just kidding. Still a fucking mess.

My psychiatrist though was the first person to really understand how I feel from a medical standpoint, which I found fascinating. I have always been diagnosed with GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder. However, I got a new diagnosis. The things I had been feeling didn't fall into the "anxiety" category, they fit into "panic". So I was diagnosed with panic as a symptom of MS. Mine manifests itself in more physical ways than a lot of anxiety does. I was also diagnosed with Medical PTSD. 

Do you know what I am? I am tired. I'm tired from living this big fact-finding mission for four years, and I'm even tired from typing this. Because the one thing I never expected, was that I couldn't magically get it together for the holidays. I assumed that the magic of Christmas would make me feel better, but you know what? That shit just burnt me out. And when I just need to rest, the thoughts of how I couldn't make things magical for my family resurface, and the bad feelings come back. 

I hate this post, I hate everything I've written in it. There is no sweet way to sum this all up. Life is hard. Even on well controlled prescriptions, anxiety still breaks through. I'm tired.

It's okay if you're tired too.

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